Ottawa 'unbirthday party' celebrates kids left off birthday party guest lists
A special birthday gathering aimed at celebrating children who rarely receive birthday party invitations brought joy to dozens of Ottawa-area children over the weekend.
Over 100 party guests took part in an “unbirthday party” on Friday organized by Friends 4 Kindness. The non-profit organization aims to provide a fun space for children who have trouble making friends -- an important effort for kids like Shaylin Seward, who often invites classmates to her own birthday parties, but doesn’t get many invitations in return.
“You can see, deep down it bothers her,” her mother, Rene Seward, told CTV Ottawa.
According to Seward, ADHD and a learning disability have made it difficult for Shaylin to make friends.
But at Friday’s unbirthday party, Shaylin was able to join dozens of other kids playing games, eating snacks, and mingling under the bright summer sun.
“A lot of these kids are just spending the summer with their families,” said Nicole Callander, president and founder of Friends 4 Kindness, at Friday's event. “They don't have any friends to hang out with, but for today they get to hang out with other children.”
Callandar started the organization after seeing how sad her daughter Kaitlin was when she wasn’t invited to parties.
According to its website, the organization aims to “show the world that kids with disabilities have amazing abilities,” as well as to connect children who may be shy, or have been bullied.
For many kids, it was one of the most exciting days of the summer.
It was all smiles for Maeve Serviss, who played tetherball, blew bubbles and got her face painted at the event. Her mother felt the joy too, watching her daughter have fun.
“It warms my heart,” Melanie Serviss told CTV Ottawa. “It feels really special that she is welcome here, and everyone is here for her in a way.”
The Ottawa unbirthday party was the fourth to be held this year, after similar events in Brantford, Ont., Belleville, Ont., and St. Catharines, Ont., but it is unlikely to be the last.
“The goal of Friends 4 Kindness is to reach as many kids as possible,” the website says,” to celebrate them and let them know they matter.”