Thornapple Kellogg Middle School

Skip to main content

TKMS Girl Continues Her Gift of Giving

It's not the first time Wilbur has foregone her own birthday gifts to give to others. For the past five years, she has made it a mission to have family and friends give gifts she can donate to others in need.

She started on her 10th birthday when she collected items to donate to the animal shelter. Her 11th birthday sent packages to U.S. troops overseas. Her 12th birthday she collected $2,300 in cash to donate for cancer research and her 13th birthday gave donated supplies to Green Gables Haven, a women's shelter in Hastings.

Wilbur said it's something she loves doing. “It makes me feel really good to be able to do this,” she said. “I just like it.”

In addition to asking friends and family to donate items she could give to the hospital, Allison and her mom made 80 pounds of rock candy to sell. The $300 she made from the candy sales was used to buy more items for the children.

“I just wanted to do something for the kids in the hospital this year so they have something to do while they are there,” said Wilbur.

Her birthday is in early January, but Wilbur collected items from December through March, then took the items to the hospital this spring.

She decided to give to the hospital after her Girl Scout troop made blankets for the hospital. 

Wilbur sees working with children and families in hospitals as a possible career. “I'm thinking about being a child life specialist,” she said explaining the job entails explaining to families what's happening and making sure their needs are met while their child is in the hospital.  It also involves spending time with the kids and making sure their needs are being met as well.

“It's just really good to be able to do this,” said Wilbur. “I want to keep doing it.”

Although she celebrates her birthdays in different ways than most teens, Wilbur is a typical middle school girl. She likes playing volleyball and running sprints in track. She's active in her Girl Scout Troop and she enjoys organizing and being part of a Relay for Life team for the American Cancer Society. She also just likes being with her friends and hanging out together.

Wilbur said she intends to continue her birthday tradition and give to others as her way of celebrating.

“I don't know what I'll do next year for sure yet, but I'll do something,” she said. “It just makes me feel good.”