From left to right: PRESENT NOW Founders Melanie Neumann, Erica Fisher with PRESENT NOW Executive Director Lilian Miller
Join Eclipse in discovering PRESENT NOW - An organization focused on providing Joy, Comfort, & Relief to Children in crisis. We had the pleasure of speaking with Executive Director, Lilian Miller about who they help and how we can contribute.
Q: What made you begin with PRESENT NOW?
LM: PRESENT NOW was founded by social entrepreneurs and philanthropists Melanie Neumann and Erica Fisher. I joined the organization in 2017 as a Board member and then became its first Executive Director in 2019. Our founders met at their children’s preschool and soon became close friends. Moved by the stories of children who witness domestic violence they wanted to help families heal and regain a sense of normalcy. To do that, they created a program to deliver brand new, personalized gift boxes year-round on special occasions. These gifts would be delivered to the mothers at the shelters on Back to School Day, Valentine's Day, and on each child's birthday - helping rekindle a healthy, loving relationship between mothers and their children during their recovery.
Q: How does PRESENT NOW impact women and children?
LM: Once victims break the silence and seek help, they become survivors of domestic violence. However, in order to break the cycle of violence from affecting future generations through engrained behavioral patterns, both parental and child survivors need to learn healthy boundaries. Children are at the center of the global domestic violence pandemic and at risk of becoming future victims or perpetrators. PRESENT NOW impacts children and their families by providing essential goods and specialty items that bring them joy, comfort and relief during a time of crisis.
Q: What is your favorite PRESENT NOW memory?
LM: My favorite memory was when I volunteered with PRESENT NOW to help stuff the birthday boxes. My very first Presence of Being box, which includes a brand new outfit, toy, book, a restaurant card for the family to celebrate, cake mix, frosting and candles was for a six year old girl. When I packed the tinny dress and wrote her name on the box, I noticed that she lived at one of our Shelter Partners in New York. This was a touching experience because I lived many years in New York before moving to Los Angeles.
Q: What is one thing everyone should know about PRESENT NOW?
LM: A key aspect of our program is that we deliver the present to the mother who then is able to provide this meaningful gift to their child. Obviously, these women are in a circumstance which often prevents them from even being able to afford presents. PRESENT NOW empowers both mother and child at the same time. PRESENT NOW is a small, volunteer based, nonprofit organization. Every one of our present boxes is assembled with the utmost attention to detail by a caring volunteer. The level of personalization that goes into each present is what makes us unique. Our goal is for each child to feel remembered and special. Since our inception we have delivered over 7500 presents impacting over 4200 children. We currently partner with 43 transitional domestic violence shelters in five states. Our organization is poised for growth! We have recently launched a five-year national expansion to reach more children in need.
Q: How can the Eclipse community get involved and contribute?
LM: There are three ways in which the Eclipse community can contribute this year end! Make a contribution, participate in our Holiday Drive or purchase tickets for our Give Love & Be Loved virtual event in February, 2021!