Wish Book 2015

The News and Tribune and New Hope Services have again teamed up to help out families in need this holiday season. You can help us by contributing to Wish Book.

The best way to assist families is with a financial donation with which items will be purchased. Also, each of the five families profiled in the News and Tribune this year and at newsandtribune.com from Dec. 3-8 will feature a list of items needed.

Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at New Hope, 1302 Wall St., Jeffersonville.

Checks can be mailed to New Hope to that address.
Call 812-288-4304 ext. 351 or email trish_kite-hannon@newhopeservices.org with questions.

Those wishing to donate with a credit card should go HERE and designate it as a Wish Book donation.
The deadline to donate is Dec. 18. Thank you for your help.


WISH BOOK: Jeffersonville mom keeps dreams alive for son

Family seeks bigger place to live, dressers for clothes

Laci Allen determined to build vibrant future for her family

JEFFERSONVILLE — With wide eyes and open arms, 1-year-old Elijah Staniforth shuffled from corner to corner around his festively decorated home at Sherwood Heights Mobile Home Park one morning last month. The Christmas tree stood elevated on a platform so Elijah wouldn't knock it down with his curious hands, but his craned neck let him enjoy the lights and garland hanging above.

The mobile home is modest but vibrant, just how Elijah's mom, 21-year-old Laci Allen, wants her son's home to be. It's just a fraction of what she hopes they one day call home, but that doesn't stop her from making the best out of what she has. "It's slow, but it's coming together," Allen said.

Laci and Elijah share the home with Laci's mom, Regina Allen. The family moved from New Albany to their Jeffersonville home about three years ago, knowing the mobile home needed fixing up. They just didn't know how much fixing up.

"When we first got here, there were holes all throughout the walls where people were going to try to steal the copper out of it, so we had to fix that," Laci said. "[We] had to replace all the flooring all the way from my room back to my mother's room. Eventually the bathroom is going to have be redone too."

They've battled cracks and leaks thanks to a fallen tree that left the trailer offset. They've patched more than 20 holes in the floors and the unfinished floors recently left a splinter in Elijah's foot. The heater doesn't always work and the air conditioning gives off a bad odor. Laci proudly patches up her home with her own hands, but admits she can't do it all by herself.

Her mom went through some of the same struggles Laci faces now. Raising two children, Regina's family moved back and forth between Louisville and New Albany. At times, they were homeless and lived in shelters. Laci said her mom did the best she could given the circumstances, and now, she wants to give her son more than she ever had

. That drive helps Laci on the 15-minute walk to the bus stop five days a week for her job at Walmart. She leaves home around 1 p.m. and doesn't get home until midnight. While she's at work, Regina takes care of Elijah. Laci does what she needs to for her family, unloading trucks and stocking freight, without much complaining.

“I stay as optimistic as I possibly can," Laci said. "If I let it break me down it's going to break me down. And I can't do that, I got him."

ALLEN FAMILY WANTS/NEEDS

  • Carpet and linoleum flooring
  • Space heaters
  • Countertops
  • Full-sized bed
  • Diapers, size 4
  • Children's books
  • Learning toys and games
  • Food
  • Personal items (shampoo, soap, etc.)

BY ELIZABETH DEPOMPEI
Thursday, December 3, 2015

YOU CAN HELP The News and Tribune and New Hope Services have again teamed up to help out families in need this holiday season. You can help us by contributing to Wish Book. The best way to assist families is with a financial donation with which items will be purchased.

Also, each of the five families profiled in the News and Tribune this year and at newsandtribune.com from Dec. 3-8 will feature a list of items needed.

Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at New Hope, 1302 Wall St., Jeffersonville.

Checks can be mailed to New Hope to that address. Call 812-288-4304 ext. 351 or email trish_kite-hannon@newhopeservices.org with questions. Those wishing to donate with a credit card should go to www.newhopeservices.org/donate.html and designate it as a Wish Book donation. The deadline to donate is Dec. 18. Thank you for your help.


