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Party With Purpose: Why I Swap Birthday Gifts for Cash (and Give it to Schools)

The gifts are replaced by donations and the theme is centered more on kids than the adults in the room.


This Saturday, for the third year in a row I will celebrate my birthday in a special way. My friends, family, and colleagues have been invited to a birthday soiree in Downtown Los Angeles full of drinks, live entertainment, music and even a red carpet with "paparazzi." However the gifts have been replaced by donations and the theme is centered more on kids than the adults in the room. I've decided that going forward my birthdays will be parties for a purpose.

This started because turning 30 troubled me. It wasn't so much the age as the thought that as a young professional I wasn't doing enough to help lift up the city I live in. Working in schools in East and South L.A., I had the privilege of seeing amazing students who were overcoming extraordinary obstacles to succeed. I also witnessed that budget cuts and poverty were stopping many Los Angeles Unified students from participating in even basic opportunities, like field trips and school projects.

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