What was your favorite birthday party? Mine wasn’t when I was a child – although I remember those well, especially the one with the magician – my favorites were the parties we threw on the occasions of my daughter’s childhood birthdays!
Recently I reached a major birthday milestone, which was cause for some reflection. Perhaps the most (and some might say only) piece of wisdom I’ve acquired over the years is that it’s important to celebrate the good times with family and friends.
I therefore decided to invite a group of women friends to get together at Thief Wine Shop and Bar in Shorewood to celebrate with me. In lieu of gifts, I requested guests bring some items to pack into birthday bags for area kids, whose families do not have the resources to throw them a birthday party. A small toy, birthday napkins and plates, and candles were lovely additional touches, but each bag had to contain a cake mix and frosting.
Well, if I hadn’t known it already, I certainly have the right group of friends. Everyone responded so generously and we packed over 30 bags for children who participate in programs provided by United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s local agency partners.
“How did you come up with the idea?” I was asked. Well, I didn’t. While working as a Loaned Executive for United Way, I tried to encourage my accounts to participate in volunteer activities. Fortunately, many shared my enthusiasm for collecting items and packing birthday bags, ensuring that local children who may go without on other days are not forgotten on their special day.
So, at this time of year, when our United Way is recruiting for Loaned Executives, I would encourage anyone in transition – between jobs, entering retirement, changing careers, or possibly new to the area, to consider this opportunity. You’ll not only make a difference in the community, but you’ll also get some great ideas on how to throw a party!
Want to throw your own kit-packing party? Contact Jenn Barnard with United Way Volunteer Engagement to get started: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for meaningful work this fall? Learn more about United Way’s Loaned Executive program.