This time of year is full of celebrations: weddings, graduations, reunions, the start of summer.
At Family & Youth Initiative, June also brings the annual birthday party, celebrating the birthdays of all DCFYI teens.
This tradition goes back to the start of our program. We knew that many children in foster care don't get special dinners or cake, let alone birthday parties. While we couldn't do an individual party for every teen, we could do one big celebration. We have a lot of fun with competitive games (if you've never played musical chairs with us you may not know it's a contact sport), dinner, cake, and gifts.
It may sound odd that a teen would play these party games or even celebrate his or her birthday weeks or months away from the actual day. The reality is that every child (teen or not) wants to be seen and to have his or her special days honored.
Imagine seeing that other children get birthday parties and you don't. And then imagine how good it feels to have your own party and your name on the birthday cake. We know how much it matters when teens ask that their slice be cut with all of their name.
We wish every child birthdays that include people who will celebrate him or her and are grateful to those who support our efforts to celebrate birthdays for DCFYI teens while they are in foster care.