Summer 2015 Newsletter


Tis' the summer season, a time to give the gift of childhood

Summer is a time of childhood magic, when ice cream is devoured in scoop after flavorful scoop and coming home before dark stretches longer than ever. Most importantly, summer is a chance to spend time with family and friends, a chance to soak up more than sun…

to soak up time well spent with those we love.
At The Christmas Box International, we do our best to give the children, teens and young adults who have experienced abuse, neglect or homelessness a chance for summer fun like other kids.  That means swimming lessons and s’mores crafted fireside, summer movies, sports day camps and exploring hiking trails.

But we need your help to give kids not only these experiences, but even the most basic items such as summer clothing, pajamas, hygiene items and flip flops.

This month is our Christmas in July campaign to give that special magic of summer to at-risk children in our community. As you enjoy this season, we ask you, our best supporters, to help a child in need. All things are possible, especially when giving back may be something as simple as grabbing two bottles of sunscreen instead of one, one for that upcoming trip to the pool and another for the children staying at a local Christmas Box House.

You can be the difference in helping a child, teen or young adult experience some of the magic of summer…

  • Organize a car wash to benefit the kids.
  • Turn a neighborhood BBQ into a fundraiser by sharing the message of “every child deserves a childhood” with guests and asking them to make a small donation.
  • Create a “Dress Down Day” fundraiser where coworkers pay $5 to wear jeans, ball caps or flip flops on each Friday.
  • Sponsor a local walk-a-thon, pet parade or 5K. 
  • Give your customers an opportunity to donate through “Change Round-Ups” or adding $1 to their purchase.
  • The possibilities are tailored to YOU because you can decide how to help a child.

Anyone can help make summer happen for a child, and we are here to help you along the way. If you would like to host a fundraiser or donation drive, please contact Gina Barker, Development Director, at 801-747-2201 or

To learn more about needed donation items and fundraising opportunities, visit us online by clicking here.

At-risk teens find support after foster care and homelessness with move-in kits

Last month, volunteers from Goldman Sachs and T.D. Williamson spent a week organizing thousands of dollars’ worth of basic household items to be distributed to at-risk youth statewide. These supplies will made available to young people aging out of foster care, or who are at risk of homelessness, so they can build their own move-in kit with items they need for their first home on their own such as pots and pans, bedding, towels, and tool and first aid kits.
Since its beginning nine years ago, this project has provided thousands of young adults with basic household and hygiene items.  “JUMP Kits (known previously as Lifestart Boxes) are an opportunity to start life like any typical young adult moving into their first apartment or going off to college,” said Keeley Bierwolf, the JourneyUP Mentor Project Manager. “These move-in kits are about more than a pillow or a can opener or a towel. They are about how we want youth leaving foster care to start their lives, knowing they have community support and that they can succeed.”

Volunteers with The Christmas Box International assembled and organized the JUMP Kit supplies.
“We rely on dozens of volunteers and donors to help every year with the kits.” Bierwolf said.  “Each person impacts these young people in a positive way to help them realize they are capable of thriving as they transition to adult life.”
Older youth aging out of foster care are those who were not able to return home and most choose to leave state custody when they turn 18 years old. According to national statistics, without reliable support systems these teens face a higher risk of homelessness, drug addiction, early pregnancy, incarceration and unemployment than their peers.  Annually in Utah, roughly 180 older foster teens will leave state custody to adult life on their own with few programs directly aimed at supporting them through the transition.

To learn more about this program, contact Keeley Bierwolf, the JourneyUP Mentor Project Manager, at 801-755-3735 or

To become a mentor to a youth in the Salt Lake City area, visit us online by clicking here.

 Christmas in july events

Chancellor Gardens BBQ
Thursday, July 9
11 am - 2 pm
1425 S 1500 East
Clearfield, UT

Eat at Lucky Slice Pizza
Tuesday, July 14
All day at both locations
Portion of sales to benefit kids at the Christmas Box House

  • 200 25th Street, Ogden, UT
  • 1246 S Legend Hills Dr., Clearfield, UT

Iron Order Motorcycle Club
Charity Poker Run
Saturday, July 18
Totem's Bar
538 South Redwood Road, SLC

9:00 am   Registration 
11:00 am  Ride 
$10 per person or $25 for 3

EZ Pawn Giveaway
Chance to win an Xbox One
during July at all 11 locations

Allstate Riverdale Donation Drive ~

1140 W Riverdale Rd. Ste H
Ogden, UT

All Month All State in Riverdale will be collecting summer items for children and teens in the Ogden area. Click here to see the wish list.

 Volunteer spotlight

 Donor spotlight


We are guessing you have not heard of a program called the JourneyUP Mentor Project (nicknamed JUMP), and there is a simple reason why. JUMP is the new name connecting two programs under a single mission focused on older teens and young adults who have aged out of foster care, or are homeless.
But how did we get here…?
Last August The Christmas Box International (CBI) absorbed a longtime partnering charity, the Utah Youth Mentor Project (UYMP), as a way to continue mentor services for at risk young adults in the Salt Lake community. For several years the Utah Youth Mentor Project provided former foster youth and homeless youth access to adult volunteer mentors, housing, employment, medical and dental needs, mental health services, education and life skills workshops.
Merging UYMP to CBI was a natural fit. CBI has nearly a decade of helping this population through its own program, the Lifestart Initiative which provided move-in kits and other resources as they transitioned to adult living.
As these two programs came together under CBI, so did an opportunity to reimagine the impact and potential of both. The Lifestart Initiative and the Utah Youth Mentor Project were combined into a single program providing resources from both programs and renaming it the JourneyUP Mentor Project.  By tying the two programs together into one new vision, CBI hopes to grow JUMP in coming years to provide mentors and resources to young adults throughout the state, and connect vulnerable youth to a community where they know they can succeed.