'Unbirthday Party' for kids often left off guest lists
Friends 4 Kindness hosted more than 100 children often excluded from their friends’ and classmates’ parties Saturday at Larkin Park in Barrhaven.
Shaylin Seward’s mother, Rene, organized the event with Friends 4 Kindness founder Nicole Callander. Both women have daughters with developmental disabilities.
“She's got ADHD, ODD, severe learning disability,” said Rene of her daughter Shaylin.
Rene, who often throws parties for her daughter, decided other children with similar experiences and struggles in Ottawa deserved a day to be celebrated and invited to a big bash.
It was the party Shaylin Seward has waited all summer for.
Shaylin describes the process of making friends “Pretty tough sometimes.”
Her mother said Shaylin struggles to make new friends and rarely, if ever, is invited to attend birthday parties thrown by classmates and neighbours.
“You can see, deep down it bothers her,” said Seward, who describes the feeling of rejection as breaking her heart as a mother of a child with developmental disabilities.
Saturday, however, Shaylin broke out of her shell, joined by friends Kade and Samantha under a tent snacking on chips, cupcakes and hotdogs.
“A lot of these kids are just spending the summer with their families; they don't have any friends to hang out with but today they get to hang out with other children.” said Callander.
“This is the funnest day ever,” said Liam, whose mother described her son’s excitement as “unbelievable.”
The ottawa party was one of four Friends 4 Kindness unbirthday bashes in Ontario this year.