FLOWER MOUND, TEXAS
The Flower Mound 5th Ward Relief Society, Lewisville Texas Stake, threw a festive birthday bash for children in crisis being sheltered at the Nelson Children's Center in Denton, Texas, on Saturday, Dec. 5.
Darla Palfreyman, ward Relief Society president, noted that the women received far more than they gave. "We bring [the children] a dose of fun and personal attention and get to see their faces light up with happiness," she said.
Since 1996, the Nelson Children's Center of Denton has provided a safe harbor for severely emotionally disturbed children, many from emotionally, physically and sexually abusive homes. Service such as the birthday parties gives the children the opportunity to interact with adults in a safe environment and learn to trust again.
The birthday party given by the Relief Society honored seven boys with December birthdays. Each boy was given an individual birthday gift, and everyone at the center enjoyed cake, ice cream, games and goodie bags. The Relief Society also made 62 personalized pillowcases for all the children at the center.
Unlike previous service projects that served unknown people in foreign places, this service project assisted local people and put a face to their ward's service.
"Our experience with the Nelson Children's Center is unique because these are children from our community, and we can personally witness the joy we bring," Sister Palfreyman said.
"The Relief Society is wonderful. These people came and gave so much to our children," said Ruth Drum, Nelson Center director of Spiritual Care. Founded by Lutheran Social Services of the South, the center benefits from the support provided by a network of local churches including the LDS Church. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of many churches who support us in so many ways," Ms. Drum said. "We have an ongoing need for mentors and tutors for our children."
The Nelson Children's Center serves more than 100 children in crisis a year providing therapy, family counseling, voluntary spiritual care and, in coordination with Trinity Charter School, individualized educational opportunities.