Creating Special Moments For Children In Domestic Violence Shelters

June 18, 2020

Creating Special Moments For Children In Domestic Violence Shelters

When people who share the same passion find each other, you know some magic is going to be made. That is exactly how we felt when we met Melanie Neumann and Erica Fisher, co-founders of PRESENT NOW, an organization that provides children in domestic violence shelters with both essential goods and specialty items; bringing them joy, comfort, and relief during a real time of crisis. Amazing right?

So, this is how it all went down… Erica’s daughter had been gifted a Dumyé DIY Doll Kit for her Birthday. She and her family loved making the doll so much they decided they wanted the kids PRESENT NOW serves to enjoy the same experience. So the team, based in Santa Monica, California, reached out to us — that was back in 2017. Of course we said yes and donated 100 DIY Doll kits to their foundation.

PRESENT NOW co-founder, Erica Fisher explains, “The mission of Dumyé speaks directly to the tenets by which PRESENT NOW was founded— giving beautiful and meaningful gifts that touch the lives of children in profound ways— and the beauty of the Dumyé dolls is they allow children to use their imagination, create and produce something that is significant.” 

We are so excited to be working with PRESENT NOW again, this time on the Make A Card, Make A Difference campaign. But more about that soon… First, we want to share a bit about the important work PRESENT NOW does, which has become even more necessary in these COVID 19 days.

 

What Does PRESENT NOW Do

Driven by the heartbreaking stories of children who witness domestic violence, PRESENT NOW aims to help families heal and regain a sense of normalcy, through their personalized gift boxes. These brand new items are delivered to mothers living in shelters on special occasions such as Back to School Day, Valentine’s Day and on each child’s Birthday. Not only do they bring joy to the children, but they help to rekindle a healthy loving relationship between mothers and their children during recovery.

PRESENT NOW co-founder, Erica Fisher explains, “Mothers who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to provide a Birthday gift are given the gift of giving to their own children. Kids are celebrating their Birthday with a homemade Birthday cake for the first time in their lives. We have also heard stories of how using the restaurant gift card has been the first chance a family has been able to go out to eat together! These small moments of joy help change the narrative for a family and provide new memories and moments of happiness.”

In its first year PRESENT NOW delivered 118 presents. Now, seven years later, the organization has delivered over 6000 presents, impacting over 3000 families, raising over $2 million, serving 36 shelters nationwide, with the help of over 200 volunteers.

 

Why This Matters Now More Than Ever

Governments have told residents to stay home to protect themselves and others from the new coronavirus, COVID-19. But for victims of domestic abuse, the vast majority of whom are women and children, home is a dangerous place. In some cases charities have seen a 700% increase in calls to helplines in a single day.

Domestic violence has a significant impact on children's mental health. PRESENT NOW’s co-founder, Melanie Neumann says, “It is crucial that women and children are getting the support they need. The increase in hotline calls and shelter beds being needed has skyrocketed.” Coming from a background in social work, Erica Fisher has first-hand experience and explains, “PRESENT NOW was founded on the belief that small moments of joy can leave a huge impression on children and change their trajectory in terms of how they view their own potential, themselves and their world.”

According to data collected by the United Nations, 243 million women and girls between the ages of fifteen and forty-nine worldwide, were subjected to violence by a partner in the last twelve months— this statistic was shocking to us. Shelters have found themselves understaffed and overwhelmed due to high demand; some have been converted into health facilities, while others are full, having seen a dramatic increase in the need for social services, particularly from those in vulnerable conditions who often don’t legally qualify for social welfare in the USA. “This is all the more reason why, now more than ever, we feel it is important to do our part in spreading as much love as we can, helping to bring happiness to a child in need, in these challenging times.” Adds Dumyé founder, Sahar Wahbeh.

 

Make A Card, Make A Difference

In celebration of our 7th Birthday Dumyé has teamed up with PRESENT NOW to bring love and light into the lives of children living in domestic violence shelters on their actual Birthdays! And you can help.

We are inviting YOU and children around the world to send us a handmade Birthday card. Each card will be gifted to one of the victimized children (PRESENT NOW serves), along with a Dumyé doll, as part of PRESENT NOW’s Presence of Being Box (aka - Birthday care package).

Melanie Neumann explains, “We take pride in the fact that our gifts are uniquely personalized to each child. For a young child to receive a doll and a homemade card, they feel that someone has taken the time to think about them on a deeper level. A doll can become a friend of sorts and a comfort in this time of crisis.”

We want to bring vulnerable children joy and help them to feel connected and valued. Receiving your handmade card will do just that. And with kids on summer holiday, we can’t think of a more meaningful activity to do together. Making a card with your child is not only fun but an opportunity to do something kind for another; an early and tangible introduction to their power in making a difference in the world and a positive effect on someone’s life.

It costs nothing to participate but a postage stamp and some creativity! We’ve even put together an epic Birthday Card Kit to get you started. The more cards we receive, the more dolls we can gift PRESENT NOW — it’s that simple! But hurry because the cut-off is July 15th, 2020.

Message To Parents

“Card making can be a fun family activity! Speak from the heart; creative words that bring hope and joy to the children are what we strive for. Have fun decorating and speak openly to your children about the need for these cards and gifts. Through card making you can begin to creatively understand that children all have different life experiences and that you have the power to make someone’s day just a little bit better!” – PRESENT NOW co-founder, Melanie Neumann.

 

   

Other Ways You Can Support PRESENT NOW In Their Mission

  • PRESENT NOW is always looking for volunteers to assist in their Santa Monica warehouse.
  • This year PRESENT NOW launched ‘Brands We Love’, where people can support through shopping. ‘Brands We Love’ partners donate a percentage of the sales to the charity. 
  • Organize an Online Drive in lieu of Birthdays, special occasions or just because you are feeling generous!
  • Donate directly to their mission.

     

    How You Can Get Help If You Are A Victim Of Domestic Violence

    As difficult as reporting abuse may be, help is available. If you know someone who is being abused or in a violent situation, contact:

    In the US

     In the UAE

     




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