While every day is special at Perry Wellness Center, we try to make birthdays extra special for each of our 68 peers. After all, it’s the one day of the year when one can count on lots of positive attention from others. For individuals in recovery, it’s also an affirmation of their “specialness” and reinforces feelings of self-worth.
To begin each birthday celebration day, the birthday guy or gal dons a glossy button imprinted with the message: “TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY. Please be happy with me!” As the birthday celebrant goes around campus throughout the day, he or she is offered dollars bills by others at the center. Some peers have received as much as $50 while wearing their birthday buttons. What a fun tradition!
At the end of the day, the birthday honoree, other peers, and staff gather on the front porch of the classroom building for a rousing group singing of “Happy Birthday.” We know that the celebration isn’t complete until Stuart Perry ends with, “And many more!”
In the photo above, Laurie McClain constructs some new birthday buttons to help upcoming celebrants enjoy their special day.