Sofie Skalicky believes every birthday should be celebrated, and she’s on a mission to make sure that happens, even for some of the Fox Valley’s most underprivileged residents.
“We want to do something for them that tells them we’re happy they were born. That there’s someone who cares,” Skalicky said, describing the motivation behind her non-profit organization Butterfly Birthdays. “Kids have always been close to my heart, and this is my way of giving back.”
Skalicky created Butterfly Birthdays about a year and a half ago after spending years volunteering as a Big Sister and at shelters across the Chicagoland area.
The organization provides free themed birthday parties for children whose parents can’t afford to host a celebration. And, we’re not just talking a few streamers.
The volunteers go out of their way to make sure each party is individualized to each birthday boy or girl’s liking, and includes the child’s choice of cake, theme, gift, games and more.
“I’ve worked in shelters and I’ve seen that the parents have very little,” Skalicky said. “The last thing they’re thinking about is throwing a party. They’re just trying to get by.”
That’s why Skalicky got the idea to provide those cherished parties for them.
Skalicky teams-up with local homeless shelters in Aurora, McHenry, Villa Park and across the Chicagoland area to provide parities for children under 18-years-old. The parties come at no cost to the families or shelters. Instead, Skalicky hosts fundraisers to earn money for supplies, and uses her love of entertaining to make the parties memorable.
There are karaoke machines and magicians at time. Smiling volunteers to dance with and pictures to be taken.
“The whole point is that you can change somebody’s life in a minute,” Skalicky said. “All these kids need is someone to show interest in them and let them know they’re important.”
She said the name Butterfly Birthdays was difficult to come up with, but proved to be the perfect fit for her venture.
“Butterflies are full of hope and transformation,” she said. “Just because you’re here (in a shelter) today, doesn’t mean that’s where you’ll end up. This is all just temporary.”
And, until their situations get better, Skalicky is going to do everything in her power to make at least one day a year super sweet for the children.
“I feel one of the greatest gifts we can give back to the world is to make a difference in someone’s life,” she said. “This is the only reason, I believe, I am put on this earth, and this is where I start.”
Volunteers are always welcome, and so are your donations. The organization’s wish list, which includes items like goodie bags, candles, paper plates and more can be found on the Butterfly Birthday’s website. Donations can also be made directly from the site.
Contact Skalicky at email@example.com