AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS
Pain Relief Beyond Belief
For Dorothy and Daniel Guy, the Christmas spirit is willing, even if the checkbook is not.
The Guys, of Penn Hills and in their 60s, are raising five of their grandchildren while their daughter -- the siblings' mother -- "gets her life together" after a series of personal problems, Mrs. Guy said.
The Christmas holiday -- as is every day when you are doing another round of child rearing in what could be relaxed retirement years -- can be a struggle on the finances and the psyche, Mrs. Guy conceded.
But here's where the couple's indomitable spirit -- helped by Toys for Tots and the Post-Gazette's Goodfellows Fund -- shoulder the load.
The Guy grandchildren got an early visit from Santa -- at least his spirit of giving -- on Saturday during a Toys for Tots event at First Church of God in Christ in Braddock. They were among some two dozen families who shared in a buffet of toys and treats, along with important information on the various services available to give needy families a helping hand this holiday.
The children -- 12-year old twins Lisa and Jonathan White; Israel White, 10; Egypt White, 8; and Destiny Moletta, 7 -- were circumspect when it came to picking from the new age-appropriate and often high-tech toys made available by this historic program of the Marine Corps Reserve.
They had, of course, been reminded earlier of their grandparents' rules for life:
"Give of your time and talents, and do not want too much of anything -- except maybe for good books," Mrs. Guy gently reminded her crew.
And it was the books the children went for first.
Saturday's was the first such toy event at the Braddock church, but the Guys and their grandchildren, all of whom volunteered as well, hope it will start a tradition.
"Where there is a need, there must be help," Mrs. Guy said.
And she sees plenty of need in Braddock, where she was born and raised.
Mrs. Guy, 60, and Mr. Guy, 63, serve on the board of trustees of the church. Mr. Guy, a retired Penn Hills teacher, also helps with church maintenance. Mrs. Guy is part of a group working to get a food bank located Downtown.
And, as a tribute to her grandchildren as well as to her late father, who was a pastor at the Pentecostal First Church, Mrs. Guy plans to start a day-care center in a home near the church on Talbot Avenue where the grandchildren now in her care grew up.
"We are turning the house into something positive for children -- ours and all kids who need it," she said of her plans for "Little Love Fort Necessity Day Care."
The name reflects the local history she is teaching the grandchildren, as well as the need for more day care in the community where, statistics point out, there are lots of single-parent homes.
"The Guys are a devoted, hard-working family who can always be counted on to help," said Christina Mays-Walker, who works in outreach at the church.
"They never talk about their need; rather, they talk about giving to others," she said.
The Guys are parents of four grown children, the youngest of whom will soon graduate from college. The couple has been the grandchildren's official guardians for the past several years "to give them a family life."
And indeed the couple has.
The youngsters, students in the Penn Hills school district, have the ribbons and certificates -- heavy on the arts -- to prove it. They plan to stay busy during their holiday vacation from school, by painting various theme rooms in the planned day-care site. They have selected bright orange, green and yellow hues, perhaps reflective of what their grandmother calls their "new lives."
On Saturday, Christmas Day, the youngsters are hoping for more books and whatever else Santa can spare for under their tree. Then the family will sit down to dinner before going off to visit relatives.
Despite her age, Mrs. Guy said she "was adamant" that her grandchildren did not go into what she refers to as "the system" -- protective services and/or foster care. And she reminds all that children "are not in the system because they did anything wrong ... they are in the system because life did something wrong to them."
And she says one way to help all youths have a Merry Christmas is to donate to or volunteer for Toys for Tots/Goodfellows charities.
Your donations to the Goodfellows Fund will be used to buy presents to distribute. Donations are tax-deductible, and each one is acknowledged in the newspaper. To contribute, use the coupon with this story or go to www.post-gazette.com/goodfellows.