UNION, NJ – Some Union elementary school students will be the beneficiaries of the generosity of a group of Bedminster eighth-grade students who wanted to find a way to ensure that all kids can celebrate their birthday and make it a special day.
The daughter of Connecticut Farms Elementary School Spanish teacher and Hispanic Heritage Club leader Gina Lisa-Fernandez said she and her friends got the idea when a boy in their school wasn’t celebrating his birthday.
“We were inspired when a new kid at school couldn’t celebrate his birthday,” said Kayla Najera. “We got him a hat, made him a necklace and decorated his locker. He was so happy.” Najera said she saw him out later that same evening and he was still wearing his hat. “We decided to do this for other kids, too,” she said.
The group of friends, including Najera, Christina White, Gracie Bessasparis, Sophie Lopez, Kate Hanratty, Monique Dori, Gabby Galantino, and Madison Lardieri, came up with the idea of the “Birthday Bag”. They solicited donations from families and friends and went shopping. The Fourth-grade Hispanic Heritage Club members at Connecticut Farms School created the birthday cards.
Each “Birthday Bag” contains Funfetti cake mix and frosting, plates, candles, a birthday balloon, a little toy and a homemade card. The girls made enough bags for each of Union’s elementary schools to have ten on hand. Guidance counselors in each of the schools will give them to children they identify as having the need.
“We’ve never had a donation like this before,” said school counselor Ingrid Soares. “This is such a wonderful idea.”