Names: Charney and Lucas Burg
Ages: 8 and 6
School: Haine Elementary School
Whiz Kid Accomplishment: For their birthdays, the Burg siblings asked friends and family to donate to Animal Friends instead of giving them presents. This the second year in a row Charney and Lucas asked for donations instead of gifts.
Whiz Kid Key to Awesomeness: Charney and Lucas Burg know all about superheroes. After all, their mom is one. That’s no joke. Erica Burg is the “chief operating superhero” of the Pittsburgh branch of The Superhero Foundation, a nonprofit headquartered in Austin, TX that’s dedicated to helping abused children.
Burg just finished her third successful 5K Run and Walk for the cause in Pittsburgh. This year’s event raised $30,000 to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates of Allegheny County, she said.
Burg said she wanted to pass her love of charity work on to her children. So last year, she asked the two, whose birthdays are two weeks apart, if they wouldn't mind requesting donations instead of presents at their birthday party.
The brother and sister readily agreed.
“I wanted to teach them they’re not too young to make a difference,” Burg said.
That year, Burg said she helped the children choose Light of Light Rescue Mission, a program that provides food and shelter for the poor, homeless and addicted, as their charitable cause. Donations from that party benefited an 8-year-old girl in the program, Burg said.
Each child brought something to the party for the girl, who was living in a homeless shelter, so she could celebrate her own birthday. Some of those items were party invitations, goody bags, presents, decorations and a pinata.
When Charney and Lucas's birthdays rolled around this year, Burg said she didn’t have to come up with a suggestion. The children told her they wanted to help animals.
Burg said the Animals Friends provided her with a list of items needed at the shelter, and guests were asked to bring the pet food, treats and toys to Charney and Lucas’s joint birthday party June 5.
“I was really surprised people really got into it,” she said. “We got a lot more than I was expecting.”
It wasn’t all donations at the party. Mom and dad gave the children a few choice gifts. For being a good sport, Charney will attend the Taylor Swift concert this weekend. Lucas went to a playoff hockey game.
“Because they do something like a charity, they get a pretty good present from Mom and Dad,” Burg said.
Just as thrilling for the children was a trip last week to Animal Friends in Ohio Township to deliver the goods from the party. Burg said Charney and Lucas got a tour of the facilities and a certificate recognizing their good deeds.
Charney, who will be in third grade in the fall, said her favorite part of the day was seeing the dogs and cats she helped.
Burg said her son and daughter were so excited by seeing the animals that they've already declared they want to donate again next year to Animal Friends.