The forgotten ones—Although it may be hard to believe, there are teens right here in our community who will experience being forgotten during the holiday season. As a sponsor of the Rusty Mac Adopt a Teen program, you have the power to help make the holiday wishes of one or more of the teens served by the Exchange Club—Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse come true.
This year, we have 286 teens on the list to be adopted for Christmas. For $100, you can guarantee one teen feels loved and supported this holiday season.
This is the last article that Rusty Mac wrote about the “Adopt a Teen for Christmas” program that he started to provide Christmas for teens served by The Exchange Club—Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. It was published in the City News in December 2003. Since his death in March 2004, this program has been re-named in his honor and memory and is now the “Rusty Mac Adopt a Teen Program.”
It’s true—the older you get, the faster time seems to pass. It’s hard to believe that my son, Seth Adam, would have turned 21 this year. I can’t help but wonder what we’d be doing if he had lived. We might be preparing for a wedding, or maybe he’d be giving me a lecture about spoiling my grandchild with too many Christmas presents. I might even be wondering if he’d make it home for the holidays from Iraq. These things I’ll never know. One thing I do know, however, is that it’s time to start thinking about the kids who are still here—the ones who need someone to help make their holiday season happy and maybe spoil them a little. The following is a reprint of an article that was featured in this publication last year. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to come up with anything that explains the “Adopt-A-Teen for Christmas” drive any better If you missed it last year, please take a moment to read it. If you read it last year, please refresh your memory. I humbly ask for your help and your prayers for another successful effort.
Radio, as I’m sure some of you know, is a crazy business. One of the things that has kept me in it all these years is the opportunity it affords me to make a difference in my community. How big a difference is debatable, I’m sure, but I try to do the best I can. Anyway, a few years ago, I found myself alone for the first time in a long time at Christmas. I had just been through a divorce and was already bearing a striking resemblance to “Scrooge” – so I was looking for a way to make a difference. The station I work for, WYN-106.9, had been doing a toy drive for the Exchange Club—Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse for several years, and I always helped with that, but I wanted something personal…something that was mine. I needed a new challenge.
After I returned from my enlistment in the Navy, I was blessed with a son. A beautiful baby boy that my wife and I named Seth Adam. On the day of his birth, the doctors said he was perfectly healthy. I was sitting on Cloud 9. Three days later I was in free fall. My beautiful baby boy had developed unforeseeable problems and before we knew it, he was with the angels. The first year, since he would have been a teen if he’d been with me, I decided to provide a Happy Christmas for a teenage boy in his memory.
I really don’t remember who I talked to specifically, but it was determined that $100 would cover the need. Then, the social worker I was working with asked if I would like to go on the shopping spree for my teenager. It was one of the best holiday seasons I had spent in years. It then occurred to me that there had to be more teens in need and sure enough there were—seventeen that year. I got on the air, begged for help and sweated bullets, but our neighbors came through and continue to year after year.
Over time, the need has grown. We now collect for more than 100 teens each year. And just like that first year, I beg and sweat bullets because $10,000 is a lot of money. But, I simply can’t stand the thought of a child disappointed on Christmas morning. I’m sure that, nationwide, teens would tell you they aren’t children. But I’m just as sure that their hearts would break if they thought no one cared, especially at this time of year…no matter how tough they act.
Now it’s time for the begging and sweating to begin again. I always take the first one, because I won’t ask you to do something I don’t do myself. If you have a place in your heart and can muster up $100, I want to ask you to join me in making a wish come true this Christmas. Maybe you can get your friends and co-workers involved. Whatever you can do will be deeply appreciated.
Just be sure to make the check out to the Exchange Club—Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and specify that it’s for the “Adopt A Teen for Christmas” fund. Somewhere a little angel will be smiling, and his Daddy will be forever grateful.