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Kidsday: Spreading birthday cheer

I found a great website called Birthday Wishes. My friends and I decided to do a birthday wishes drive. What we did is collect things you would use at a birthday party, such as candles, balloons, party decorations, cake, toys and much, much more. You could even donate online by going to the website or you could volunteer.

The mission statement of Birthday Wishes is to provide birthday parties for homeless children. It believes that all children, regardless of their living situation, should celebrate their birthdays joyfully, surrounded by family, friends and others who care.

As it reads on its website: "Birthday Wishes brings the magic of a birthday party to thousands of homeless children each year. Founded in 2002 as a volunteer organization serving one local shelter, Birthday Wishes has expanded its program to serve more than 165 shelters and transitional living facilities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Long Island, New York. Our goal is to provide birthday parties to all homeless children in Massachusetts and to make our model available to homeless family programs nationwide."

I think this is a great organization because all kids should have great birthdays. I wanted to help, because my parents always gave me a great birthday, and now I can help give kids who are less fortunate a great birthday, too.

What it took to get dad to stop smoking

My dad smoked for 16 years. He was 16 when he started. When I was about 8 years old, I made a bet with him. The bet was: If you stop smoking, I'll stop sucking my thumb. So we made a deal. It was hard for both of us.

My dad had to take these pills to try to make himself stop, but they didn't work. I also tried everything I could; I put hot sauce on my thumb, but I just licked it off. I tried bad-tasting or bad-smelling nail polish, but that didn't work. So I really didn't stop sucking my thumb till I was 9 years old. My dad kept telling me he stopped smoking, but on Thanksgiving he was outside smoking with his boss. I knew because I could smell the smoke on his breath. Then, I had to keep reminding him to stop. Finally he stopped. I was so proud of him, and he was proud of me.

--Kidsday Reporter Lauren Washko

CLASS OF THE WEEK: Erin O'Connor's fifth-grade class, DICKINSON AVENUE SCHOOL, East Northport


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