By LAURYN MCNAIR
Professor Jane Paley and her class at Sacred Heart University are working to keep birthdays an exciting and special time of year for young children. Paley believes every child should have something to look forward to on their big day.
Paley teaches Advertising and PR Practical Applications, a service-learning course that includes the creation and execution of a campaign to benefit a local population’s needs.
“When we learned was that many families cannot afford a birthday cake for their children, we knew we had a mission! We have put together a ‘Birthday Bag’ containing cake mix, icing, candles, and a small gift,” said Paley.
With this, Paley and her class started their Birthday Bag drive at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission Women and Children’s Shelter.
“This semester, guided by SHU Campus Ministry and Volunteer Initiatives, we met with a representative from the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. We were all moved by the extent of the poverty right next door,” said Paley.
“Children in the Women and Children’s Shelter will receive a bag for their birthday, allowing them to have a birthday they never thought they could,” said Gabriella Ruvo, a junior in Paley’s class.
The class is hoping the service project will reach as many people as possible in both the Sacred Heart and Bridgeport communities.
“There are many worthy service programs here at SHU. We wanted to create something new and incorporate a small act of loving kindness with a sense of fun,” said Paley.
Paley and her class would like to keep this service project all about the children in need.
“Donors can write a little note on the bag to personalize it,” said Paley.
They would like to make each bag as special as possible.
“We are asking students, faculty, staff, parents and mass-goers to donate $5 for each bag,” said Paley.
“Doing something so small can make such a big impact on the lives of these children, which is all we could possibly hope for through this campaign. Everyone deserves to have a special birthday,” said Ruvo.
Paley and her class will be holding table times outside of 63’s and promoting it at sporting events along with the weekly masses in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
“Come on,” said Paley, “what kid doesn’t love birthday cake? Shouldn’t every kid have one?”