To customers at Dave and Buster’s in Edina, Minnesota who saw a group of kids playing arcade games and eating pizza and cake, it probably looked like a typical birthday party.
And, they would be right. It was a typical birthday party — which is exactly what George and Jami Edwards hoped for when they partnered with Children’s Home to launch “The Birthday Club,” a program that celebrates the birthdays of children in the Minnesota foster care system. In spite of the best intentions, children in foster homes can sometimes feel overlooked on a significant day like a birthday. George and Jami wanted to change that.
George, the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, gives his wife much of the credit for making this happen. “A former player of mine in Buffalo, New York had done something similar,” explained George,
“and when he contacted us about doing it here in Minnesota, we both thought it was a great idea.”
Jami is quick to acknowledge she didn’t do this alone. She credits her husband for being her right-hand man; Children’s Home for opening the door to the foster community; the Vikings organization for
providing team-themed party swag and favors; and, several Vikings players who attended the event.
“It’s such a privilege to celebrate these kids, and hopefully show them how important they are,” said Jami. “George and I believe inspiration is contagious. This is a small way for us to pay it forward. Maybe one
day when these kids are older, they’ll remember this day and be inspired to pay it forward, too.”
The Edwards are big believers in the impact a caring adult can have on a youth. As a coach and mentor to players in college, George saw the positive influence he could have on young people. He recognizes the
similar — and much greater — role of a foster parent.
“Those foster parents are the stars here,” said George. “They are building a foundation for these kids, showing them what it means to be a loving caregiver. They are truly investing in the future of the next generation. They are so filled with love. Jami and I are in total awe of them.”
The Edwards are looking forward to planning more birthday parties for Minnesota’s foster kids. “We believe every child deserves to be celebrated. And we’re honored to partner with Children’s Home. We can’t thank them enough for trusting us to work with them. We are very grateful.”
Contact our development office at 651.603.8726 or [email protected] to discuss ways you can support Children’s Home.