Answering Birthday Call to Duty

birthday party RSVP

There is little that makes me sadder than stories of a child having no one attend his or her birthday. I’ve written before about the need to be considerate and RSVP to party invitations. In today’s example, the parents were still hoping for the best even though they hadn’t heard back from anyone. But, even after they prepared pizza and cake for the friends they expected to show up regardless of their rude inability to say “yes” or “no,” no one turned up for their 8-year-old’s big day!

Apparently this wasn’t even the first time — the same thing happened on the child’s sixth birthday!

So, the mom went on social media to ask for people to join her son’s party:

“I think I’m posting this out of utter emotional distress … but I need to ask if anyone wants to come to an 8 yr old boys birthday party to show him that he’s loved and valued as a person…NO gifts are required other than the gift of friendship.”

When she didn’t get any responses immediately, she went to the local police station and asked if an officer might attend. Her son has always wanted to join the force. And that’s where this story takes its turn for the better.

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Members of both the police and fire department showed up to fete Graham. Cruisers lined the street of his neigbourhood. Plus, others who had seen the social media also showed up to share their best wishes.

The Mom was tearful in describing her gratitude to the Dallas News: “Something like this, it literally guts you as a parent because you can’t fix it, at least in that moment…But the Hurst Police Department and the Hurst Fire Department, they went above and beyond and made his day.”

There are so many ways in which you can make someone’s day on their birthday. I hope this glimmer of kindness inspires you!

Inspired by Birthday Generosity

Birthday generosity makes me happy. So forgive me for sharing yet more examples of people doing good deeds with their birthdays.

In Lynchburg, West Virginia, a pair of siblings asked friends to bring toy donations to their birthday party. Josie, 7, and Jett, 9, then took the gifts to donate to a local non-profit that helps kids going through the court system — many of the under the age of five. These youngsters have been taken from their homes and had to leave their things behind, so this #bdaygenerosity is certainly appreciated.

Homeless pets were the beneficiaries in Richmond, Virginia, when two boys asked for birthday donations to a pet shelter. Hatcher and Sam asked for gifts they could give to animals in need, and also set up a lemonade stand to raise added funds!

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Adults get in on the action too. A women’s auxiliary in California hosts an annual Birthday Luncheon to collect gifts for the local Children’s Fund serving neglected, abused and abandoned children San Bernardino County. Now it in its 19th year, the luncheon has donated more than 42,000 gifts to the group. In May 2017 alone the group collected 5,417 birthday gifts to give.

Others are inspired to found organizations dedicated year round to the cause of celebrating birthdays. In Charleston, South Carolina, Steffi Green and her husband founded Birthdays for All to celebrate birthdays for children in foster care.

“I never want a kid to look back on their life and be like ‘I never had a birthday,’ ” Green said.

Megan Yunn is similarly determined. Her non-profit Beverly’s Birthday holds about 120 group birthday parties a year in the greater Pittsburgh area for over 2,000 children and guests. The group distributes over 1,300 presents.

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“We all have birthdays, and everyone should know that they are loved, cared for, that they’re noticed and special,” Yunn has said. “Birthdays are joy and hope and smiles. It’s not about lavishness, it’s just about the notion that there are genuinely good people out there and we want to be able to support these families.”

Heal Heartbreak with a Birthday.

Birthday generosity

Photo credit: volp91w / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

#bdaygenerosity is one of my favorite hashtags to use on my twitter account. I love seeing the ways in which people use birthdays to do nice things for others.

I’ve written about passing on birthday kindness before, of course. I love non-profits that work to give children birthday parties. I’ve written before about Birthday Blessings and others, but here’s a story about another one in Texas — The Birthday Party Project — and its efforts also in Minneapolis.

Here are some other great examples:

  • A nine-year-old girl hosting a food drive for her birthday told an Orlando TV station, “I like helping people more than I like getting stuff…I like making people happy.”
  • Siblings in New York invited 100 folks to their birthday, asking them to bring bread and deli meat instead of gifts, and together the party made more than 900 sandwiches to take to an Albany homeless shelter.
  • A woman who hosts CPR training parties for her birthday after her life was saved by an MLB umpire at an Arizona Diamondbacks game.

The Global Poverty Project contrasted the extravagance of Kylie Jenner’s 2015 birthday celebrations with the selflessness of Nobel Peace Prize-winning education activist Malala Yousafzai who marked her 18th birthday by opening a school for Syrian refugees.

Instead of having a lavish party, she spent the day in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley at a school intended to help 200 girls gain baccalaureate and vocational degrees.

“I am honored to mark my 18th birthday with the brave and inspiring girls of Syria.” Malala said in a statement. “On this day, I have a message for the leaders of this country, this region and the world – you are failing the Syrian people, especially Syria’s children. This is a heartbreaking tragedy – the world’s worst refugee crisis in decades.”

Using a birthday to fight heartbreak? That’s truly something to celebrate.

 

Birthday generosity

Author: United Nations Photo / photo on flickr