I had the pleasure of meeting Sheliza Kassam back in 2011, while working on an Avenue Magazine story about youth and philanthropy (“Kids Give The Darndest Things”, Dec. 2011).
Only 14 years old at the time, Kassam had already done an impressive array of charity work. At 12 years old, she had “donated” her birthday to Inn From the Cold, waking up at 5 a.m. to serve breakfast to homeless families.
“It really made an impact on me,” she said, reflecting on the experience. “I could actually see that it was in my hands to make a difference.”
Since we last talked, Kassam, a student at Western Canada High School, has expanded on that experience by founding Children’s Birthday Miracles, a non-profit organization that throws birthday parties for kids and youth living at Inn From the Cold. The organization does one party a month with cake, presents, goodie-bags and entertainment.
The next party is set to take place Oct. 18, 2013 and will feature a Halloween theme. CBM is currently accepting donations of Halloween treats, decorations and new costumes for the party, as well as presents for eight kids ranging in age from 3 to 17. Donations can also be made via a partnership with retailer Halloween Alley – customers can send their receipts to Children’s Birthday Miracles and Halloween Alley will donate back 10 per cent of the total spent to the charity.
For more information about how to contribute to the Halloween Birthday Celebration at Inn From the Cold or about Children’s Birthday Miracles, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-714-8273.