Fostering Joy: “Birthday Palooza” Returns on Saturday, April 13, 2024

Mega birthday party brings together hundreds of siblings separated by foster care on one unforgettable day

LOS ANGELES, April 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — If you want to do big things, you need great partners. That’s why a collaborative of non-profit organizations is joining forces to throw the second ever “Birthday Palooza,” a celebratory day-long event that reunites hundreds of siblings separated by foster care. Foster Love, Kidspace Children’s Museum, Make Good Inc., and Hope in a Suitcase will partner for the event at Kidspace in Pasadena on Saturday, April 13, 2024, 10:00 AM.

“Siblings in foster care might be separated for a variety of reasons, including the need for individualized care and placement, limited availability of suitable foster homes that can accommodate multiple children, and concerns related to the safety and welfare of the siblings,” explains Gianna Dahlia Mulkay, Executive Director of Foster Love, the non-profit organization devoted to improving how children experience the foster care system in America. “We know that visitation time, including time with siblings, is critical to maintaining family bonds, supporting child well-being, and increasing reunification rates. Birthday Palooza is a joyful way to reunite siblings, strengthen their bonds, and create lasting memories together.”

“It’s a giant birthday bash, a complete museum takeover,” says Kidspace CEO Lisa Clements. “Kidspace is a nonprofit children’s museum, and we understand the vital role of joy in children’s lives as an engine for learning, self-expression, and meaningful connection. Birthday Palooza helps biological siblings separated in the foster system celebrate one of the family milestones they miss the most; sharing birthdays together. It’s an extraordinary event built on the combined talents and shared values of this remarkable partnership.”

For this one special day, Kidspace transforms into a giant party space where it’s everyone’s birthday, complete with food, singing, cupcakes, and gifts. And because every great party has a festive theme, this year’s Birthday Palooza is “Dino Romp & Stomp,” with special decorations, a Dino Disco, photo ops, and additional Jurassic surprises. Each child will receive birthday gifts and a backpack full of books put together by Hope in a Suitcase and Make Good, Inc.

“Every child deserves be celebrated!” said Marsha Austen, Executive Director of Hope in a Suitcase “We personalize the gifts, so everyone goes home with an individually wrapped, amazing present specifically chosen to fit each child’s interests.”

The kids also take home a backpack full of books. “Before the children head home, they each get to pick out a high-quality backpack and select books based on their age and interest,” said Ruth Stalford, Executive Director of Make Good.

Throughout the museum, children will play, create, explore, invent, build, climb, stomp, and splash. Nearly a dozen photographers will be on hand to capture the moments of sibling reunions, and other memorable activities so the kids participating can leave with a keepsake of the day.  The event culminates in a giant “Happy Birthday” sing-along, complete with cupcakes and presents, and of course many happy birthday hugs.

“Youth in foster care deserve the same opportunities as all children to feel happy, to be appreciated as unique individuals, and spend time with their siblings,” continues Mulkay, “sadly, these cheerful moments often get neglected in foster care, particularly during occasions as significant as birthdays. Birthday Palooza at Kidspace holds great significance for foster youth to celebrate both their own and their siblings’ birthdays while creating joyful memories and establishing stronger bonds with each other.”

Siblings will be coming together from across LA County thanks to the partnership of several foster family adoption agencies, child welfare nonprofits and LA County Department of Children & Family Services. The event also brings together more than one hundred community volunteers to chaperone and host small groups of sibling sets at the event to ensure each child has a memorable experience. “Last year, a couple who volunteered at the event was so inspired by the experience that they became foster parents themselves with the hope of reuniting siblings in their own home,” reports Mulkay. “That’s the best birthday wish that could ever come true.”

Birthday Palooza at Kidspace is made possible by individual donors and support from Pritzker Foster Care Initiative.

Foster Love is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization comprised of motivated young adults and former foster youth. Our vision is to improve the lives of children in foster care, who often find themselves forgotten and neglected by the public. We collaborate with individuals, companies, and community partners to bring resources to foster youth and use service-learning activities to educate volunteers on issues surrounding the foster care system.

Kidspace is a nonprofit museum designed to delight and engage children intellectually, emotionally, and physically through joyful, kid-driven experiences. We invite all children to play, discover, and create, and to explore the world with curiosity and kindness.

Hope in a Suitcase is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit group benefiting Los Angeles foster children. Through zero fault of their own, many children enter emergency foster care with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and they often travel from home to home carrying their few personal items in a plastic trash bag. Hope in a Suitcase provides NEW luggage, clothing, shoes and comfort items to make their transition a little easier, and to remind children that their belongings deserve the same level of respect as they do, no matter where they go.

Make Good, Inc believes in creating a more equitable society by providing tangible, take home, on-the-ground impact for Los Angeles’ most vulnerable and underserved children and youth. We do this through our two signature programs: The Book Foundation and the TAY Shop. We believe being literate goes beyond words and books. It includes financial and nutritional literacy, social and emotional intelligence and having one’s needs met with dignity and respect.

Pritzker Foster Care Initiative is leading our nation’s movement to establish a system of child and family wellbeing and reduce the number of children in foster care.

Jeff Hollingsworth

SOURCE Kidspace Museum