The Best Birthday Gift

A Houston teenager uses her birthday every year to fund charities that touch her heart.  This year, Lauren chose us.

Each year, Lauren picks a different charity, researches it, and then presents the charity to her family and friends for donations in lieu of presents.  To top it all off, her giving parents agreed to match all money gifted, resulting in a $1,300 donation.  We are amazed by this 15 year old’s selflessness and generosity, and grateful for the support of her family and friends.

Please read the touching email sent by Lauren to her family and learn how GiGi’s embodies her values and desire to help those in need.  Most importantly, our desires to spread the message of global acceptance for all.

 

Dear Family,

Hi Everyone! I hope all is well! As many of you know, every year for my birthday I like to choose an organization to donate to, in replace of gifts. 2020 has been crazy, heartbreaking, and tough for so many people. I know I have had some let downs and disappointments, but obviously that cannot compare to what some people are going through every day. This year, I knew it was going to be more challenging to find an organization, since many are still closed due to Covid-19. I wanted to find an organization that touched my heart and really spoke to me. After looking through many different organizations across the board, I finally found one that I felt had already made an impact on my life just by listening to their story and mission.

Some people may know that I am very interested in working with special education and children with disabilities when I get older. I am currently taking American Sign Language at Stratford High School, and plan to continue through all four years. I participated in the 2020 Special Olympics earlier this year, which changed my life and completely changed my perspective. I really have not met anyone more kind, hardworking, and compassionate than those kids.

For my birthday this year, I have decided to donate towards “GiGi’s Playhouse”, an organization that changes the lives of those with Down syndrome. GiGi’s Playhouse provides lifetime support to those with Down syndrome. So many children with down syndrome as well as other disabilities are constantly being judged based on their physical appearance or behavior. Sadly, I have witnessed this at my schools, and it makes me so upset. GiGi’s Playhouse accepts all people, and embraces their differences. They provide free educational, therapeutic, career development, and global acceptance opportunities. Through GiGi’s Playhouse, children are able to learn academically, as well as lessons that will help them in their future, such as cooking, fitness, speech, etc.  So many people with Down syndrome are denied the ability to have a “normal life”. They aren’t taught the basic skills needed for life or any sort of education needed for college, jobs, and the real world. I believe that GiGi’s Playhouse gives these children and young adults this opportunity.

Lastly, GiGi’s Playhouse focuses on Global Acceptance. So many people with down syndrome are not accepted by others and society, which is so wrong. They are judged and viewed differently, based on things they cannot control. However, GiGi’s Playhouse has a new innovative approach called “generationG.” GenerationG is a campaign that promotes those living with Down syndrome.

All of these programs are amazing, however, even though they are free to customers, they are not free for the company. With your help, I hope to raise money for GiGi’s Playhouse, so they can continue their mission to help these children and their families. I hope to raise money to either donate or put towards their “Wish List” on Amazon. I have a passion for helping special needs children, and I hope that when COVID calms down I can go volunteer at a GiGi’s Playhouse Center. I will attach the GiGi’s Playhouse website, as well as some additional videos and pictures, If you would like to learn more about this organization. GiGi’s playhouse transforms and changes lives one day at a time. God created each one of us perfectly. We are his creation. So, let’s love and respect all of his children! Thank you guys for always supporting me, and donating towards each organization. The best birthday gift I could ever ask for is helping someone in need. The smiles of these children is better than any gift I could ever receive.

-Lauren

1 Comment

  1. Amy on January 28, 2021 at 8:21 am

    What an amazing and inspiring story! A HUGE thank you to Lauren, her family and friends for believing in GiGi’s Playhouse Houston and furthering our mission.

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