It can be easy to forget that many children do not have the luxury of birthday presents each year, even just a few miles away from Westford. It’s a tall task to fix, but two local high school students believe they can help.
Abby Mills and Julia Waszak are now juniors at Westford Academy and leaders of a project called the Birthday Box: an initiative to help bring birthday presents to disadvantaged children in Lowell.
So far, the two girls have gathered presents for 50 children across six schools in Lowell in associating with Catie’s Closet, a group that helps provide basic necessities to poor students living throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
“A lot of these kids don’t have socks or shoes, so for these parents, getting birthday presents for kids isn’t even on their radar,” says Mills. “We hope we can give these kids an extra day of happiness.”
So far the pair have focused specifically on birthdays rather than other traditional gift giving times such as Christmas due to not just the wide array of cultures these children come from, but also the fact that birthdays are also a source of self-esteem.
“This is a way to branch out to a lot of different communities,” says Mills. “A birthday is a day just about you. It’s a chance to tell the kid that they are special during that day.”
Although it’s too soon to tell whether the Birthday Box will become a lasting tradition passed on to future generations of Westford Academy students, more help is still needed according to the girls.