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10 Year Old Starts School-wide Donation Drive for Volunteers of America’s Brightening Birthdays Program

At the suggestion of 10 year old Nina DiMarco, Seton Catholic School’s 4th grade class put together a donation drive to support Volunteers of America’s Brightening Birthdays, a program that provides birthday celebrations for children staying at VOA’s guest house family shelter.

The Guest House is a 14 unit emergency family shelter that is one of only two shelters in Rochester that allows families facing homelessness to stay together while seeking permanent affordable housing. Every month, Volunteers of America Upstate New York enlists the help of community volunteers to ensure that children staying at The Guest House can still have a birthday party.

After hearing about Brightening Birthdays, DiMarco brought the idea of a donation drive to the attention of her teacher Ms. Fragale, which later led to the class project. The class created posters to put up around the school, and a flyer that went home to all parents for donations such as party decorations, snacks, birthday cake, games and presents.

When a family is combating homelessness, they do not always have the time or the means to provide a birthday for their children. Brightening Birthdays was started to take the pressure off the parents and allow their children to experience a birthday during this difficult time. Donations such as those organized by Nina DiMarco and Seton Catholic School are instrumental to the success of the program.