Guest Blog Post by Nicole Griswold
“Uh oh,” I answered dramatically. Lance looked over at me and dropped another ball to see if I would respond once more. It was an early December morning in 2013, with Christmas just around the corner. I had been caring for him for nearly a year, and he was almost one year old.
As a Family Assistant and Household Manager, I was used to rolling around the floor with little ones in multi-million-dollar homes, frequenting large department stores for new shoes, and attending various extracurricular activities with the children after their private school classes ended for the day.
I loved my job, and I loved the families I worked for. Yet as a native to the Eastside of Seattle, I could not help but notice that despite Bellevue’s economic growth there were still many families barely making ends meet. While large software companies replaced the strip malls I frequented as a child, the cost of living skyrocketed.
A voice began repeating itself in my head, “Adopt a family this Christmas.” I was starting a new business and living with my parents to save money, but surely I could help in some way.
I got Lance down for his morning nap and I logged onto the Internet. The first nonprofit to show up in the search feed was Bellevue LifeSpring. I had never heard of them but decided to give them a call. A kind woman answered, and I asked her if there were any families that still needed to be adopted. She was silent for a moment. Then, she said, “I’m not sure what made you call, but we literally just had a sponsor call saying they are unable to help this season. Would you be interested in a family of six?”
That year I went shopping for my adopted family filled with great joy. I found warm coats, new socks, and a shiny bike for their youngest child. When it came time to drop off my gifts, I was overwhelmed with the sight hundreds and hundreds of wrapped gifts for children that would have gone without that season.
Five years later, the Bellevue LifeSpring Holiday Adopt-A-Family™ event day is still my favorite part of the holiday season. I sign up for as many volunteer spots as time allows during the one-day event, and I look forward to a day spent with both sponsors and recipients.
Many ask me why I do this, as I already stay busy working two full-time jobs. And the answer is simply this: it could be me. It could be my family. It could have been Lance.
While Lance was lucky to be born into a privileged home, children who are not as fortunate are not any less deserving. I know from personal experience that all it takes is a little bad luck to get behind on things. My hope is that our community can come together so all children of Bellevue can go to bed with a roof above their heads, food in their bellies, and opportunity to shine—regardless of life events or income status.
Since first adopting a family in 2013, Nicole has donated her time and talent to many projects with Bellevue LifeSpring, including Thrift Culture, Uncork the Night and more. Even though she works two full-time jobs, she still makes time to give back to Bellevue kids – we feel very fortunate to have her support.
Feel inspired? Submit your giving story at mygivingstory.givingtuesday.org and vote for your favorites! You can also share your story on social media by using the hashtag #mygivingstory. Don’t forget to tag Bellevue LifeSpring!