A child’s birthday is a very special day!
A child’s birthday is a very special day. Its acknowledgement is important to the development of self-esteem, and we know that self-esteem begins at home, and that healthy self-esteem is critical to a child’s ability to develop and learn successfully.
One in five American children live in poverty. For children who are living in poverty and/or homeless, birthdays pass with little or no celebration. Many children do not believe they have a birthday, or that they deserve a birthday, since it is never celebrated.
You can help to change this.
In the United States there are more children living in poverty then senior citizens. Despite its wealth, the United States leads the developed world when it comes to the proportion of children living in poverty. Children belonging to ethnic minorities are particularly at risk, with child poverty rates ranging between 40 and 70 percent among all children in some states. For children growing up in impoverished communities, a birthday celebration is too often an unrealized dream. A birthday should be a time of celebration, but for one in five American children, the day may pass with no party or presents.
Children living in poverty not only miss out on the opportunity to celebrate their birthday like more privileged children, but they often begin their lives with a diminished sense of self-worth. Bringing communities together through celebrations is an excellent way to develop greater social cohesion and enables children and their families to strengthen bonds with other members of the community. Party customs also reinforce cultural values. A child living in poverty is two to three years behind a privileged child by third grade!
Experiencing something as simple as a memorable birthday helps children feel like they belong and holds great social and personal significance. “Children, like adults, are driven to seek explanations for personal, meaningful events,” in a recent study at the University of Texas, was published in Psychology Today. ” To children, the annual experience of the seemingly sudden change from one age to another is of great significance.”
For many Native American, African American and Hispanic children, conditions can rival those of developing countries: high rates of unemployment and underemployment, dependence upon government assistance, lack of access to quality education and positive activities and unstable home environments. These conditions lead children to drop out, turn off and fade from reaching anywhere near their potential as adults.