Project highlights impact of agencies

A sure sign of the beneficial impact of a family service agency is when a client who receives help in turn is motivated to help others in similar situations.

Such a scenario recently speaks well of the value of George Junior Republic in Columbus.

The Pennsylvania-based organization, with an office here, assists at-risk youth by teaching them to be responsible citizens. One of the things case managers try to do is bring structure to the family setting.

When case manager Hollie O’Connor started working with Kaitlin Charles’ family in March 2014, O’Connor was tasked with bringing some order to a family that had grown by three adopted children and was struggling to make ends meet.

The impact of the help ran deep, and Charles found someone in whom she could confide. A lasting friendship formed.

Charles — who has aspirations of going to college and becoming a social worker or therapist to help families — never forgot the help she and her family received. When it came time for the Columbus Signature Academy-New Tech student to pick a senior project, the idea of helping others came easily to her and classmates Dakota Hodapp and Griffen Wheeler.

What they did was provide a nice Christmas season for five families in need — all being helped by George Junior Republic. They organized a Christmas party Dec. 19 at kidscommons, featuring a spread of food, bags of wrapped presents for the children and baskets of food and household items for the families. The children got a chance to explore all the exhibits at the Columbus-based children’s museum.

Most importantly, the families left with a lasting memory about how the generosity of others positively impacted them.

That generosity had ties to the help provided by George Junior Republic to Charles’ family. She, in turn, paid it forward.

Social service organizations strive to assist individuals and families and make a positive difference in their lives. Charles’ experience with George Junior Republic is proof of how beneficial that help can be.