CHICO – For more than a decade Shannon Nicodemus has been bringing Christmas cheer to local children and raising awareness of child abuse in memory of a child she never knew existed.
It started in 2007 when someone emailed Nicodemus a YouTube video saying that 3-year-old Kelsey Briggs died of child abuse by her mother and stepfather in Oklahoma. Both parents are serving time in prison for the crime, according to Nicodemus, who also noted that “there’s a lot of information on the web about Kelsey.”
“I don’t usually open or watch emailed videos but for some reason I opened it and saw it. It touched me. I had tears rolling down my face. My daughter was about the same age at the time and it was really at home I just couldn’t see it, turned it off and went away. I had to do something,” Nicodemus said.
Nicodemus approached the child’s maternal grandmother, Cathy Briggs, and asked her what she could do. Briggs asks her to collect toys in Kelsey’s memory and give them to the children.
“Every year I send pictures of him and Kelsey’s biological father that we’ve collected. It’s very comforting to see that Kelsey has a legacy,” Nicodemus said.
This year’s drop off for the annual collection is at the Platinum Salon, 2575 Cenothas No. 168. Donations of new toys, gift cards and clothing for children ages 0 to 18 are being accepted on December 22 at 4 p.m. The greatest need are items for adolescents, Nicodemus said.
“Donations are slow this year so we could really use some more support. It makes my heart happy to know that kids who don’t have anything for Christmas get toys or clothes but it’s bigger than that.” I tell Kelsey’s story to people to promote child abuse awareness. I educate them about the signs and symptoms of abuse and urge them to take precautions and if they think the child is hurt If you see it, report it,” said Nicodemus. “If I can just help keep one kid from ending up like Kelsey it’s worth it.”
While Nicodemus makes donations with Esplanade House and Jesus Center being past recipients, this year all donations will be given to families with children in Torres Shelter’s True North program. The program will get parents to wrap gifts for their children during a wrapping party at the shelter.
Nicodemus said, “I can’t imagine how it must feel to have a child in homelessness or foster care or any other dire situation, so if I can do something to make them smile in memory of Kelsey she didn’t die in vain. “
For more information, contact Nicodemus at 530-720-3266 or [email protected]