WISH BOOK: Mom selflessly cares for kids, relatives in Jeffersonville home

Family seeks bigger place to live, dressers for clothes

From left, Kylee Fields, 7, Gladys Holland, Romello McClendon, 8, Alliyah Caudill, 8, Mercedes McClendon, 8, Kayden Fields, 7, Timothy Nall, three months, and Carla Seaton are pictured inside their Jeffersonville home last month.

JEFFERSONVILLE — Gladys Holland has a spacious sectional couch that all but fills the living room of her Brunswick Drive home.

At night, her 8-year-old daughter Mercedes McClendon sleeps there, her small frame fitting easily amid child-sized outfits draped across the couch's back.

Five kids, all 7 or 8 years old, grab their clothes from the couch early in the morning to prepare for the day at Spring Hill Elementary School. Come afternoon, the couch snugly accommodates all five children, plus Holland, her 3-month-old son Timothy Nall and her mother-in-law, Carla Seaton.

"It's chaos some days," Holland said. "I love each and every one of them."

Holland's family in April expanded from two children — her own biological twins, Mercedes and Romello McClendon — to five children when she decided to take in her three second cousins, twins Kylee and Kayden Fields and Alliyah Caudill.

"Basically, I didn't want them to go to foster care, and that was the only stop," Holland said.
Three months ago, Holland gave birth to her son. By that time, Nall's grandmother had already moved in to help with the family that more than doubled in size. Holland calls Seaton her "best friend/guardian angel/mother-in-law."

"This is a lot of kids, and I asked her if she'd like for me to help, because I didn't want to step on anybody's toes," Seaton said. "She needed the help."

It's a nontraditional family, but it's family all the same. Although days are hectic, space is tight and work days are long, Holland said they make it work, and they look toward a better future.

HOLLAND FAMILY WANTS/NEEDS
• Affordable housing
• Cash
• Dressers
• Tablet
• Stuffed animals
• Dolls
• Wrestling toys
• Incredible Hulk toys
• Toy cars
• University of Kentucky clothing, girls shirt sizes 6-7 and 8-10,
boys shirt sizes 7-8, 10-12
• Long-sleeve shirts

By ELIZABETH BEILMAN December 4, 2015

 

YOU CAN HELP
The News and Tribune and New Hope Services have again teamed up to help out families in need this holiday season.

You can help us by contributing to Wish Book. The best way to assist families is with a financial donation with which items will be purchased. Also, each of the five families profiled in the News and Tribune this year and at newsandtribune.com from Dec. 3-8 will feature a list of items needed.

Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at New Hope, 1302 Wall St., Jeffersonville. Checks can be mailed to New Hope to that address. Call 812-288-4304 ext. 351 or email trish_kite-hannon@newhopeservices.org with questions.

Those wishing to donate with a credit card should go to www.newhopeservices.org/donate.html and designate it as a Wish Book donation.

The deadline to donate is Dec. 18. Thank you for your help.


WISH BOOK: Struggling Jeffersonville family has lots of love

Family seeks bigger place to live, dressers for clothes

Cynthia Crosswhite-Shirley, left, is pictured with her daughters, Kay Shirley, 3, center, and Cianna, 5, inside their Jeffersonville home last month.

Mom says New Hope has helped her find footing

On the wall of Cynthia Crosswhite-Shirley's apartment is a handmade poster, made by her and her two daughters, Cianna and Kay. It has the crayoned outline of three hands — one from each of them. On another wall, a store-bought decoration hangs. She asks her daughter to read what it says.

“Give thanks,” Cianna says. Cynthia said the crafts projects are something the family chose for this year's Wish Book program to do together, different things, depending on the holiday and season.

“I go to Pinterest and look stuff up,” she said. “Lately, I haven't been doing it because I haven't been feeling good. I've been in a lot of pain.”
The three sit on a small love seat while 3-year-old Kay switches between a harmonica and a toy keyboard. “I gave her that first one when she was 1,” Cynthia said. “She always liked musical instruments.”

