At 16, she's  giving foster children in her community something to celebrate.

When Lizzie Allison was 8, she starred as an orphan in a local production of the musical Annie, and it sparked an interest in children who are growing up without their families. Years later, she was upset to learn that many foster children’s birthdays are forgotten or go uncelebrated because their caregivers can’t afford to throw a party. “A birthday is a day when you’re supposed to feel loved,” Lizzie says. “These kids already see so many hard days, so I just had to help.”

Lizzie started Team Celebrate, which provides foster children with personally made birthday boxes filled with everything they need to have a party, including themed decorations, gifts, games, snacks, and even a box of cake mix and frosting. She puts together many of the birthday boxes herself—but to reach as many kids as possible, she also seeks help through Facebook from members of her El Dorado Hills, California, community and beyond. Volunteers are asked to gather the requested materials, assemble the box, and deliver it to Lizzie when they’re finished.

In the first four months, Team Celebrate delivered 75 birthday boxes to children in foster homes, and they hope to drop off 100 boxes a year. For Lizzie, one of the best parts of the experience is hearing stories about how happy and appreciative the children are to have a celebration. “One guardian told me about two children who didn’t know their own birthdays,” says Lizzie. “That is why I do this: to make kids feel special and unique.”

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