Jennifer Friend Teamed Up with LEGO!
Last December, I was approached by one of the world’s favorite brands and toys, LEGO. They were developing their LEGO Friends Holiday Special and wanted to include a character experiencing homelessness. With caring as one of their core company values, they intended to create a character that reflected the reality of many of America’s children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness while also bringing empathy, awareness, and understanding to the issue.
Being a huge LEGO fan, having the opportunity to work with them as a consultant on Joe’s character was both exciting and truly an honor! Over the last year, I watched as Joe came to life! Clothing selections, the conditions that brought about his homelessness, his relationship with his mom, and his interactions with his peers were all things I was given a chance to speak into. LEGO was so intentional and caring in handling Joe’s story that I felt how much it truly mattered to them. As a result, LEGO brought visibility to all our community’s children who, like Joe, find themselves living in a family shelter or “between homes” because of a parent’s job loss. Even still, they have hope, love, friends, and support. In the end, Joe saved his friends from spending Christmas in the basement of a spooky house by looking out for them, the same way that Joe’s friends kept him warm and stepped up to help. LEGO Friends reminds us that everyone needs something, and everyone has something to give, a holiday message we can all relate to. -Jennifer Friend, PHA CEO
Watch the film here!
Just like the LEGO Friends, you can bring holiday cheer to a youth experiencing homelessness.