A Birthday Wish

I feel like I should be moaning and groaning about turning 31 (!) in just two weeks, but I’m actually not. Turns out, the 30′s are just lovely so far. One feels settled, having gone through the upheaval and roller coaster of identity issues of the 20′s, and can just relax and enjoy life.

And me? There’s not much I want for really, especially materially speaking. If I were standing in front of the Mirror of Erised*, I might be raising a toast with a mojito in hand.

How lucky, lucky, lucky am I.

In that spirit, for my birthday, I would like to ask for a gift. But not one for me. Instead, I’m asking for a gift for children who would stand in front of that mirror with the whole world upon their shoulders. Children who know too much about alcoholic adults, HIV, poverty, and being left behind.

As you know, I’ve been working with the SOLD Project trying to provide extra resources for children at risk of being trafficked into sexual servitude, trying to give them a chance for a better life. To that end, we are trying to raise money for a computer lab, where I can hold workshops teaching the kids various computer skills (for example, word processing, Excel, and safe & effective internet usage) and hopefully even create an e-pal friendship & mentorship program with students in the U.S.

I did a similar fundraising effort last year for my birthday, to raise funds for the resource center and I was blown away by the results. Remarkably generous family and friends chipped in and we exceeded our goal of $1030. The resource center we were able to build with that money has since become a home away from home for many of the kids, as they spend afternoons and weekends with our staff, learning and playing together. It is home for our staff too, giving us a safe place to stay and work close to the kids. We continue to reap the benefits of that generosity, and I sincerely hope that my posts over the past few months have shown how much that generosity is appreciated and the good uses to which it has been put.

So, this year, for my 31st birthday (which is on June 14), I would like to ask family and friends for a gift of $31 or more for these children. My goal is to raise $1031 by June 14 to make a dream of a computer lab a reality. To donate, please click here to our Global Giving site. Under the donate button, you’ll see a tab where you can donate as a gift “in honor of”…if you would please put “Jade’s Birthday”, that would be very helpful for tracking purposes.

One last personal note: Asking for money is not something that comes easily to me, which is why I limit these calls to just one per year. So many of you gave so generously last year, I’m simply speechless with awe and appreciation. You helped us get off the ground. You helped make that happen. If you can find a gift of $31 to spare this year, it would really help us fly!

We have two weeks. Can we do it?

I think so!

* The Mirror of Erised is a Harry Potter reference (naturally). If you look in this mirror, you’ll see nothing more and nothing less than your heart’s greatest desire. The happiest man in the world would look in the mirror and simply gaze upon himself.

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