Recently, I have started to do work with Spare Change News – a Cambridge based street newspaper, committed to covering the topics of homelessness, poverty, resistance and culture in the Boston area and empowering homeless and impoverished citizens through employment as newspaper vendors. Last week the paper sent me along with a writer Haley Hamilton to Newton, MA to visit a wonderful organization called Birthday Wishes, which organizes birthday parties for homeless children. We met with Lisa Vasiloff, a cofounder and executive director of Birthday Wishes, who lights up and smiles every time she talks about her organization or children it serves.
From the NGO’s website www.birthdaywishes.org: “Founded in 2002 as a volunteer organization serving one local shelter, Birthday Wishes has expanded its program to serve more than 200 shelters and transitional living facilities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Long Island, New York. ” The organization believes that birthday parties bring homeless kids joy, lasting memories and contribute to self-esteem. This year Birthday Wishes anticipates that as many as 34,000 children will attend its parties.
Here are some images from our visit. You can read more about Birthday Wishes in this week’s issue of the Spare Change News or online.