Meet the Donors: Author Susan Stockdale

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612m+fa1U7L._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_A value we share with children’s book author and illustrator, Susan Stockdale, is that we care about helping children develop. We think kids can learn when they are warm and comfortable. Susan is about the learning: she inspires and educates with picture books about nature, animals, fish, and birds. Her charming, best-selling books include Spectacular Spots, Stripes of All Types, and Fabulous Fishes. Susan has won awards from the American Library Association, Parents’ Choice, the National Science Teachers Association, Cooperative Children’s Book Center and Bank Street College of Education.

According to the Washington Post, “If the paintings are the feast, Stockdale’s words are the dessert.

Susan is also generous. She autographed and sent three books for one of our special SOCKS children.

If you are still looking for gifts for a special child in your life (puzzles, coloring books, and notecards, for children of all ages) visit her website at


Meet the Donors: Nadia!

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IMG_5042Everyone is busy during the holidays which is why we want to give a special shout out to Nadia.  She took time from her job, performing in local theater, and volunteering to shop for a layette for an infant girl. The clothes she picked out feature adorable owls and teddy bears, and best of all, they are warm and comfy. (Wish they made them in adult sizes!)  Of course, Nadia also remembered a package of colorful socks.

Nadia’s mother, Karen Leggett Abouraya, is a children’s book author (including the award winning Hands Around the Library, written for older children) but Karen spread the word to her author-friends. The lucky mom and child who receive Nadia’s gift will also receive SIGNED copies of three children’s board books from noted author and illustration Susan Stockdale. (more about that in our next post.)

Nadia decided the experience of helping a new mom welcome her baby girl was a perfect way to celebrate the holiday season and the new year!

Our Kids: Why They Need Your Help

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Toddler in red The children who will receive SOCKS clothing this year have been referred by social workers at Identity Youth, a program designed to empower Latino and other youth to reach their full potential as they transition into adulthood.  Identify serves as a resource, a community, and a safe place for young people at two locations in Montgomery County, Maryland: Gaithersburg and Silver Spring.

Young people at Identity are often first generation Americans who have come here with immigrant parents hoping their children will receive an education and opportunity. They arrive at school speaking little English and live with families struggling to afford basic necessities. Some of the youth at Identity live in foster homes, others are escaping gangs, or sex work, some are teen parents.  They are seeking GEDs, jobs that hold the possibility of advancement, and a path to productive citizenship.

Many on our steering committee have been involved helping these young people find jobs, but for the holidays we just want to make life a little easier and to let them know we care. Holiday Dream Makers offers the comfort of warm socks and clothing.  We provide only new items because we want to send the message to each child that they are worthy of something chosen especially for them!

The Story of SOCKS

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IMG_3261Who decides to make a difference in some small way and the  effort to meet a need? The people pictured (and some not pictured) above who are the official SOCKS Steering Committee. We started meeting in September to develop SOCKS and we have crossed the finish line (perhaps the starting line?) with our first event on Thanksgiving Day.

SOCKS originated when several of us realized that a young couple we met through a jobs program needed clothes for their growing baby needed bigger clothes. (Read more) That led to the realization that many young children in the D.C. area are without socks, mittens, winter coats, school and play clothing. Teen moms living shelters need baby clothes too.

We talked about where to begin, whether to collect new or used clothing, launch locations, and our dreams for what SOCKS could become.  And thanks to one member who offered to host our first event at Medium Rare restaurant we have gone from idea to proof of concept in a few short months.

We have a lot to learn, but based on our first few months together, we know that people love to give and to help.  Our dream can be a reality and we hope you will join in becoming a Dream Maker and check our Clothesline Drive pages for future events.



Happy SOCKS-Giving!

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IMG_3381The crowd was cool and the turkeys were sizzling on Thanksgiving Day at Medium Rare restaurant in Washington, D.C.  Their annual turkey fry was our first SOCKS event and a successful launch for our holiday Dream Makers campaign.

Chef and owner, Mark Bucher, was frying up turkeys in the kitchen while his gracious staff (including founder, Steve, and both of their daughters, pictured left) greeted friends, customers, and neighbors who were lining up with raw turkeys. While guests waited for their turkey to be fried crispy and delicious, they hung out around the bar, and wandered over to find us at the SOCKS table.  Many who came generously tossed bills into our donation basket. Others took materials so they could sign-up to become a holiday Dream Makers.

IMG_3430We were also honored to have WTOP’s Debbie Feinstein and her husband, Rich James, who came all the way from Bethesda, Maryland.   Debbie’s report helped us share the word about the event.  Local news channels WJLA (ABC) and WUSA9 (CBS) sent reporters.

Happy SOCKS-giving indeed!

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