Nonprofit hosts monthly birthday parties at The Children's Shelter

Parties gives 'smiles, memories, hope' to abused, neglected children

SAN ANTONIO – Fiesta doesn't just come once a year at The Children's Shelter.

A customized birthday party is celebrated every month at the shelter's residential treatment center.

"Even if a child has been through some tough stuff, at that moment, they're a kid again," said Emily Calderon-Galdeano, co-founder of Fiesta Wishes, a local nonprofit that is only a year old.

Calderon-Galdeano said the group's goal is to give "smiles, memories, hope" to children who've been traumatized by abuse or neglect.

"They're coming from very dire situations where they don't have birthday parties," said Children's Shelter spokeswoman Anais Miracle. 

Calderon-Galdeano said she, Melanie Castillo and Coda Rayo-Garza, who are each successful in their own fields, wanted a way to give back to their community.  

She said, although each child has a very different story, they each have a birthday.

With the help of valued volunteers and generous donors, Calderon-Galdeano said they stage monthly birthday parties with themes, cakes and toys requested by each child. 

She said each party is "to acknowledge and celebrate that they were born."

"It changes lives," Miracle told the group. "You're creating experiences, memories that they live with for the rest of their lives."  

Mandy Rendon said she and her husband donated their services after learning about Fiesta Wishes on Facebook.

Morsels has created cakes for Fiesta Wishes since September. 

"We get to do that little part, just to help them make it more special for them," Rendon said. 

Since many of the children have never had a birthday party, Rendon said, "It really affects you."

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