For the children, staff, and friends of Kurn Hattin Homes for Children, December is always a most wonderful time of the year.
This holiday season began with the arrival of fragrant trees donated by Christmas Trees of Vermont and decorating activities in the cottages and across the campus. The festive décor was a fitting backdrop for the Night of Giving. At this annual gathering, the Homes’ Weekday Residential Director, Mary Beth Culver, explained to students that The Night of Giving was established years ago by Thomas Fahner, who served as Principal and Co-Executive Director of the Homes from 1989-2015, to balance all of the receiving bestowed upon Kurn Hattin and the children. She said, “Always being on the receiving end of things can make people feel entitled, and we don’t want to foster entitlement. We also recognize that giving back to our community is important, it’s part of being a good citizen. And lastly, giving to others feels good. Each student should have the opportunity to experience feeling good about helping others.”
During the Night of Giving, students from each cottage presented their projects and explained how they intend to give back. This year, the cottages’ community projects include the following:
- Hubbard Cottage: baking cookies for Groundworks, an organization creating solutions to end hunger and homelessness for people in our region
- Butler Cottage: collecting supplies and donations for the Windham County Humane Society
- Maysilles Cottage: collecting donations for the Trevor Project, an organization providing crisis support services to LGBTQ young people
- Warner Cottage: creating cards and baking cookies for the staff at Edgar May Health & Recreation Center as a thank-you for always welcoming KHH students to use the facility
- Morrison Cottage: helping to build a Lending Library for Westminster Center School
Holiday Visitors’ Day, which included a luncheon and children’s performance, soon followed. This year’s event was attended by more than 120 guests and was made especially festive thanks to the donation of a life-sized sleigh for the auditorium stage. The bright red sleigh, which was built by Dave Hallock of Bellows Falls, truly set the stage for a memorable holiday performance by all of the KHH children. A select group of KHH singers participated in the 2023 Vermont Academy Candlelight Winter Concert on December 12 then traveled throughout the community singing songs of cheer on December 20. The season’s events culminate(d) on December 21 with an encore holiday concert performed by KHH students for their families and friends.
To everyone’s delight, a treasured tradition continues! The Chester Rotary Club once again contacted the North Pole and arranged for Santa, Mrs. Claus, and a number of helpers to visit Kurn Hattin Homes. Here, the children of Maysilles Cottage pose with our holiday guests, who visited the children in each cottage, bringing gifts and tidings of comfort and joy.
From Kurn Hattin Homes to your home, Happy Holidays!