Cynthia, who has a learning disability, said she moved her daughters to Indiana, where she is from, in January when they fled an abusive relationship in California. She says her life was threatened many times.

She said she hopes that her daughters can be happy and not fearful now, as previously, "holidays were a bad experience.” She said she can already see a difference in her children now that they have a safe and loving environment. Both are doing well in school and Kay has really come out of her shell.

“When we first came, she was so shy, she was always beside me,” she said. “She used to be scared of everybody. She was barely talking when we came here; now she talks a lot. She has blossomed — it's so awesome to see her grow.”

Crosswhite-Shirley said she can't work because she's on disability. She walks to the food pantry once a month, and walks her oldest daughter to school. Her mother and sister-in-law help get her to the grocery store and to her many doctor's appointments, but she said that's tough to schedule sometimes and they really need their own transportation.

She said she sleeps on a twin bed that belonged to her nephew when he was 4-years-old. He is 15 now. Sometimes, she said, the girls come into her room and squeeze into bed with her at night.

“If three people are on a twin bed, it's not easy,” she said. “I have back problems and if I don't get enough sleep I get sick.” She said all three also have allergies, and hopes an air purifier could help with that.

Crosswhite-Shirley said even though they may not have much, she does her best to make sure the girls have fun and spend time together as a family. They read a lot and watch movies, mostly Christian ones, she said.

“We do crafts, sometimes family night,” she said. “I let them eat popcorn in the living room.” When she has the money, she takes them on outings, but that isn't often, she said. Sometimes they do free things like walk on the Big Four Bridge.

“In August, I saved up enough money to go to Huber's Orchard,” she said. Cianna wants to go bowling — she's never been — and Crosswhite-Shirley said she's trying to make that happen.
“I'm trying to save money for a bowling night one of these days,” she said. “I try to save some money but it's hard on disability — very difficult because most of my money just goes to rent.”
Crosswhite-Shirley said she found out about New Hope Services through WIC, and she's very thankful for how the nonprofit has already been able to help her family — things like helping her get medical needs sorted out and getting her driver's license, and furnishing their apartment.

“We didn't have that table; New Hope gave us that,” she said. “We were eating on a box. We didn't have the furniture. New Hope has helped a lot.” Above all, the single mother wants to make sure her daughters are happy and healthy, and have good opportunities. The one thing they seem to have in abundance is love. “I'm trying my best,” she said.

FAMILY WANTS/NEEDS
Family's sizes:

Mother: CYNTHIA CROSSWHITE- SHIRLEY
Pant size: 18
Shirt size: L or XL
Shoe size: 11 (men's)

CIANNA SHIRLEY
Age: 5
Pant size: 5T
Shirt size: 6T
Shoe size: 12
Dress size: 7

KAY SHIRLEY
Age: 3
Pant size: 4T
Shirt size: 5T
Shoe size: 10
Dress size: 5

FAMILY NEEDS
Biggest:
Car
Adult bed for mother (has twin bed right now)
Cool mist humidifier
Air purifier/air cleaner
Food
Car seats
Bed linens (adult and children's)
Clothing and shoes (adult and children's)
hygiene/toiletry items
Internet security software
Computer driver update software
Antivirus software
coffee maker
coffee grinder
toaster
Microwavable dishes
Food storage containers
Pie pans
Pantry cabinet
Darkening curtains
Book shelves
Fireproof security box
Glue gun
Xbox 360 Kinect system
Games

CIANNA
snow pants
waterproof gloves
waterproof snow boots
pajamas
tablet
tea set
Sing-a-long Care Bear
Frozen
pottery wheel and supplies
jewelry maker
scooter
books
educational toys
Tag books
princesses (favorites are Rapunzel and Frozen)
Veggie Tales
Barbie
Hello Kitty
dolls
tights
socks
dresses (size 7)
cross necklace
Frozen jewelry box
finger paint
Inside Out DVD
child-sized mop and broom
princesses DVDs
Kidizoom smartwatch
Peppa Pig
projectable nightlight
music and light toy
girl toys

