Angels have walked beside me all my life…and thankfully, they still do.

When my Dad lost his battle with cancer two months before my 12th Christmas, my Mom was left with very little to provide for the Holiday Season. She warned me that this would be a tough Christmas and not to expect too much. I did understand, to some degree, that my Mom faced a substantial financial burden. Still, I couldn’t imagine what Christmas would be like without lots of food, gifts and fun, and it worried me. A few days before Christmas, two surprises arrived at our front door. One was a festively wrapped gift that simply said ’12 year old girl’ on it, and the other was a huge order of groceries with a turkey and all the trimmings for a traditional Christmas feast. My normally stoic mother had tears in her eyes as she told me that a particular gentleman from our church, Mr. Devins, had made sure we had a Christmas. He had given my name to The Star Santa Claus Fund. He had also arranged with the local grocer to deliver a Christmas hamper. She told me that Mr. Devins was our Angel that year, and from that day on, I have always looked for Angels in my life.

Over the years it hasn’t been too hard to find them, they come in all shapes and sizes and nowhere are they more present to me than at CGS. As order after order for the Principal’s Club fundraiser came in over the past few weeks, I was reminded of my gratitude for Parent Angels who continually support our cause so generously. Each week at our Principal’s Club meetings, I witness Student Angels hard at work, showing a deep commitment to The Olive Branch for Children, making sure that African children have opportunities that they otherwise would not have. Teacher Angels have selflessly given of their time to help with Principal’s Club initiatives and last week these same Angels, along with their colleagues, gave up their Friday evening to make our annual Holiday Outreach another huge success. Many less fortunate people in our city will be given a chance for a warm and joyous Christmas thanks to all of the donations we received. During the last couple of months, a time of great grief for me, my Friend and Colleague Angels have rallied around me, instinctively knowing what I need. They have wrapped me in what always feels like a great big hug.

Angels aren’t just around during the holiday season but for some reason their actions somehow seem all the more important and meaningful at this time of year. Ever since that Christmas so long ago I recognize an Angel whenever I see one, regardless of the time of year. This first Christmas season without my Mom is one of profound sadness for me but I am comforted knowing that I now have a new Angel who will watch over me forever more. My Mom taught me to not only look for and appreciate Angels, but to do my best to be one whenever I can. I hope you will too.

My very best wishes to all of you for a Happy Holiday, a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of walking with Angels.

My best,

Marie Bates
Principal and Co-Founder
Children’s Garden School