The Birthday Party Project provides magic to kids during tough times

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 20 at 5:24 PM

DALLAS - Nobody can move like Micah Cooper.

He danced his way through his 11th birthday party, donning ribbons and a crown, courtesy of the Birthday Party Project.

If it weren't for this group, he wouldn't have had a celebration.
 
"This has taught me that not just one person loves you, a whole lot of people love you," Micah said.

"It was the most incredible feeling I've ever had, and it wasn't me having the birthday," Paige Chenault said.
 
Chenault is a party planner taking her professional skills to an even more personal level. She is loving kids like Micah, as if he was her own.
 
"I've learned we get one shot, and it takes a moment to change somebody's life," she said. "And I've learned that spending time with people is really important."
 
"She didn't have to do that, if she didn't want to," Micah said. "She could have done that for her own kid."
 
For now, the Birthday Party Project helps the kids at Family Gateway, a place loaded to the brim with single mothers looking to get back on their feet.

Last year, Family Gateway saw a 480 percent increase in families served by the program.

While Micah gets life's basics here, Chenault's team covers a childhood event she said no one should miss.
 
"Not singing happy birthday to someone, children not being able to blow out candles, absolutely, it's such a simple gesture," she said.
 
The experience was so memorable for Micah, he can't even imagine topping it when he turns 12.
 
"Not greater than this one," he said. "It might be in a shelter, but it was the best. I haven't had that many people at a birthday party before."

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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