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KYRA's 21st BIRTHDAY PROJECT 

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The Family Tree organization works alongside people affected by child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness throughout their journey to safety and economic independence, providing emergency residential services, case management and advocacy, therapeutic services, outreach support, housing search and placement, education and employment support, among many other services.

For my 21st birthday I am asking for gifts that will support this incredible organization.  Family Tree served over 4,700 people last year and they have a large list of supplies that are helpful to the community they support.

If you're able to help support this cause, the families who benefit from them I just know will have deep gratitidue.

You can view the Amazon list HERE or there is a GoFundMe established HERE.  All donations will go directly to Family Tree.

KYRA TURNS 21!

A reflection from Gina, Kyra's mom....

As my daughter comes up to her 21st birthday, I'm finding myself needing to take pause and reflect on the last eleven years of My One Birthday.  For those who know me personally, you're like oh goodness here she goes getting sentimental. There is so much emotion around seeing your kids become adults, I just can't help myself. Along with that, I just want to share what I've learned from my daughter.

 

When Kyra was 9 and wanted to ask Santa for money to send to kids in Africa, it honestly didn't surprise me.  She never really had a big interest in presents (she took three days to open her Christmas presents when she was four) and she had this beautiful kind heart.  I was navigating life with one income so she by far did not have everything she'd ever want for, it was just in her soul to give.  So yes, Santa gave her money and we went and spent it on shoes and cute kids clothes to send to Africa.  Our friend Justin took her purchased gifts on a mission trip to Africa and delivered.  I'll never forget pulling up the video on our TV that Justin had a friend take of him talking to the village people about Kyra and telling them that they could accomplish anything they put their minds to and Kyra sitting on the couch in tears.  Happy tears. She realized that she made a difference - and it was life changing for her. Seeing kids on the other side of the world in the shoes and clothes that she bought made her realize she could support anything she set her mind to. 

From there, asking for presents for herself was no longer a thing - it was only for others. She also wanted to help other kids realize how good it felt to give.  She said to me once - "there is no gift you can get that feels better than giving" and she wanted to spread that feeling. So we brainstormed and talked with friends about how she could make that a reality and we came up with the plan of creating a non-profit.  At the precious age of 11, Kyra presented in front of a corporate legal team a request to help her form a non-profit organization. My One Birthday was born and we started on journey together of learning, giving and creating awareness.

I was thinking about what I wanted to share in my reflection, and it's a little bit raw.  Because here's the thing, sometimes when you're kind, your intentions are questioned.  Kyra was just 11 when My One Birthday was formed.  This website you see here is her vision, I put it to life. The social media contained her ideas and words, but she wasn't on social media at that age.  Ideas of organizations to support came from her heart and soul.  Plain and simple, she wanted to give to others, and I was there for it.  

On a chilly Colorado morning in December, Kyra had invited a few friends over to make sack lunches for the homeless and go downtown to deliver them along with one of the many blankets she had received for Christmas. As we were walking through City Park delivering a little bit of hope and friendliness, a news team approached and asked if they could make a story about her efforts.  It was exciting because her desire to encourage others to take this action of kindness could now be shared! All she wanted to do was inspire another kid to experience the feeling of giving.  Mark Nietro took notice of Kyra's work and often contributed his journalism talents to share her stories and the causes behind them.  He has become a friend and supporter of her cause. Through his partnership we have seen kids inspired to give, Kyra's step-sister and several of her friends chose to also ask for birthday presents to support others in need.  They caught the feeling and it was so exciting!

 

It was at this high time that we both started to hear this buzz that Kyra just wanted to be on TV, that she was just doing this for attention.  Her intentions were questioned by friends who were not true friends and even some family. It was hard. She started asking me to not let stories be put on TV, to not post as much on social media and to not create the attention.  But then she realized that the 'attention' is what created awareness - and that was her purpose.  In her early teenage years, she chose to mute the noise and be true to who she was.

So if you've gotten this far, here's what I am hoping this reflection will say: do it all anyway.  If you see that spark in your child or you have that spark inside of you, put aside anyone's judgement and listen to your soul. If you are in a space where your intentions of good are being questioned, stand tall and be the person you are meant to be.  For even through the times of caring for her tender soul I questioned if I should continue on encouraging her to take action and helping her to put any negativity into a box and set it aside, there has been no greater gift than to stand by her side and watch her growth into self-care and the impact she has had on others. I have learned from her.  I've been inspired by her.  And while I won't speak for her, even as she turns 21 it is her desire to bring to light a need in the community and give back.  Her determination and commitment to authenticity rises above and continues to shine a light for others, and yours can too.

In her short 21 years of life she has been able to make numerous people feel seen and heard, support many other non-profit organizations who are following their own calling to make a difference, create advocacy and awareness around the worldwide crisis of sex trafficking and every step she's taken is with the purest intention of showing up for those who need someone to show up for them.  What can you do if you pay attention to that voice inside your head telling you to show up as you were beautiful created to be?

 

Who knows what's next for My One Birthday.  The kid birthday parties where everyone shows up with a gift are no longer a thing.  As you get older asking for donations and gifts isn't seen as selfless and thoughtful as it is for a younger person to make that choice. My One Birthday may have new life put into it or My One Birthday may sunset into an incredible memory of the impact of Kyra's youth.  Either way, thank you to all of you who have played a part in this journey.  For those of you who have cheered her on, shared her stories, stood hand in hand to give back to those in our communities who are in need - Kyra and I now stand as two adults who have immense gratitude for your support.

The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious.
The desire to reach hearts is wise. 

-Maya Angelou

Over $16,000 in MY ONE BIRTHDAY gifts have been received and given back to incredible causes!

Now THAT is something to celebrate!

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