KAY
snow pants
waterproof gloves
waterproof boots
pajamas
tights
socks
dresses (size 5)
tablet
musical tea set
Sing-a-long Care Bear
Frozen (Loaf, Anna, Elsa) bike
books
educational toys
Junior Tag books
dance toys
Humpty Dumpty
castle
Dora & Friends or Dora the Explorer
dolls and accessories
Veggie Tales
Barbie
Doc McStuffin
girl toys
Barney
Barbie DVD
Dora DVD
Pet Patrol
Dance and Move beatbox
Kidizoom smartwatch
Leapfrog TV games
Pretend play
Sofia the First
bath toys

By APRILE RICKERT Saturday, December 5, 2015


WISH BOOK: New Albany man on the right path
New Albany man hurdles obstacles for his 2 girls

NEW ALBANY — Gene Hagins has made mistakes, big and small. He’s the first to admit it. His daughters, though, will never be included among his gaffes.

Family seeks bigger place to live, dressers for clothes

Gene Hagins, center, is pictured with his daughters, Alyssa, 11, left, and Cheyanne, 8, inside their New Albany
home earlier this month.

While the 48-year old tells his story of loss in their New Albany home, Cheyanne, age 8, and Alyssa, age 11, curl up like kittens across from a space heater. A cartoon of pretty monsters captivates their attention over their father’s words.

The children already know his tale. They’ve lived it — the homelessness, the alcoholism, the poverty. Little do they grasp that they, now, are his salvation.

“As long as I stay on that straight road and don't mess up again, I’ll be OK. And my girls are worth being" "OK,” Hagins said. “When you get that hug and love in the morning, and the love and hug that night, and" "they say, ‘thank you, Daddy’, that means more to me than I can ever ask for."

Hagins and his girls — one of this year's Wish Book families — don’t ask for much. Anything is an improvement over the little they had when they moved to the area four months ago. After the death of his own mother on whom he depended for support, the Florida native said he drove his family to Indiana in order for the kids to establish a relationship with their biological mother.

That didn’t pan out as he hoped, he said. Instead, upon their arrival, the trio spent three weeks in a Jeffersonville homeless shelter. “We lost everything, and it hurts when you lose everything,” Hagins said. Other difficulties have made it hard for Hagins to find work. His knees had to be replaced years ago following a worksite accident where a backhoe pinned him against a dirt wall. In addition, Hagins has a learning disability that hinders his reading comprehension, making it almost impossible to fill out any type of form.

Thanks to the help of his caseworker, Lindsay Riley at New Hope Services Inc., he now receives a small monthly disability check, as well as Section 8 housing. “I have that slow learning disability, and I have that fear, you know. Am I doing right? And I try so hard,” Hagins said. “I’m so blessed to raise my girls. I don’t need anyone else to do it. I can do it on my own.”

Yet, Hagins also confessed that an addiction almost cost him his children. Back in Florida, he drove intoxicated and ran off the road into a ditch. His oldest daughter happened to be with him. Police arrested him, and his girls were taken. But he fought back against the disease, completing all the requirements the court decreed in order to regain his children. His daughters even attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with him. “I used to be an alcoholic. I’ve been sober two years,” Hagins said. “It’s either do I want the beer or do I want my daughters, and my daughters come first.”

Like most parents, Hagins wants a happily ever after for his kids. From morning to night, he ruminates on ways to help his daughters succeed. His oldest, Alyssa, wants to be a veterinarian when she gets older. Currently, she practices her future trade by feeding stray neighborhood cats.

Cooking interests younger sister Cheyanne, an inspiring chef who wants an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas. Her first signature dish is a bubbly drink made of soda pop.

