Nothern Lights recipient - Birthday Parade Volunteers

Location: Airdrie, Calgary, Edmonton, Barrhead, Fort Macleod

Birthday parties have looked a little different over the past few months. Many children and adults have been unable to host parties and get together with their friends and families due to COVID-19.

As a result, drive-by birthday parades often organized with the help of Facebook have become a common sight across the province. Friends and family decorate their vehicles and drive by the birthday person’s home honking their horn and wishing them a happy birthday.

Many Albertans have stepped up to help organize these birthday parades to provide a small way of celebrating during the COVID-19 pandemic. These volunteers are demonstrating their community spirit by ensuring that children don’t have to miss out on having a happy birthday during physically distant and otherwise isolating times.

The Albertan Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition Program recognizes the following amazing Albertans for their efforts on this front:

Dianis Reyes plans parades every Saturday in Airdrie to bring a smile to children’s faces. She plans her routes carefully to ensure that no child celebrating a birthday is missed.

Alexandra Velosa has gathered close to 30 participants to help organize parades for children and adults in Calgary’s Legacy neighbourhood.

After her daughter’s friend had to cancel her birthday party, Jessie Newell started delivering birthday gifts to children in the Airdrie area. So far they have delivered over 150 gifts.

Over in Barrhead, Tresa Brodersen and her three children have been serving the community with their “Birthday Van.” They decorate the van with personal birthday messages and deliver free cupcakes donated by a local store.

As admins of the New Brighton Neighbours Facebook page, Calgarians Linz and Adam Kemble have organized a birthday caravan for their neighbourhood.

In Edmonton, Kath Oltsher and Dave Shook have been entertaining children by dancing and singing “Happy Birthday” while dressed up as dinosaurs and unicorns.

Sydney Tobler and Kristi Edwards have enlisted the help of the local firefighters, EMS, the A&W Root Bear, and a PAW Patrol truck in their parades in Fort Macleod.

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