Colin Kirkpatrick of Dublin, Ohio just turned seven years old and he chose to celebrate his special day in an unconventional way. Instead of receiving gifts from his friends, Colin “donated” his birthday to International Relief Teams, asking his friends to give money to victims of Hurricane Irma in Florida. “I can help the poor instead of just choosing presents and caring only about me,” he said. By donating his birthday, Colin was participating in his family’s philanthropic traditions.
Maria and Tim Kirkpatrick started this unique family ritual of donating their birthdays after their oldest son, Aidan, had his fifth birthday party.
“This was the first party to which we invited Aidan’s entire class and most came and brought gifts. His birthday falls during the holidays. I remember saying, ‘Wow, it looks like Santa doesn’t even need to come here this year,’ because it honestly looked like Christmas morning as I faced such a big pile of presents and wrapping paper,” said Maria. “So the next year as his birthday approached, we talked with him about how lucky we are to have everything we need and most of the things we want, but that too many people in the world cannot say the same. I suggested to him that he could still have a perfectly wonderful birthday with some gifts from mom and dad and grandma and grandpa, but he could ask his friends coming to his party to help us help others instead of bringing him presents.”
Thus, the Kirkpatrick charity birthday tradition began. Maria and Tim said the kids were a little reluctant to the idea at first - they are kids after all and what kid doesn’t love receiving a mountain of presents? But, when Maria reminded them they would still receive gifts, just not so many, and reinforced the idea that it was their responsibility to help kids less fortunate, everyone got on board.
Every year, Aidan, Alana, and Colin choose the cause they would like to support. They sit down with their parents and look through the Charity Navigator website to see what charities have high scores related to the cause they want to support. Colin, who wants to be a police officer or a YouTuber when he grows up, said he chose IRT this year after finding us on Charity Navigator because,
“I watched the video Journey of the Heart. I thought about it, and I decided it was a really good choice since you rebuild people’s houses and do medical care.” Colin added that when he thinks about people in Florida losing their homes to the hurricane, “It’s really scary. They must be worried that they’re unsafe. They must be feeling miserable, crummy. Injured.”
Colin loves to play soccer, to read, and he loves cats, but he is also a little philanthropist at heart. He likes to get involved in other charitable activities, like collecting money through his school for a charity called the Penny Harvest and putting together care packages for hurricane victims.
His mother says she is always impressed by Colin’s big heart. If Colin could send a message to all of the kids who have lost their homes, toys, beds, books etc. he would tell them,
“You’re going to be OK. Lots of people are sending stuff to help. Your homes will be rebuilt. It will take a while, but eventually there will be houses again, hotels, stores, apartments, hospitals, and police and fire stations, and you’ll be safe.”
Thank you Colin and the Kirkpatrick Family for your generosity and compassion! You are an inspiration to us all!