At one of our February family shelter parties, we noticed a birthday boy who was very clingy to his mom and extremely shy. In talking with the mom, she said that since they moved to the shelter, he's been very withdrawn and a "frowny boy". Even at his own birthday party it took him awhile to start to warm up. As the party progressed, you could see he was staring to allow himself to have fun. At the ended of the party, all the kids sang happy birthday and they all ate cake and ice-cream. We could see a smile breaking through.
As the volunteers were getting ready to leave, his mom pulled one of the volunteers aside to say thank you. She mentioned that one of the gifts was the only gift he had Christmas list. Her son was heartbroken and she had to explain that she was unable to get it for him that year. She said he was so truly happy that the big birthday gift was the one he had been hoping and praying for. He whispered to his mom, "My prayers were heard".
It was great to see huge happy smile on his face and tears of joy in his mom's eyes. His mom said he looked like a different child than the one she brought to the party. He wasn't the frowny, clingy boy we saw hiding behind his mom, when the party started.
He was now bright, smiling, laughing and playing with other kids.
So many times, we hear that a child's birthday party from Birthday Dreams create a lasting memory and a turning point for the child being celebrated. It helps by providing hope and joy during a series of disappointments and a difficult time in their lives.