Birthday celebration a time to help others

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Salisbury Academy’s youngest students celebrated their classmates’ birthdays this month by giving to other children.
A quarterly tradition, the junior kindergarten and kindergarten classes celebrate students’ birthdays by having a giving party. During these parties, students bring gifts for a designated local community agency and learn about the mission.
“These parties teach our students the importance of giving to and caring for others,” said junior kindergarten teacher Sandy Jordan.
This quarter, teachers select Footprints in the Community, a nonprofit organization committed to increasing community activity participation of families of children with special needs. Footprints in the Community leaders are planning their second annual therapy-based summer camp, which requires donations of art and craft supplies for fine motor activities.
Students made water colors during the party to donate to the camp, along with the pile of gifts filled with art supplies they brought in for the party. Jordan also read “We’ll Paint the Octopus Red” by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, a book that teaches children about Down syndrome through a 6-year-old character’s experience with her little brother.
“This was a great community group for our students to celebrate with because the gifts and activities were ones that they enjoy and can relate to,” said junior kindergarten assistant teacher Penny Moss.
Dr. Ashley Deaton, co-founder and president of Footprints in the Community, spoke to the students at the beginning of the party about how children with special needs are just like other boys and girls and told them about the summer camp. “The gifts given by the Salisbury Academy children will help us to offer a greater variety of experiences for our campers this summer, said Deaton. “We can broaden and expand our hands-on activities based on these wonderful gifts. The children at Salisbury Academy were definitely excited about the party and it is so heartwarming to see them so excited about giving to other children.”
Other giving party community groups have included troops serving overseas, Faithful Friends, Rowan Helping Ministries and others.