December is a month of giving, being grateful for what you have, and acknowledging those who may be a little less fortunate during the holiday season. For AAI, this season of generosity never stops. All throughout the year, AAI donates and fundraises for charities throughout the Boston area to promote the well being of adults and children to impact the community for the better. One charity is particularly held close to the heart for AAI co-founder, Jack Harrington, and that’s the Home for Little Wanderers.
The Home for Little Wanderers has provided vital programs for children from birth through age 22 for the past 200 years. The purpose of this program is to provide a whole host of services from behavioral health, special education, therapeutic residential environment, as well as adoption and foster-care which impacts the lives of over 7,000 people each year. AAI started out as a corporate sponsor for the Home for Little Wanderers ski weekend event long ago. Once Jack Harrington heard that one of the residential houses was beginning to fall apart, he felt compelled to do something more.
A new location, building, and many fundraisers later, the local Extreme Home Makeover project took over to complete the house in less than 5 months. The Home for Little Wanderers named the house after Harrington’s parents, and it has been the “Harrington House” since 2003. 16 children live in the house at a time, currently at an average of 8 years old, and stay for 6 months to a year. There’s even a waiting list. The children come from all walks of life, some taken away from their families due to neglect and child abuse, while some live in the house for counseling on how to live with their families at home.
Harrington plays a role of supporter and provider. He works to resolve any issues with the local school departments, police department, and is even on Board of Directors at the Children’s Advocacy Center. Alongside AAI, Harrington fundraises every summer, donating a portion of proceeds from an annual golf tournament to the Harrington House. In addition, AAI donates tickets to sporting events, water parks, money for dance class enrollment, and even sporting goods so the children can get involved with extra curricular activities at school. Mentoring and tutoring is offered in-house, as well as family and individual counseling as needed.
AAI’s involvement with the charity has impacted positive change within the local community. Giving children a loving home and individual or family counseling has provided the opportunity for personal growth and learning the necessary skills to cope and behave. What does success mean to you? There’s a wide range from graduating college with a successful career, experiencing love and care for the first time, avoiding criminal activity, breaking the cycle with family in the future, being able to talk about abuse and move forward, or knowing you made a positive difference in someone else’s life.
If you’d like to make an impact in the lives of these children, remember to think about them all throughout the year and not just during the holiday season. You can head to the Home For Little Wanderers website to learn how to donate. All year long donations of birthday gifts, basketball equipment, soccer cleats, sneakers, coats, mittens, sporting goods, money, tickets to games and water parks, and even batteries, are needed and happily accepted with great appreciation!
As you can see Harrington, John Fitzgerald (Co-Founder of AAI) and the entire AAI team loves to be involved in the community. Other charities include multiple Boys & Girls Clubs, Jimmy Fund, Project Bread Walk for Hunger, Rodman Ride for Kids, Roxbury Community Health Center, Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, Pan Mass Challenge, ALLY Foundation, and even more!