After Housing Assistance helped Ambermae Rivard find housing for her and her young son Matthew, she decided that one day they would find a way to pay it forward. A few years later, she organized a toy drive and ended up with six large bags full of new toys that she and her son recently donated to Housing Assistance’s family shelters.
“It felt awesome to do something for the organization that helped me,” said Rivard, an honors student at Cape Cod Community College.
Rivard, who is taking courses in psychology and journalism, is the editor of the school newspaper. As a member of the campus Honors Club, she was required to do a community service project. “I wanted to do something to help homeless families, so I reached out to Housing Assistance,” she said. “At first, I thought I might do a clothing drive, but then I decided I wanted to do something focused on the kids.”
Rivard created a poster and worked with professor Kate Marin, the Honors Club’s advisor, to distribute it by email to all of the college’s students, requesting donations of jump ropes, balls and other inexpensive new toys for outside play. Drop-off bins were placed around the campus, including in the library and cafeteria. She was surprised and pleased by the generosity of her fellow students and the faculty, as was Paula Mallard, vice president of homeless services at Housing Assistance.
“We are so grateful for this thoughtful donation,” said Mallard. “To have it come from a former client is especially meaningful.”
Rivard said she’s majoring in psychology because of her passion for giving others a boost. “That’s my life mission – helping people,” said Rivard, who plans to continue her education with the goal of getting a bachelor’s degree. “Once I transfer, I’m going to double major in journalism and psychology,” she said. “It helps to understand people if you’re going to write about them.”