Kayla's CrowdFunnit Birthday Party

$25 of $275 goal

Raised by 1 person in 22 months
Jolie Kehoe Abreu
for Cherab Foundation
“I can’t handle being by myself in life. I don’t fit in. I don’t belong. Yes, I’m different but doesn’t mean you have to treat me differently.” – Kayla Baylor

Hi! My name is Jolie Abreu and I am the Director of Development for crowdFunnit.

Our latest crowdFunnit birthday party is for Kayla Baylor. Let's let Kayla know she's worth getting to know! You are cordially invited to celebrate Kayla's 17th birthday party with her.

Sunday, April 9th   12 PM – 3 PM EST
Location: James G. Atkinson Memorial Park 138 Bethel Mill Rd, Sewell, NJ 08080
RSVP here: and wish Kayla a Happy Birthday as she will be checking her wall
Theme:  Military Motown

We are looking to raise 275 towards basic party supplies and to offset some of the other expenses that may arise. Every dollar helps and any money over our goal can also go to help others in need of support.

It’s not easy to feel isolated in the world when you just want to have friends you can go to the mall with like others your age, so Kayla Baylor has dedicated her 17th birthday party as a salute to end bullying and alienation. As far as she is concerned, 17th birthday in, bullying and alienation out.

“The bullying started early on for Kayla, and wasn’t limited to other children,” says her mom JoAnn Colaneri.  “There have been teachers, neighbors and peers who repeatedly called her names like ‘stupid’, ‘weirdo’ or ‘retarded’.”

Kayla had health issues as early as 4 months old. Early seizures as the results of an unexplained breath holding issue led to the need for a pace maker just before her 3rd birthday. At age 8 she was diagnosed with Asperger’s.

Early intervention helped with some of the deficits, however it was clear as early as age  2 that she was different than her preschool peers.  While other children collected dolls, Kayla’s collection of specialists grew with each year, growing to 17 specialists including a cardiologist, pulmonologist and neurologist.

Early elementary school and special education activities provided Kayla with a social outlet, but as she aged, socialization and friendships became profoundly more difficult.

Her differences put her in a unique situation where she is too high-functioning for special education but too low-functioning to be with her peers. Same conundrum follows her into sports where her love of baseball was squashed as teammates made fun of her. It’s like she’s in her own bubble.

Age 13 to 17, which is hard for any teenage, has been particularly difficult for Kayla due to her unique cognitive abilities and the incessant bullying. Not only is she effected by the bullying directed towards her, but also that of a lower functioning peer in her class, who doesn’t have the cognitive ability to know kids are bullying her.

The combination of it all is tearing Kayla apart.

The stress and depression became so intense that her family had her hospitalized for a week in a psychiatric unit. “I can’t handle being different and I can’t handle being by myself in life.  I just want to be a normal person. I don’t fit in. I don’t belong,” she tells her mother when she’s at her lowest.

From comments on social media, taunts from school peers, sneering school administers who call child protective services to her house each time her mother calls to report school bullying and neighbors who physically accost her, Kayla’s faith in society is waning. While other teens she volunteers with at the Ronald McDonald House discuss fashion trends, her attempts to join the conversation include her favorites, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Barney. We can all image just how this plays out.

Most recently the anxiety has gotten so bad that Kayla often vomits before leaving the house, and in addition she has had an increase of anxiety-based pseudo seizures so severe that she landed her back in the hospital.

Kayla is fully and painfully aware that she has a difficult time bonding with peers. She finds solace in the company of her little sister Brianna, her big brother Russell, and her service dog, Abby, who is currently battling cancer. Pouring through her headphones are tunes from Old School Motown to Michael Jackson; county music favorites Toby Keith and Luke Bryan, to the dark side of life including Black Veil Bride and Avenged Sevenfold. The bullying at school is to such an extreme that it is now written into her Independent Education Program (IEP) that she be permitted to don her headphones whenever necessary while on campus to ease the anxiety from all the taunting.

Kayla likes to say,” Everyone is unique.  You have to take your own individual talents and run with them.”  It’s a reminder to herself but doesn’t make life any easier, or make her any less lonely.

However many times Kayla has been knocked down, with the help of her family and doctors, she rises up again. One avenue of strength is her participation in pageants which offer women with disabilities the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. Miss Amazing, Precious Gem Mentor and Pure International
are just a few in which she can be seen raising her own crown against bullying. She’s an advocate for autism, special needs and suicide prevention, as she is no a stranger to any of these groups.

Kayla’s speech at the Dare To Dream conference

While she loves to help others, she also wants the simple joys of childhood for herself. “I want to go to a sleepover. I’m never going to know what it’s like to go to the prom or what it’s like to hang out with a bunch of friends,” she tells her mom.

Kayla is on cloud 9 about her crowdFunnit party – not just because it’s a party for her, but because of the anti-bullying message being sent out to the community.

The potential her crowdFunnit birthday party will have on her community, bringing together individuals who will accept her for who she is, thrills her. Equally important to her is her hope that this party will bring awareness to bystanders who generally stand idle who will instead chose to step in to help protect her and others from bullying.

For those that are not able to attend, Kayla loves receiving and opening mail. If you would like to send a card or a gift, Kayla’s favorite color is purple. You can find her Amazon “wish list here” If you want to send Kayla a card or a gift for her 17th birthday party, mail to:

Kayla Baylor’s Birthday
C/O RAAB Enterprises
Attn: JoAnn Colaneri
201 Harvard Ave. Westville, NJ 08093

Beyond her 17th birthday and hopefully finding friends that love and accept her for who she is, Kayla hopes to realize her dream of going to college to either become a special needs advocate or a pediatric nurse.

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Update 5
Posted by Jolie Kehoe Abreu
4 months ago
We're gearing up for our next CrowdFunnit party in September and are so excited! Learn more about Chris' party and story here: http://cherabfoundation.org/2018/chris/

Do you know of another child (anywhere in the US) who's being bullied, alienated and/or has never had a birthday with friends? http://cherabfoundation.org/crowdfunnit/refer-a-child/
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Update 4
Posted by Jolie Kehoe Abreu
22 months ago
Huge Thank You to Brandi Sullivan, GM of Corner Bakery Cafe of Moorestown for offering to make a food donation to this awesome community event.
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Update 3
Posted by Jolie Kehoe Abreu
22 months ago
Thank you to Monica at Bagelicious in Westville for the first donation of food item to Kayla party. Be sure to stop and enjoy some yummy bagel sandwhiches!!!
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Update 2
Posted by Jolie Kehoe Abreu
22 months ago
Another thank you to Miss Stars and Stripes Ashley Kulikowski founder of Fearless Movement and sister queen Miss Stars and Stripes Outstanding Teen Alyssa Lego for their willingness to make an appearance at Kayla party and offer to contribute to event.
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Read a Previous Update
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$25 of $275 goal

Raised by 1 person in 22 months
Created March 15, 2017
Funds raised will benefit:
Cherab Foundation
Certified Charity
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Port St. Lucie, FL
EIN: 223685234
How it Works
  1. You make a donation using a PayPal account or a credit/debit card to PayPal Giving Fund (a 501(c)(3) charitable organization).
  2. After the deduction of payment processing fees, PayPal Giving Fund delivers the funds it receives to the chosen charity on a monthly basis.*
* If, after reasonable efforts, PayPal Giving Fund cannot deliver donations to this charity, the funds may be donated to another charity per PayPal Giving Fund’s policies.
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Michele Fennell-Olimpo
22 months ago

Way to go Kayla- hope you have an amazing party!!

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