Cameron Brennan celebrated his fifth birthday in October.
The Palmer Elementary kindergartner invited his entire class to his birthday party, which could have landed him plenty of presents. Instead, he and his parents decided to ask party guests to make a donation in lieu of gifts.
"Because Cameron's family members are so generous with birthday presents, we felt he didn't really need all the presents that the party had potential to provide," said Cameron's mom, Kristin.
Instead, she and her husband, Kevin, took the opportunity to teach their son the value of generosity. They brainstormed what to ask of guests rather than gifts, but were coming up empty-handed. That is until Kristin found inspiration at a friend's house in the shape of a party invitation on the fridge. The invitation, which was for a party for Baldwinsville's Megan Miller, requested guests bring a donation to charity rather than a gift.
"It was one person's idea sparking another," Kristin said. "We asked that Cameron's friends make a donation to Golisano Children's Hospital."
Kristin said her son agreed with the arrangement and was content with "simply sharing fun and excitement with his friends at a rented Bouncy House facility."
On the day of the party, guests arrived and placed donations into a specially designed donation box and when the party was over, children were given "good citizen" party gifts to acknowledge their donation.
"The beauty of the story is that out of the 18 students who donated, a total of $325 was collected for the hospital," Kristin said. "What a testament this is to the generosity of the Baldwinsville parents and the message this helps to send our children."
Kristin followed up with a letter to the parents and children invited to the party that thanked everyone for their generous donation and included the names of all the children who participated -- future members of the Baldwinsville Central School District's Class of 2022.