The Doing Good blog follows area charities and social service agencies.

About Amy Umble: Amy Umble writes about religion and social issues affecting the Fredericksburg community. You can email her at

RSS feed of this blog

Help teens this holiday season

My 4-month-old daughter squeals with delight when she sees her toes. Every day for four months, her feet have been attached to her legs. And every day, she is delighted to discover them.

That’s why Christmas is so much fun when you have little kids around. The simplest gift is exciting. I also have two teenage boys, and their reaction isn’t quite the same. Last year, my 14-year old got an iPhone for Christmas. I know he was thrilled. But his grandma had to settle for a quiet “thank you” and a barely discernible gleam in his eye.

When we picture Christmas morning, we think of youngsters in pajamas, screaming for joy.

But Christmas means a lot to teens too. They’re just too cool to show it.

Many area social service agencies don’t take on teens for holiday help. It’s hard enough to fill wishlists for all of the children in need. And donors aren’t always so eager to help teens.

They may fear that the teen wishlists will be too expensive, said Yolunda Willis, who coordinates the Stafford County Department of Social Services’ holiday help program.

But Willis said that the teens in her program ask for basic things, like clothes and toiletries.

Stafford and Spotsylvania departments of social services both try to get holiday help for teens. If you’re interested in helping a teen in need have a happy holiday, here’s how you can help:

Spotsylvania County’s Department of Social Services: Call 540/507-7896 or email (Note: while most area programs have already closed their holiday help applications, Spotsy will take families up until Christmas Eve, which means they’ll still be accepting help then too.)

Stafford County’s Department of Social Services: Drop off a gift for a child or a teen at the social services office, 1300 Courthouse Road in Stafford, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Coordinators hope to get gifts by Dec. 12 so they can be distributed on Dec. 13. Call 540/658-8732.

Need ideas for teen gifts? Clothes and accessories are always good. You could also try gift cards–they don’t need to be for a lot of money. And board games are fun, too. You can also check out this post on the Fredericksburg Families blog for some ideas for teen guys.