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.”

Hug me. It’s My Birthday.

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Photo credit: Kalexanderson via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

 

In another area of my life, I curate news about #kindness and #generosity for @notevery1sucks. Recently I came across this Random Act of Kindness with a birthday link. It’s sweet enough to share:

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Widower 82-year-old Dan Peterson was in the grocery store six months after the death of his wife when a four-year-old girl named Norah approached him. The girl’s mother told CBS that the little one tapped Dan, a stranger, on the shoulder and blithely announced: “Hi, old person. It’s my birthday today.” She then promptly demanded a hug.

Dan happily complied, and Norah then asked her mother to take her picture with her new friend. Dan was moved and says he told her, “This is the first time, for quite a while, that I’ve been this happy.” To this day Norah visits Dan once a week.

This is a lovely example of how easy it is to bring happiness to others with a small connection. What if we all took a page from the book of a four-year-old and made more of an effort to make people feel loved?

Of course, we can’t all demand hugs on our birthday — it’s not socially acceptable and after a certain age is no longer cute — but this is an extension of the idea of doing kindness for others on your own special day.

Birthdays are about making each individual feel special — even if you are taking the opportunity to treat yourself better for that one day. It’s almost as if Norah read my post, Birthday Kindness Pass It On . Those feeling generous on their special day might also get some ideas from Donating a Birthday.

Birthday Kindness — Pass It On.

Regular readers of this blog will already know how much I love reporting on people using their birthdays to be generous and share love. #bdaygenerosity is a great thing to see whether it is someone hosting a birthday donation drive for a local food bank or animal shelter or an organization making sure that underprivileged or hospitalized children get to celebrate their special day.

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So, allow me to share another thoughtful act done by a father and daughter in England. A 32-year-old Dad and his 7-year-old daughter together decided to mark their birthdays by performing 39 random acts of kindness including:

• Hiding treats for the Dad’s co-workers and emailing them on the Dad’s birthday to look in his desk to claim their rewards for giving him the day off

• Writing thank-you letters to teachers

• Picking up trash at a park

• Registering for organ donation

• Giving art supplies to a children’s hospital and books to a children’s library

• Dropping chocolates off at local police and fire stations

• Donating to a homeless shelter, a mental-health program, and a nonprofit helping wild birds

My personal favorites were their leaving pennies by a fountain for people to make wishes and leaving coins by kids’ rides to enable other children to take a surprise spin.

Today.com reports the duo is already planning on doing 41 acts of kindness next year. Maybe someone reading this blog will be prompted to do the same?

Just a little note to say…

imagesI’ll admit, I’m a little “het up” as a I write this. Today, I came across someone offering advice on how to disable the birthdays function from Google Calendar.The author writes, When you’re out in a restaurant and the invariable singing of the birthday song commences, you join in to serenade the stranger, right? (That’s not just me is it?).

Maybe I’m not in an industry where a simple, polite email addressing the person’s birthday would be frowned upon. Why it could even be brand building as you’d be known as the client/customer/salesperson who cares enough to help the person celebrate their special day.

Or maybe it’s the effort involved in writing the email that is the worry? Let me offer this assistance:

“Hi _______,

I see on Google Calendar that it’s your birthday today. I wanted to take a moment to wish you a great one! Have a wonderful birthday.

Your name (complete with witty/pithy/professional added signature line).”

Now go ahead, share the birthday love.

Frosty’s First Words & Us

Rudolph, The Grinch, Charlie Brown and his hopeless Christmas tree, the Miser brothers (my FAVORITE), and Frosty are all making their reappearances this time of year. My son loves Frosty.

This year I heard Frosty’s “first words” in a new light because of this blog. When Frosty is first brought to life he pipes up with “Happy Birthday!” How wonderful! I love the idea of someone starting out living with these celebratory words. Imagine if we all started our days embracing the happiness and good feeling we have for others when we say those two magical words.

This reminded me of a picture a friend sent me with encouragement to treat everyone as if it’s their birthday. In looking for the image again, I found the words attributed to Kid President. His uplifting & funny video endorsing the idea is worth watching:

Give someone a pep talk. Share a corn dog. Say Happy Birthday!

Donating a Birthday

When I go to lunch at my son’s school one of the typical topics of conversation is birthday parties. Who is having one. Who will be invited. Where the party will be held. What awesome presents the excited child can expect. This conversation happens even when no one at the table has a birthday party for another six months!

Yet there are kids who do not have a home at which to celebrate a birthday. It’s not that their families don’t want to give the child a special day — they can’t.

That’s where a well-intentioned organization such as Birthday Blessings comes in. According to their site, their goal “is to bring joy, recognition and support to homeless children and families during difficult times in their lives.” Birthday Blessings is local to Charlotte where I live. A student in one of my classes researching a non-profit introduced me to the organization. Then, my son’s school hosted a Birthday Blessings party, too. What a joy it is to help homeless children celebrate and feel special!

Another organization with a similar goal that I recently encountered is Celebration Cakes Ministry in Kentucky which bakes birthday cakes for children referred by social workers and other agencies.

Is there a birthday-themed organization where you live? I’d love to learn about more of these great ideas!

Profile photos by: D Sharon Pruitt of http://www.pinksherbet.com

Photo by: D Sharon Pruitt of http://www.pinksherbet.com