When Priya turned 8 this year, her family had a party for her with her extended family. Grandparents, aunts and uncles came to celebrate and she received many presents for which she was thankful. Since her birthday falls on New Year’s Day, it’s hard to include her school friends in a birthday party, so her parents arranged for a pizza party for her classmates once school had resumed after the holidays. But even though she was grateful for all these efforts, something had changed for this perceptive girl.
Over Christmas, Priya had been involved with other fundraising events and enjoyed the opportunity to help others. She had also been to a friend’s “toonie” birthday party: a party where each guest brings two dollars instead of a gift, with one dollar going to a charity of the child’s choice and the other dollar going towards one gift for the child. Her friend raised funds for the Foodbank. All these experiences got Priya thinking that she didn’t really need all the gifts she’d received and that she’d rather do something to benefit others by raising money for a charity. Her parents, Tania and Amanjit decided to honour this wish in a special way.
“My husband and I decided to have a surprise party for her in February,” Tania explains. “I sent out invitations to her entire class with the help of her teacher. None of the children told Priya!”
The invitation encouraged her friends to bring a cash donation rather than a gift, with half the money going to charity of Priya’s choice and the other half going to a larger gift for Priya. The surprise party was held at the local community pool and was a great success.
When it came time to choose the charity, Priya remembered what she had learned at a recent assembly at school. A presentation had been made about Matthew’s House, which supports families by providing quality care for children who have complex care needs. When she remembered how Matthew’s House makes a difference to families, she knew she’d chosen her charity.
“I thought of Matthew’s House because I thought that they might need money to help the children.” Priya, generous birthday girl.
The party raised over $200 for Matthew’s House and Priya is thrilled to be able to support children and families.
“It feels really good,” she says, adding that other children should consider doing something creative with their birthday party to support a charity.