While celebrating teammates’ birthdays is a common practice at IXL, on August 15, a group of IXLers threw a birthday party for nine people they had never met. They were volunteering at the Raleigh Rescue Mission, a local organization that helps people experiencing homelessness re-enter the workforce and find permanent places to live.
The Raleigh Rescue Mission’s clients are working to achieve self-sufficiency and sometimes don’t have the time or resources for birthday celebrations. To address this need, the organization has volunteer groups come in every month to celebrate clients’ birthdays. IXL volunteered to throw a celebration for all of the clients with birthdays in August!
The Rescue Mission provided IXL with a list of nine people who needed birthday gifts, from young kids to adults. A number of IXLers generously contributed funds that were used to buy age-appropriate birthday gifts. The toddler-aged birthday boys received socks, a toy truck, and an educational board game, while one ten-year-old girl got mermaid lip balm, alligator socks, scented lotion, moldable sand clay, and popcorn. All the gifts were put in gift bags with personalized birthday cards.
On the evening of the birthday party, IXL volunteers decorated a table in the Rescue Mission’s cafeteria and set up a spread that included chips, homemade chocolate-chip cookies, and dozens of frosted cupcakes. Even the clients who weren’t celebrating birthdays got into the festive mood, helping themselves to snacks and singing along to the birthday song.
The highlight of the evening was distributing the birthday gifts. The young girl turning ten years old was particularly delighted that her birthday was being celebrated and couldn’t wait until it was her turn to get a gift bag. When she opened her mermaid lip balm, she started jumping up and down with excitement!
“The Raleigh Rescue Mission is a wonderful resource to give back to our community,” said Erinn Schneider, an IXL content production specialist. “It was so heartwarming seeing the kids get so excited about celebrating their birthdays and sharing cupcakes with their friends. Getting to be a part of that was priceless!”
Homelessness increases by 8 percent each year in Wake County, but the Raleigh Rescue Mission is making a big impact in the lives of those affected. It provides community members with a variety of services, including life skills training, vocational training, financial coaching, transportation to and from work, childcare, transitional housing, and permanent housing. To learn more about the Raleigh Rescue Mission and how you can help, visit https://www.raleighrescue.org/.
—Amanda Simays, Curriculum Designer