Fountaindale Public Library and KISS FM Bring Holiday Magic to Homeless Bolingbrook Family

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. – On Tuesday, December 5, Bolingbrook resident and single mother of two, Shamika Woodard, received the call of a lifetime. It was Fred and Angi of 103.5 KISS FM Chicago’s popular Fred & Angi in the Morning show calling to tell her she was the winner of their $1,000 KISSmas Wish contest thanks to a letter submitted by former Fountaindale Public Library employee, Ashley Castañeda.

Ashley Castaneda (left) and Shamika Woodard (right).

“She is the type of person who can light up a room with just her smile. She is genuine, fun and full-hearted,” Castañeda wrote in her letter. “The truth is, I don’t know every detail to her story. I worked at a public library and I only got the pleasure of seeing her when she came in. Her son has autism and she is a strong advocate for him. She makes sure he gets the care he deserves in school and in public settings, and makes sure he knows that he can accomplish his goals. It is so fun to watch her and her daughter together, too. They are so close that even as an outsider you can tell.”

What Ashley did not know about Shamika’s story is that she and her children, Jaylen (age 11) and Kayla (age 8) are currently homeless.

“I plan to use this money to buy a few nights in a hotel so my children and I can sleep in a bed,” said Woodard. “This gives me a chance to find a place for us to live before Christmas. My children don’t want toys; they want a home for Christmas.”

Shamika and her children frequent Fountaindale Public Library often to participate in free, family events, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, family movie screenings and Summer Adventure, and to run to the back of the Children’s Services department to get the latest children’s book.

“The library is the community’s greatest resource,” Woodard said. “It is part of my children’s routine. It’s a place where my son feels comfortable and confident — which is saying a lot for a child with special needs.”

“It’s not every day that you meet someone who impacts the way you cherish life; a person that reminds you to smile and look at the bright side,” said Castañeda. “I’m just happy the world can see her joy.”

Click here to listen to 103.5 KISS FM Chicago’s entire KISSmas Wish segment, which aired on Wednesday, December 6. The segment begins at 56:09.