giving back - the joy of birthdays and bubbles / by Ashley Brown

Many of us remember our favorite childhood birthday party--whether it was themed around a favorite cartoon character, sport or a particular stage in life. Everything from the cake to the decor was carefully planned out by mom or dad, and our friends shared in the excitement of unwrapping the pile of gifts. One would never think that a child would go without such an experience...except Fazana Saleem-Ismail, the founder of Jazzy Sun Birthdays--ABP’s January recipient of our 2012 monthly charitable contributions. Jazzy Sun Birthdays aims to put smiles on the faces of homeless children by making them feel like kings and queens for a day. Many of the children they serve know first-hand what it is like not to have a place of their own and possibly have had their parents struggle to find the source of their next meal. Saleem-Ismail firmly believed that helping children who have been exposed to a great deal of hardship experience some of the simple joys of childhood is critically important, and thus established an organization which hosts monthly birthday parties for children whose birthday may otherwise go uncelebrated, including cake, candles, rousing “happy birthdays," decorations, and presents.

The joy on the faces of the Jazzy Sun Birthday children is what keeps the organization and its volunteers going as well as the many monetary and gift-in-kind donations that are provided by generous individuals and businesses throughout the Capital Region. It was a recent party that reminded all involved that what they are doing is making a difference in the lives of many children.

"As we were cleaning up the party room, my friend told me to look outside at the playground,” said Saleem-Ismail. "EVERY SINGLE CHILD who was playing outside was happily blowing bubbles, one of the items contained in the goody bags that each had received. The happiness evident in their smiles and the fact that they were being carefree meant the world to me and told me that the project was succeeding in its primary goal."

We are proud to have Jazzy Sun Birthdays helping children and families in our region, and are thrilled to contribute a portion of our January proceeds to Jazzy Sun Birthdays. To learn more about their organization, visit them on Facebook.

Note: ABP’s monthly charitable contributions are based on the proceeds from prints, products, and sessions. Any session booked with a deposit received will be applicable to that month’s charitable organization, though the session may be held in the proceeding month.