You’ve been traveling through the darkness and you can’t find your way out. It’s cold. You’re lonely. You haven’t seen the sun in what seems like forever. You crave comfort. You need warmth.

Suddenly, your eyes fix upon a light, a bright spot. It’s far away, this light, but you travel toward it, one foot after the other. It looks like the way out, this light.

You’re tired, but you keep moving. The brightness ahead, for reasons you can’t quite grasp, gives you some hope. Maybe, if you reach it, you think, things will get better. Everything will be better.

The slight flicker of a candle on an Extra-Ordinary Birthdays cake, a cake which bears the name of a homeless child, inspires hope and light within children and their families.

A personalized celebration—with the theme of their choosing—can bring hope to a homeless child, just like the light at the end of the tunnel guides a person out of the darkness.

An all too common response to unfortunate situations: an individual expects things to go wrong. They say, “nothing is going right” or “I have bad luck.”

On the contrary, when things are going right, they say something like “things are turning around” or “I have good luck.”

In either case, their actions tend to support whichever way they’re feeling.

For instance, if you feel that “everything is going wrong,” when an opportunity comes along you may be more likely to reject it or not try because you feel it’s not going to work out anyway. This lack of hope, expectation, and motivation contributes to more doubt, destruction and seemingly “bad” luck. But if you feel that things are going your way, you’re more likely to jump at that opportunity, to give it your best shot, to take a chance.

This is what I like to call the “hope effect.”

When you have hope, you believe in the possibility of a brighter future. You’re encouraged to work towards it, to work for it. As a result, you’re propelled into the life that, without hope, would have seemed wholly impossible. It’s like a chain-reaction of good.

So, why hope?

Here’s why: no matter how dark it is, if you shine a light, it’ll be seen. Extra-Ordinary Birthdays (EOB) celebrations help homeless children and their families see and understand that they matter. Though their circumstances aren’t ideal, there’s hope for change.

Homelessness and shelter living can feel full of despair. Yet, when a child’s special day comes around and they receive the birthday party of their dreams, they’re ignited with a spark—a glimmer—of hope. They feel loved, valued, and unique. They come to understand there are people who really see who they are and care for them.

This feeling, it transcends them. Parents and siblings share in their joy and hope. It’s electric.

Suddenly, darkness evades them. Life is bright—and worth celebrating! If this positive thing happened to me, they think, more positive things could happen; will happen. That’s what EOB celebrations do: spark twinkles in eyes, confidence in hearts.

You, too, can support EOB in giving hope to homeless children and their families when you make a tax-deductible donation to our end-of-year Give Hope fundraiser. Click here to #GiveHope today. Thank you.

Nikiah Wade, EOB Associate Director

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