To teens in the United States, the luxury of a birthday party is often considered to be a rite of passage. They turn to parents and family members to plan a soiree during which they will celebrate the occasion with their closest friends by eating cake and receiving gifts. This celebration, however, is not something that can be enjoyed by all children around the world. In many countries, some children don’t even know when their actual birthday is, let alone host a party to celebrate their coming of age. This is the case for many Ghanaian children living in the throes of Lake Volta and its child slavery industry.
While others are unwrapping gifts and consuming mass quantities of baked goods, these children spend their days fighting to survive. They live their lives with the hopes of someday reaching adulthood.
When 15-year-old Beth Wilder from Stony Brook, New York heard about the children in Ghana through an interview of Pam Cope on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, she knew she wanted to help the Touch A Life Foundation. Learning of the daily struggles of these children helped her put her own life into perspective and see that there’s more to life than the luxuries experienced in a thriving country.
With plans for a sweet-sixteen birthday party underway, Beth made a decision that would impact the lives of those less fortunate than herself. After learning of the work of the Touch A Life Foundation, she decided to forego the birthday party and use the money that would have been spent on the party to sponsor a beautiful Ghanaian girl in Touch A Life’s care named Patience. This donation was not only a monetary gift, but it served as a chance for a new life as well.
In addition to this generous gift, Beth and her mother, Donna, planned the Walk A Thon hosted by the Find Your Mark Stony Brook Chapter. They earned over $2,000 in donations during a day that they will never forget. Beth hopes to continue to inspire others to follow their hearts and make a positive change in the world. She states that this change “would be the best birthday gift that I could ever get!”
We hope that acts of kindness like this will inspire others to get involved and be innovative in joining our efforts. We look forward to the progress we are making in Ghana and the future of the many children who will benefit from the organization. Thank you, Beth, for your incredible generosity and your servant’s heart! We are so grateful for you – and Patience is, too!