Keisha is a 27-year-old Coast Guard veteran with two small children: a 5-year old daughter named Alyssa, and a 9-month-old son named Ethan. Keisha and her family were living in San Diego when she lost her job and they became homeless. In March 2013, Keisha found out that Alyssa has an inoperable tumor on her brain stem. Keisha went to the VA for help, and the family was referred to U.S.VETS – Inland Empire.
During a meeting with their U.S.VETS case manager, Alyssa said that she had always wanted to go to LEGOLAND. The U.S.VETS – Inland Empire team wanted to support this family and help make Alyssa’s dream come true. They worked together with supporters in the community to get everything they needed for an unforgettable trip. In the end, Keisha’s family was given VIP passes to LEGOLAND, a night’s stay in a resort, a limo ride to the park, spending money and gift bags that included clothing and toys. They were also given two disposable cameras to document their family vacation.
As part of their VIP trip, the family were given passes to “Meet the Masters”, where they got to meet some of the artists behind the creations at LEGOLAND. While checking out Mini Land (LEGO representations of major cities), Alyssa said that she loved the New York City display and that she always wanted to go there, but knew her family couldn’t afford it. The LEGOLAND Master Builders decided to do the next best thing. They created a Mini Alyssa and Mini Ethan, and placed the figurines in Mini Times Square, where they will remain as a permanent part of the display. Later, at a meeting with her U.S.VETS case manager, mom Keisha said that by putting Mini Alyssa in LEGO New York, the Master Builders had helped another one of Alyssa’s wishes come true.
But Alyssa still had one wish to go – through a donation by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the family was able to take a trip to Disneyland earlier this month.
With collaborations between U.S.VETS, the VA, other service organizations and members of the community, veterans like Keisha can receive the help they need to improve their families’ lives. U.S.VETS – Inland Empire is grateful to have been able to take a part in this story, and thanks all those who contributed.