Do you remember when you were a kid and your birthday felt like a holiday? It wasn’t just about turning another year older, it was about the entire day being set aside just for you. As you get older, it obviously lessens, but that twinge of wanting to celebrate your special day never fully goes away. Being a kid is phenomenal, you have the smallest amount of worry, no bills, and the hardest thing to hit you is going to school. Play time is guaranteed and happiness is frequent.
For some children.
Did you know that “each year, about 3 million people in the U.S. find themselves homeless. Families make up 40% of the homeless population and approximately 1 in 3 people experiencing homelessness is under the age of 18 and 1 in 6 people is under the age of 6.”
For homeless children, special days and holidays are hard to come by. They carry the burden of worry for their families and with them. School becomes an escape and play time is almost impossible. But, like all children, happiness is still craved. “The
effects of homelessness are different for each person. Children who experience homelessness are more likely to experience hunger, get sick, and miss school than other children. Homelessness also takes away many things we often don’t think about -a place to get ready for school, a door with a lock, an address, and the ability to have a friend over for a play date.”
CASA of CGS wanted to help make sure these children understood that despite their circumstances, they’re still very special and that their birthday is every bit a day set aside just for them. So, we joined the “Do Something.org Birthday Mail” campaign. We invited our CASA of CGS family to join us in making cards to help
make less than fortunate children have a surprise reminder that they are just as miraculous and special as anyone else. Our main goal was to ensure that each child and teenager who has to spend their birthday in a homeless shelter received a birthday card.
We made over 360 cards! The cards went to every participating shelter in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.
Christian Miguel, a teacher at the Salem Special Service School District and one of our CASAs, rounded up his class and other teachers from the school to become involved in the campaign. Together they made 290 cards! Christian had his three young nieces participate as well. Our Social Media editor, Hillary Nichols, scooped up her little man, Hayden and got to work creating masterpieces for the birthday girls and boys.
Lakewood teacher, Danielle Corso, loved the idea behind the campaign and
jumped on the opportunity to involve her class in the project. Hannah Nichols and her friends from the band, “Despite My Pride” also felt it was an important mission and made cards during band practice one night. I, too, felt an overwhelming need to participate and put my boys together and made cards with them for the children.
Because of the members of our CASA of CGS family and all of the others who participated, we were able to make birthday cards that will no doubt brighten the day for a birthday boy or girl. Compassion and creativity are meant to be shared. Thank you all for dedicating your time and love in an effort to make a difference in a child’s life!
Thoughts, comments, questions? Email me, JennKaysen@gmail.com
Become part of the CASA of CGS family!
If you’re interested in learning more about CASA of CGS, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cumberland County ranked last place in Child Welfare in New Jersey. Let’s stand up for our children and do something about it! Visit www.wespeakupforchildren.org for more information and follow us on Facebook for daily updates and information.
Do you know of a Community Superhero?
Help CASA of CGS recognize the effort put forth by them to improve our community! Email Jennifer Kaysen at Jennkaysen@gmail.com. Be sure to share this post with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter to reach a bit further and find our Superheroes!