Keegan recently celebrated his 5th birthday by inviting family and friends to a local indoor playground for an afternoon of fun. And while that may not be that unusual, Keegan made some choices that made his party quite unique.
At most birthday parties, guests are expected to bring a gift for the birthday boy but Keegan and his family decided to make a special request of his guests.
“We invited all the guests to bring two ‘twoonies’,” says his mom, Saranna. “One ‘twoonie’ went towards a gift for Keegan and the other was designated for a charity of Keegan’s choice, which was Matthew’s House.”
Matthew’s House supports families by providing quality care to children with special needs so that their parents can get a much-needed break. Keegan met a boy at StrongStart (an early-learning drop-in program) whose brother visits Matthew’s House. When his parents asked him ‘who do you want to help?’ he gave it some thought and narrowed it down to two things: he wanted to help animals or he wanted to help children. He loves animals and often chooses to support the SPCA but this time around he thought of children who live with complex care needs.
“Keegan has met the boy’s brother and so when we talked about a charity that helps children, it brought Matthew’s House to mind,” Saranna says.
As parents, Saranna says that she and her husband Mike, try to instill acts of kindness in Keegan. This was one creative way to make a difference and to give to something that had a personal connection. The birthday party itself was a great success, with guests enjoying their time together and raising $50 for Matthew’s House.
“He feels pretty proud of himself,” his mom says. “We’re proud of him too, that he is willing to include others and do something nice for other children.”
Laura Ullock, who is the resource development assistant for Matthew’s House, is always moved when she is introduced to children who make a difference for other children.
“What Keegan did was so generous. It is so wonderful to see children making a difference for other families,” she says. “We hope others will follow his initiative and remember the children at Matthew’s House in this unique way!”
You can make a difference to families too – choose to pledge your birthday, anniversary or other special event to Matthew’s House and raise funds to support children and families.