She’s a loving child, with enveloping hugs that almost take the breath out of their recipients. On the back of her hand-written Santa list for the Wish Book, she drew a picture of mountains with the words “I Love You” inscribed in bubble letters on the back. “My girl told me the other night, ‘Daddy, we’re together. I don’t worry about Christmas. We’re together." "That’s all that matters,'” Hagins said.

Both girls need a computer or tablet to assist them with homework, a cost that Hagins can’t afford. A diabetic, the father will go without food and medication to ensure his children have their needs met. Nothing, not even his health, takes precedent. “I try so hard for them. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I’m thinking is, ‘What do I need to do to make my daughters better? What can I do to help them?’” he said. “I never think of myself. I only think of them.”

Trinkets, furniture and a few toys from garage sales decorate their living room. A small Christmas tree twinkles by a window. Beside it, a note on the wall expresses Hagins' love for his kids. This adoration allows him to ask for help for his family, something that brings him embarrassment. Frequenting food banks and clothes closets conflict with his pride, but he continues to go for his kids.

“I feel like a burden sometimes on people,” he said. “I’m the only spokesperson for my children, so I have to go do those things. I have to do it to make their lives better.”

Appreciation for all those who have aided him remains abundant. A recently reborn Christian, Hagins especially thanks those at Northside Christian Church, as well as other ministries, for their assistance and non-judgment.

“It’s in God’s hands,” he said with hope rising in his voice. “I’ve been through some struggles, but I’m OK. I know now when I walk out that door, I’ve got God behind me. That’s the biggest thing of all.”

By AMANDA BEAM
Tuesday, December 8, 2015

FAMILY WANTS/NEEDS
Family’s sizes:
Father Gene
Pant size: 32/34
Shirt size: XL
Shoe size: 10.5
Daughter Alyssa, age 11
Pant size: s in juniors
Shirt size: S in juniors
Shoe size: 8 women
Daughter Cheyanne, age 8
Pant size: 14/16 girls, S in juniors
Shirt size: XL girls, S in juniors
Shoe size: 6 women

Needs:
Clothing including underwear, bras,
socks and shoes for the girls
Dresser
Kitchen utensils and pots and pans
Toiletry items
Bed linens including comforter and
sheets
Curtains
Bunk bed
Utility assistance
Computer or tablet
Clothes drying stand
Wants:
Family board games
Bicycles
Diabetic cookbooks
Family movies
TV/DVD player
Arts and crafts
Home decor
Books for the girls
Barbie and Monster High dolls
Makeup and earrings


WISH BOOK: Home for the holidays
Destiny Longwell's journey hasn't always given her a place of her own

Family seeks bigger place to live, dressers for clothes

Destiny Longwell sits in her living room with her daughter, Nevaeh and her son, Braxton. The Longwells have had a rough time of it, but Destiny continues to better herself for the sake of her children.

NEW ALBANY — If staying at home with two children younger than three can be called a break, it's the first break she's had in nine months.

Destiny Longwell will spend her maternity leave in a small apartment with her two-year-old daughter, Nevaeh and her newborn son, Braxton. Up until the last month of her pregnancy, Destiny was working two jobs for seven days a week.

She's glad to have the time off with her little family, but she said she's more comfortable when she knows she's providing for her children.

"I just want to get back to work," Destiny said. "It's a mental thing for me, I think. I just feel better when I know exactly how my day's going to do, exactly what I have planned and exactly what I have to do."

A place called home

Destiny hasn't always had her own space. When she was 18, she lived in a youth home. She was finishing up her honors diploma at Our Lady of Providence Junior-Senior High School in Clarksville. She said her mother's side of the family posed abuse issues for her and she didn't really know her dad's side of her family.

She finished school and left the facility with the allowance she'd saved up for weeks, a total of about $36. She didn't feel like she could rely on her parents, nor did she have enough money to live on her own. She was homeless.

