My Birthday Wish: Encouragement for a Detroit Teen (It’s Her Birthday, Too)!

Today I share my birthday with Sydney, a 15 year old here in Detroit that we spend a lot of time with and really love (you should hear Luke following her around the house saying “Neenee, Neenee!”).  I’m not always sure how to best walk alongside Sydney, a freshman at a Detroit public school.  A lot of things she faces are ones that I’ve never had to navigate.  I want so much for her.  And since I don’t always know how to best encourage her, I’m hoping you all will help me today in a few ways.

1) Leave her an awesome birthday message

 2) Help scholarship her way back to summer campIMG_4478

Sydney’s experience at SpringHill Camps continues to make a huge impact in her life. In fact, she wants to tell you about it here:

Many of you donated to send Detroit kids to camp in lieu of a wedding gift to us (or for Christmas last year).  We’re so grateful.  Sydney’s story has been forever changed because of your generosity. In fact, you all showed up big time and we raised enough to send three kids for two summers (which was such a relief because as soon as we picked them up the first year they were begging to go back the next summer).

SpringHill Camps 2014- Looking a bit nervous

SpringHill Camps 2015- Much more excited because they know what’s coming!

IMG_5777Josh and I have seen so much impact from this second year of camp and we’ve decided that we’d like to continuing sending the same kids year after year.  We’ve been dreaming about adding more available spots and how we can best structure our own giving to do this in the future.  The reality of this year is that we still need help getting Sydney, her brother and their friend back to camp this summer.  Would you consider a small donation as a birthday gift to Sydney?

Just click here to go to the SpringHill Camps donation page (all tax deductible) and please put “Olson’s Detroit Kids” in the comments so it will go directly to fund Sydney and the boys.

Finally and most importantly, I thought it would be cool to show Sydney that she has a crowd of people cheering her on.  She really needs it this year. Please leave a birthday comment for her here on facebook and I will print them up and give them to her tomorrow when we have our birthday brunch and manicures. 🙂


So much love and thankfulness for you, my friends.

-April (turning an undisclosed year older but still a camp counselor at heart)

5 thoughts on “My Birthday Wish: Encouragement for a Detroit Teen (It’s Her Birthday, Too)!

  1. Happy Birthday Sidney! When your friend April and I were your age, we were very good friends. It was a long long long time ago:). I remember being 15, sometimes it was a lot of fun and sometimes I just felt very alone and not really sure about myself. I often felt like if I could just get better clothes, or my make up right, or say the right thing to make people laugh, or get straight As, or a certain boy to like me , I would be ok with being me. It took a very long time for God to teach not just my head but my heart that He wanted just me. That he loved just me. And that what he saw when he looked at me was not my insecurities or clumsiness (ask April about my early driving experiences), but His beloved child who He was making beautiful, wise, loving, and whole with the power of his Holy Spirit one day at a time. So that is my wish and prayer for you this year, Sidney. That you will learn to see yourself the way God sees you, beautifully and wonderfully made, growing into everything He has planned and wants to do in your life.

  2. Happy Birthday Sydney! I hope you had an amazing birthday! April is so lucky to have a beautiful and bright girl like you in her life. May God pour out blessing in your life. Be Bold. Dream Big and Bless Others in all that you do and you will go far and accomplish anything you want in life. Blessings, Stephanie

  3. Happy birthday Sydney!!!!! Wishing you an incredible year with lots of fun, laughter, and joy! The Lord has big plans for you sister… Know how loved and cherished you are as a daughter of the One True King!

  4. Happy Birthday Sydney!! I don’t think it is a coincidence that you share a birthday with one of the best people I know…April! I think the Lord knew that you two needed to be celebrated on the same day! I have several hopes for you! One, that God provides a true friend like I have found in April. Someone that you can enjoy all of lives moments: catching a mouse, getting a flat tire while towing a climbing wall, being in a car accident, laughing till we cry, grieving broken relationships, wedding dress shopping, celebrating moments like weddings and babies and praying for each other! I believe that God has that friend for you! Secondly, I hope and pray that you continue to grow in your relationship with God. That you learn to trust him, rely on him, love him, and share him with others. Thirdly, I hope that this year you know that you know that you know how important you are! I know Luke and Theo think you are fabulous, along with April and Josh and basically everyone that meets you! Don’t forget that God thinks you are important, valued, beautiful, talented and so much more! Remember that truth!

  5. Hi, Sydney! I am so glad you are in April’s life. Thank you for all the help you give her with the boys. I hope you two girls have a wonderful celebration at the nail salon. (Secret: I was 40 years old when I got my first pedicure as a birthday gift.)
    I am studying God’s love right now with my small group and I wanted to send you the verses that have touched my heart this week. Ephesians 3: 17-19 “…Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.”
    That’s my hope for you in this coming year—that you will grow “roots” like a beautiful flower down deep into God’s love as you practice trusting in HIM. He never changes, Sydney. God will always love you, just as you are. He loves you sooooooo
    much. And Psalm 147:10 says He DELIGHTS in us when we trust in HIS unfailing love. Georgia, April’s mom

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