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A Heartwarming Birthday Celebration: Charles’ Mission to Help Children in Need

I have been working with the Allman family for several years now.  As NACD staff, we often talk amongst ourselves about how fortunate we are to work with what we consider to be the cream of the crop parents.  Ken and Julie Allman are fine examples as to the level of dedication that we see every day in our work/mission/life at NACD.   Not only do they strive to provide the best developmental and educational path that they can for their son, Charles, but they are committed to raising a well adjusted, good human being.  I have often been proud of Charles’s advances at his evaluations, but never more proud of him as when I heard about how he spent his 8th birthday.  I was so inspired that I requested that Julie write up a summary to share with all of you.

Good job, Charles!  Excellent job, Ken and Julie!

—Lyn Waldeck, NACD Neurodevelopmentalist

by Julie Allman

Dear Members of the National Association of Child Development (NACD),


In a world where material possessions often take center stage, it is refreshing to witness acts of selflessness and compassion. Charles Allman, a remarkable young boy, recently celebrated his 8th birthday in a unique and meaningful way. Instead of receiving gifts, Charles elected to collect gently used apparel and toiletries for children in need. Inspired by the principles of NACD, we as parents supported his mission, and together, we created a celebration that left a lasting impact on our community. Let us delve into the heartwarming story of Charles’ birthday party and the impact it had on the Hinton community.


Ken’s hometown of Hinton, West Virginia, nestled in the scenic Summers County, is a part of the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. While surrounded by incredible natural beauty, the area is also home to families and children with many challenges. Shockingly, three out of ten elementary school children in Hinton are supported by the Communities in Schools program. Deeply involved in our local community, the Allmans recognized the opportunity to make a difference and support these children.

Charles’ Mission:

Instead of traditional birthday gifts, Charles selflessly asked his friends and family to contribute gently used children’s apparel and toiletries, specifically targeting grades 1-6. 

The Birthday Party:

The Allman family extended a warm invitation to friends and classmates, inviting them to Charles’ 8th birthday party. On the special day, we gathered with friends, parents, and siblings to celebrate. The atmosphere was filled with joy and a sense of purpose. We provided food and drinks for everyone, ensuring that the celebration was not only about giving but also about coming together as a community

The Impact:

The response to Charles’ mission was wonderful. Friends and family rallied behind his cause, generously donating clothing, shoes, and toiletries. The Allman family recently returned from a trip to Hinton, where they personally delivered these heartfelt contributions. The impact of their efforts was captured in photographs, showcasing Suzie Hudson, the program administrator, and the “store shelves” where students in need can select clothing, toiletries, and food. The gratitude expressed by the Hinton community was very warm, and the Allmans extend their deepest appreciation to all who contributed.


Charles’ 8th birthday celebration was not just a party; it was a testament to the power of compassion and the difference one person can make. Through his selfless act, Charles inspired those around him to embrace the spirit of giving and support children in need. The Allman family’s involvement in the Hinton community and their dedication to making a positive impact are truly commendable. As we reflect on this heartwarming story, let us remember that even the smallest gestures of kindness can create a ripple effect of change.

As parents, we are immensely proud of Charles for his selflessness and compassion. His decision to forgo traditional gifts and instead focus on helping children in need exemplifies the values we strive to instill in him. We are grateful for the support of the NACD programs, which guided us in facilitating Charles’ mission and creating a celebration that went beyond the ordinary.

In closing, we extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed to Charles’ mission. Your generosity has made a significant difference in the lives of children in need, and we hope that this heartwarming story inspires others to embrace the spirit of giving and make a positive impact in their communities. The Allman family’s involvement in the Hinton community and their dedication to making a positive impact continues.

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 37 No. 1 , 2024 ©NACD

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