August 21, 2018
School & Youth
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  • The Severna Park community recently came together to make Olivia Hubbard’s 12th birthday celebration a special one.
    The Severna Park community recently came together to make Olivia Hubbard’s 12th birthday celebration a special one.

Community Unites For Girl’s Special Birthday Celebration

Jane Seiss
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November 3, 2017

The Hubbard family came to live in Severna Park in February after being stationed in Georgia for several years as an Air Force family. Moving around the country and coping with a parent’s overseas deployments can be difficult for families with school-age children, but for the Hubbards, relocating is even more challenging because two of their children have special needs. Olivia and her younger brother, Zachary, both have autism.

The kids struggled to make friends and feel like part of the community when they lived in Georgia. Olivia was bullied at school and left fifth grade to complete the year in online home schooling. During this time, her dad, Brian, was deployed to South Korea for a year. He returned to the U.S. in January. The family hoped their move to Maryland would offer a fresh start, but they were apprehensive about another change.

So far, life in Maryland is going well. This year, Olivia is in seventh grade at Severna Park Middle School. She signed up for yearbook club and plans to attend school socials.

Olivia recently turned 12. Her mom thought it would be a good chance to have a party, so the family planned a sleepover. “I wanted to do something since her dad was home and not away,” Olivia’s mother, Stephanie, said of the idea. Unfortunately, no one responded that they would come to the celebration. Frustrated, Stephanie shared her disappointment with a Facebook post to her page and other local pages. In response, she received overwhelming offers of support and kindness.

Courtney Cahill, owner of We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym in Severna Park, offered to host the party at her facility free of charge. The gym is welcoming to all kids, whether they have special needs or not. A special educator, Cahill is passionate about working with kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The gym’s staff is trained to work with all kids’ needs, and the gym’s equipment provides opportunities for sensory learning, stress release, balance and strength.

Olivia was surprised by the party and delighted to celebrate with about 15 friends and students from school, where news of the October 2 party spread. One mom baked a beautiful cake for the occasion.

“People brought gifts, and I wasn’t expecting anything,” Stephanie said. “I was thrilled. It was the first time I felt like somebody cared. I was so touched.”

Olivia had a great time. “It was fun,” she said. “We played on the swings and a zip-line; everyone went on it.”

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