Former Child Advocate volunteer puts heart into BEARing Gift Program at Rand Group
(Houston, TEXAS) Every year when Cynthia Campbell selects her BEARing Gifts card from the Christmas tree at Rand Group, she remembers two small children she once knew in Houston.
Four years ago Campbell was juggling her busy schedule so she could help the children as their court-appointed Child Advocate volunteer with Harris County Protective Services (CPS), all while working as a full-time staff accountant at Rand Group.
“I don’t know where they are now, but I think of them often, especially at this time of year,” said Campbell, herself a mother of three. “These two children were in just the kind of situation many BEARing Gifts children could be in today.”
Campbell is among 60+ Rand Group employees at its Houston office who have been making Christmas a little brighter for children in CPS care through Be A Resource for CPS Kids’ and its BEARing Gifts program. The program has been an annual tradition at Rand Group for the last seven years.
“For a few days it looks like Santa’s workshop around here with all these presents coming in,” said Rand Group President and CEO Ron Rand.
“This is a festive time, and it’s also a time to think of others,” Rand said. “These young people – some small, some not so small – are brimming with promise. My wish is that these gifts fill them with joy, and gives them a sense of hope. I know that’s what happens here every year when that tree goes up.”
This year, the Houston office made the three wishes of 65 children come true by purchasing 195 gifts worth $4,000. And at the company’s Dallas office, employees purchased $1,200 worth of gifts for 14 children through the Buckner Bear Wishes program. Rand Group in turn topped up both programs contributing $875 in gifts for Buckner Bears, and another $2,500 for BEARing Gifts.
Campbell said giving comes in so many ways, and working for an organization that gets behind these initiatives and finds creative ways to support employees’ volunteer passion means a lot.
“Kids are my passion, and I try to reach out and be a big supporter of other kids who are not related to me,” she said. “These two children were siblings and they were separated – one living with their great aunt, and the other with their grandmother. I worked the case for about five months and used my PTO to go to court and fight on their behalf, to see them during the day, plus on my weekends.”
Today, those youngsters would be age six and 11 – still within the range of children who are remembered each year through the BEARing Gifts program, which ends at age 18.
This year Campbell reached out to that higher end of the age spectrum, purchasing a gift card, boom box and DVD player for an 18-year-old boy – a long way from the dollhouse she remembers finding that first year.
“He didn’t really ask for something that’s out of reach, so I wanted to make sure I got that for him,” she said. “I’m teaching my children to give back to those who need help. By empowering them with this special gift of giving, I know they will share this same mind set with their friends. It’s like a big chain that will continue to grow in our society of youth of today.”
Last year, BEAResource for CPS Kids received multiple gifts for 10,145 of the estimated 17,000 children in care in Harris County.
BEARing Gifts is just one of many non-profit initiatives Rand Group gets involved with each year. The company also provides support to organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Houston Public Media, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston Symphony and Alley Theatre.
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