Chicago Family Celebrates Birthday While Supporting Trips for Kids

Debra and Walter Wilson.

Debra and Walter Wilson.

Debra Wilson wanted to celebrate her husband Walter's 70th birthday in a big way so she decided to throw him a surprise party filled with dear friends, family and a whole lot of laughter, but she did not want to stop there. Debra knew she also wanted to make his day extra special by making an impact in the lives of others. 

 "We have been blessed in our life and it just seemed like now was the time to use this and every opportunity we can to find a worthy cause and give back," Debra explained. A former non-profit fundraiser herself, Debra knew there were many worthwhile organizations her family could support, but she wanted something that really resonated with her own family's story.

While Debra was researching organizations that could benefit from her husband's celebration she reached out to her son in Arizona who shared that he had volunteered at our Trips for Kids Phoenix chapter. Now a member of the Trips for Kids Alumni Squad, he encouraged his mom to learn more about our national organization. 

"He told me that if he had found Trips for Kids while growing up, it would have a huge difference in his life and helped him learn to deal with life better," Debra shared. "Our son had struggled growing up to find himself, but once he found bicycles he really began developing and became an outstanding man." 

Their son's challenges are not unique. Each year thousands of youth experience a variety of internal and external obstacles to overcome, whether they are physical, mental, environmental or logistical. Many have to face those obstacles on their own. Trips for Kids exists to teach youth of all socioeconomic backgrounds that they can persevere, and that the bicycle can help them develop the confidence to face many of the problems they are dealing with.

Mrs. Wilson continues: "Our son has now become an advocate for Trips for Kids, so it just seemed so appropriate that as a family we could help support an organization that we all wish had been around in our area for him in his youth." Debra reached out to us to see if we could work with her on a fundraising campaign to inspire their birthday party guests to make a donation to Trips for Kids, in Walter's honor, in lieu of bringing him a gift. "Working with Trips for Kids was so exciting and they went out of their way to help create a process for our guests to donate.'" 

Walter's birthday campaign raised more than $700 to support our programming.

"We tell people it takes a village to get kids unplugged and connected to the outdoors - and we mean it," states Trips for Kids Executive Director, Robert Alan Ping. "The Wilson family did more than just raise funds for our programs, they raised awareness about our mission.

"We appreciate all the effort Debra and her family made on behalf of our youth, volunteers and staff. They understand firsthand why we do what we do each year. Although Trips for Kids may be 31 years old, we have much more work to do and thousands more kids to reach - this can’t be accomplished without supporters like the Wilson’s!" shared Robert.

On behalf of our Trips for Kids family, we extend a big "thank you" to the Wilson family and all of the guests who contributed to Walter’s birthday campaign.

Amy Carver