Birthday presents for PAWS - Laurelhurst youngster asks for donations for Greenwood's Progressive Animal Welfare Society in lieu of birthday presents

In a world where most children are begging for Game Boys and Pokemon paraphernalia, Laurel-hurst's Elliott Moore is a breath of fresh air.

The 6-year-old celebrated her birthday on April 24. Elliott's parents, Bob and Susan, thought it would be a good idea to have a big celebration this year.

"She's in kindergarten," said Susan, "but beyond that, she's relatively new to the neighborhood. I thought it would be good for her - and for parents, too - to have a blow-out this year.

"Invite all the kids in her class and a handful from elsewhere," she continued. "Give her a chance to get acquainted with the kids and for the parents to get acquainted, too."

With such a big group of youngsters coming to her daughter's party, Susan had some concerns about the number of presents.

"The thought of 22 presents she couldn't use...," Susan said. "Even she admitted she didn't want that."

Susan made a suggestion to her daughter: Instead of getting 20-plus presents, ask party-goers to bring donations to the Progressive Animal Welfare Society.

"I suggested that this would be something that would make her feel good," Susan said. "And Mommy and Daddy would buy her what she really wanted."

I thought it was a neat thing," said Elliott's grandmother, Janet Syferd, who lives in Greenwood.

When the girls visit their grandmother, the Greenwood PAWS is on the way to Greenwood Park.

"We always stop by the window to look at the cute little kitties," Susan said.

In fact, Elliott and her 4-year-old sister Grace adopted their kitten, Lizzy, from the same PAWS center.

"We were supposed to wait for the right kitty," Susan said, "but the girls fell in love with Lizzy and wanted to take her home."

It was through Lizzy's adoption that Elliott learned about PAWS.

Susan sent word out to parents of the girls invited that they wanted donations instead of presents.

"Everyone responded positively, and everyone really got into it," she said.

Elliott's parents took an oatmeal carton and put it at the front door with a sign that said "Help the kitties and pups." All the parents of the 20 girls chipped in.

"They gave up to $20 and $30 donations," Susan said.

After the party, the donations totaled $287, plus a couple of dog biscuits and cat toys.

Elliot brought the money into the Greenwood PAWS on May 1.

When she pulled out the crumpled dollar bills, the PAWS volunteers were overjoyed and laughing.

"Their reaction was great," Susan said. "The volunteer that collected the money was very excited."

Elliot's decision inspired other girls to follow suit and request donations to organizations for their birthdays instead of the usual birthday presents.

"Another girl had friends bring new stuffed animals to the party and then donated the stuffed animals to Children's Hospital," Susan said.

And another young girl asked friends to donate to the World Wildlife Fund.

Susan is uncertain if Elliott and her sister, Grace, will continue to donate rather than receive gifts for future birthdays and holidays.

"It's definitely come up again," Susan said, "and we'll consider it again. But we won't do the 20-girl thing again."

Though the future may not bring parties and donations on as large a scale as Elliott's sixth birthday, Susan hopes that all the children involved with the donations this year are learning an important lesson early on in their lives.

"The point is that they feel good about contributing to something other than their own personal gain," Susan said. "That they can feel just as good about giving as receiving."[[In-content Ad]]