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2 min read

How Volunteers Made a Teen's Birthday Extra Special

How Volunteers Made a Teen's Birthday Extra Special

Birthdays can be a time of joy and celebration for most children, but it can be a hard and emotional time for those in foster care. Children in foster care often face a great deal of uncertainty and instability, which can make birthdays particularly challenging. Teenagers, in particular, can see another birthday as an increased risk of aging out of the system without having the support of a family.  
This month, Yessenia, a lively teenager in foster care, shared with our team that she wanted to celebrate her 17th birthday with her siblings. This could seem like a simple wish, but it is not an easy feat when siblings don’t live together. To make Yessenia’s wish a reality, we called on our Neighborhood, a MARE volunteer program that brings together individuals who want to positively impact the lives of foster care youth. We called, and they answered!  

A few of our neighbors donated, and a couple more went the extra mile and volunteered their time. Stephanie Tudino, a crafty superstar, was responsible for the decorations and even discovered she has a knack for making balloon arches! Brittney Milligan went all out to create the party favors. But MARE neighbors were not the only ones who wanted to be a part of Yessenia’s special day. 


When we first asked Yessenia what an ideal celebration would look like, she enthusiastically said: “I’d love to celebrate at Dave and Buster’s!” Who doesn’t love this all-in-one entertainment destination filled with food, games, and great fun? Not only do they know how to show you a good time, but they are the kindest bunch. When we asked 
Dave and Buster’s in Woburn if they would welcome Yessenia and her family and friends, they didn’t hesitate to say yes. From a buffet to a private room and personalized decorations, they made sure Yessenia’s crew had everything they needed to have a great time.  


IMG_8133And, of course, a birthday party is only complete with cake and presents. Yessenia's wish for an anime cake was fulfilled by Cake4Kids with an impressive cookies and cream cake. While the Gifted Crate, a non-profit organization that provides customized birthday presents to children and teenagers in foster care, created a special crate for Yessenia, filled with everything Naruto. 

This memorable celebration was made possible by the generosity and kindness of volunteers, local businesses, and non-profit organizations who came together to give Yessenia a birthday to remember. While birthdays can be challenging for children in foster care, events like this show that everyone in the community can play a role in bringing moments of joy into their lives. 
If you would like to be involved in community initiatives like this, join the Neighborhood!

"It was so much fun, I want to do more! It was the highlight of my week." - Stephanie Tudino, Neighborhood volunteer.