WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A child’s birthday party is typically filled with cake, balloons, and presents. For two Wichita boys, you’ll find the cake and decor, but their gifts are helping others.
Victor Harris, 7, and Lincoln Leiding, 8, are best friends. They love to play sports, play video games, and hang out together. At a young age, they’re already inspiring others to give gifts that won’t end up at the bottom of a toy box. It’s become a birthday tradition for Victor.
“I was just a baby when I started that,” he said.
At his birthday parties, Victor is not gifted a toy or games.
“Nobody really wants to spend a lot of money on those, and so the gifts that you get are fun to play with, but we found that we were just donating those relatively quickly like the play value was really low,” said Maricar Harris, Victor’s mom.
Instead, his mom wanted to see if his presents from partygoers could help those in need.
“Let’s just do a diaper drive and see if people just bring a pack of diapers so that they feel like they are coming with something, and Victor feels like receiving something, and then we can do something better with that gift,” said Maricar.
His pile of diapers grows as he does, and it’s inspired other parents to do the same.
“I think it makes their birthday so much more special than a bunch of trinkets at the house,” said Katie Leiding, Lincoln’s mom.
Each boy gets presents from their family, and for their birthday parties, they get to enjoy a fun and meaningful day with friends.
“We get to help people,” said Lincoln.
“They are like a little competitive who can get the most diapers which makes it fun for them. They are little boys, so that makes it fun for them, and in the end, the babies are the ones winning so it works out, and Lincoln did win this year,” said Katie and Maricar.
They ask for larger diapers knowing there is a need.
“People donate the newborn diapers, but they forget that 1-year-olds and 2-year-olds are still using diapers too,” said Maricar.
Once the birthday celebrations wrap up, it’s delivery time.
Victor takes his to the nonprofit, A Better Choice.
“I get to make a chair out of the diapers I got,” said Victor.
“They make it fun for him to drop off, they make him feel important, they make him feel appreciated,” said Maricar.
This year, Lincoln brought his to Wichita Family Crisis Center.
“Walking out this year and Lincoln said, ‘That was really important what we did, wasn’t it?’ I said, ‘Yeah, it was,'” said Katie.
It’s a special moment for these boys learning how to make a difference.
“Doing stuff with purpose to help others, I think we have to just teach them to do that,” said Maricar.
“We want to raise good men and people who are contributing to society, so to see them love this so much and to see it connect with them, it’s amazing,” said Katie.
Victor donated about 1,500 diapers this year, and Lincoln brought in just over 1,700.
Their parents said other kids are taking part in holding parties with a purpose, such as asking partygoers to bring toys for the humane society.
Their parents said it’s not for everyone, but if you can do it, try it out and give it to a nonprofit you care about.
If you would like to nominate a person or business for Positive Connections, fill out KSN’s online contact form.