Sonya Lamb and Ali Micek feel that every child should be celebrated, especially homeless children on their birthdays. This belief led to the creation of The Celebration Project, a nonprofit organization (they are in the process of getting the official status) that hosts birthday parties at homeless shelters around the state.
“I was looking for something to do as a volunteer, but I didn’t want it be another coat drive, I wanted to do something more,” Lamb said. “I prayed about it and committed myself to whatever answer I got. Two days later, my mom called with this idea and I mulled it over for about three days. Then I called Ali, and about half way through the idea, she said, ‘I’m in.’”
Since March, the duo has hosted ten parties for children in four local shelters. Most of the items are donated by the community. Zurchers has agreed to donate all the decorations and each location will collect donated gifts for the Celebration Project.
Big Daddy’s Pizza donates the food while other businesses donate their time and talents. “We provide a birthday party for these kids who may otherwise never have one,” Micek said.
“We provide pizza, soda, and party bags, and we always have entertainment. We go to the community and find magicians and face painters. All the kids get cake and ice cream, then we line the birthday kids up in the front of the room and sing Happy Birthday to them as they blow out their special cupcake and make a wish. Each birthday child also gets a gift bought just for them… from dolls to footballs and non-violent games.”
Micek works with the shelter before the party to find out how many kids are currently residing there and what the birthday children, ranging in age from 2 to 17, would like as a gift. Often times they are simple requests, like a box of crayons with no broken ones.
Kathy and her son, are currently live in a crisis center, after escaping decades of abuse from family members and love interests. She considers herself a survivor, not a victim. She reached out to Heaven’s Cupcakes in hopes of being able to celebrate her son’s birthday this June.
“I reached out to Heaven’s Cupcakes because I wanted to finally celebrate my son’s birthday. Last year we were not in a place to really celebrate him,” she said. “They connected me with the Celebration Project. The party was amazing. My son received an Iron Man figurine, a large box of assorted playdough and a bubble blowing dog, some of his favorite things. They decorated so nicely and they took time with every kid to show them they were special. They really give a mother hope.”
“Both Ali and I have small children and it’s hard to find ways to show them first-hand how to give, but they come to the parties with us and help. We have whole families who help at parties. We live in an amazing community. We only have to call people once. It’s always the first baker or the first magician who agrees to help.”
These parties are typically not small. They recently threw a party for 150 kids at the Road Home.
For more information, to donate or volunteer, call 801-597-7575 or visit thecelebrationproject.org.