"It was more couch to couch," Destiny said. "I stayed where I could because at that time, I didn't have children, so I was just worried about my own safety."

Nevaeh, her daughter, was born in 2013. Destiny said she was raped, then became pregnant with her, but she wants to make sure she knows she's as much of a blessing to her as any other child is to their parents. She continued to better herself, though. She got a certification to become an expanded duties dental assistant as well as radiology.

She got in a relationship with another man after Nevaeh was born, living with her boyfriend and his father. They eventually broke up, though, and she tried to find her own place.

She had an apartment for a while in Clarksville, she said, but the neighborhood wasn't the greatest. Other apartments and cars were continually broken into and her renter's insurance wouldn't cover her. She could afford her rent, but other expenses became too much for her to handle on her own with diapers and other needs.

To make matters worse, she didn't have a support network to help her out. "I just didn't have the means and money to keep rebuilding from nothing," Destiny said. "Both of my parents have been in and out of prison my whole life, so I really don't have anyone to just run to."

She said after that, she got pregnant with Braxton and she was working constantly. Early in the mornings, she cared for the elderly in their homes through Senior Helpers, from about 5 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Then she'd work at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. She'd pick right back up with another family through Senior Helpers from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

She didn't have any weekends, either. She worked eight hour shifts on Saturdays and Sundays with Senior Helpers.

Her funds were dwindling and she couldn't pay for all of her expenses, with the fathers of neither child contributing. She said she got in touch with New Hope and they did everything they could to help. With all the extra work she's picked up, the daycare she uses has been flexible in watching Nevaeh.

"My support system basically has been New Hope, Chelsea [Parman, her case worker] and my doctor," Destiny said. "That’s about it. I’m really not worried about what happens after my leave is up and I can go back to work. I know I will go back and probably work the same jobs and get back up on my feet. It’s just that being off my feet this time was rough."

Pride in her kids

In the mornings, Neveah is usually the first one up. She goes into the bedroom where Destiny co-sleeps with Braxton and she gets right in the middle. Destiny said even though she's just a 2 year old, she really steps up into her role as a big sister. If she's not calming her brother down when he starts crying, she's getting involved with caring for Braxton.

"She's trying, she wants to be a big sister," Destiny said. "She wants to change diapers and feed with the bottle, she just keeps me motivated."

Parman said she's impressed with everything Destiny does to keep things going, which has made helping the family a lot easier. "She's been very involved in the whole process," Parman said. "That's why she's gotten as far as she has."

Destiny said her children are the reason she keeps going. As long as they keep giving her smiles, she can keep moving to give them a better life. "I'm generally happy with my children, I just don't want them to have any reason to doubt me," Destiny said. "I have to do everything in my power to make sure they had everything that I never had."

BY JEROD CLAPP
Monday, December 7, 2015

YOU CAN HELP

The News and Tribune and New Hope Services have again teamed up to help out families in
need this holiday season. You can help us by contributing to Wish Book. The best way to assist families is with a financial donation with which items will be purchased. Also, each of the five families profiled in the News and Tribune this year and at newsandtribune.com from Dec. 3-8 will feature a list of items needed.

Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at New Hope, 1302 Wall St., Jeffersonville. Checks can be mailed to New Hope to that address. Call 812-288-4304 or email patricia_kite-hannon@newhopeservices.org with questions.

Those wishing to donate with a credit card should go to www.newhopeservices.org/donate.html and designate it as a Wish Book donation. The deadline to donate is Dec. 18. Thank you for your help.


FAMILY WANTS/NEEDS
• Diapers, wipes
• High Chair
• Microwave, toaster
• New tires and car repairs
• Baby bottles
• Food
• TV and living room furniture
• Coloring books, educational books and games
• Doc McStuffins toys
• My Little Pony toys
• Baby carrier
• Candles and movies
• Ear piercings for daughter
• Little girls clothes, 4T in pants and shirts, 10 in children's shoes

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