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Tickled Teals team up with Children's Aid Society for Balloon Buddies initiative

'I knew the feeling of missing out and I thought this was a good chance where I could donate balloons and give back to the children of North Bay'

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Recognizing children for their accomplishments and celebrating their milestones is something Tealia Carrière is using her business to do.

Tickled Teals Entertainment will be donating free balloon packages to children who are in the care of the Children’s Aid Society.

“This whole thing started last summer when I was approached by a lady who asked if she could have some balloons for her daughter and she was at the women's shelter,” says Carrière.

“She was wondering how comfortable I felt delivering balloons to the shelter and I said there was no problem and that I would actually love to donate to you. I ended up giving a whole bag full of twisty balloons as well as showing them some YouTube videos on how to twist balloons on their own. I also gave them some helium balloons and they loved it so much she said it was one of those times that they forgot where they were.”

Through Tickled Teals Entertainment, Carrière offers a qualified balloon artist, who has done many décor installations from organic arches, displays, balloon drops, and ceiling displays. She also offers professional clown entertainment for festivals, events, and birthday parties.

With that professional background, Carrière then put up a post on her Facebook page asking her friends and followers if this was an idea that could grow.

“I asked, could this be a regular thing where people can help me donate materials to several different organizations in the city? I got a lot of positive feedback after asking that question,” says Carrière.

“Shortly after I reached out to the Children's Aid Society to ask if it was something we could do. I reached out and said we should give the balloons to the children in care so that they know that they are remembered and recognized for their special occasion.”

Carrière says she had previously done an internship at the Children’s Aid Society and that helped her with her approach.

“They usually have their summer parties and there are graduations but there is nothing specifically individualized for the children for their birthday and celebrating them on that day. In fact, when I was about to start my business a co-worker from that job asked if I could do a children's birthday party. so that experience as an intern allowed me to understand the system and I knew how many children were in care and what the situation was.”

Carrière adds growing up in a military family also gave her an understanding of how the children in the system are feeling when their birthday rolls around.

“I know what it is like to have a birthday in a new city where you didn't really have a lot of people to celebrate it with as you're trying to make new friends or with my dad being away because of his military commitment. I knew the feeling of missing out and I thought this was a good chance where I could donate balloons and give back to the children of North Bay to show them that recognition that they are being recognized and being celebrated,” says Carrière.

Carrière says they have done a couple of balloon donations already.

“I just did one this past week with a young woman who just turned 18 and was accepted into a college that she was hoping to get into,” she says.  

“We did a big congratulations balloon and, on the back, I printed out the logo of her school so that she can do a social media post and show that she accomplished something through hard work and something that she can be proud of.”

Carrière says another recent delivery went to a young man who was turning 16 and when the worker dropped off the balloon bouquet, the birthday boy commented that this was the first time in their life that anyone had ever done something to celebrate their birthday. 

She says getting helium to fill up the balloons for their helium display is the expensive part, and that's why she’s relying on donations to make this happen.

“I'm going to be making these regardless of whether I get the donations or not it's just that the donations would really help create the program and get more balloons,” she adds.

Carrière also says she has found a way to streamline the process with CAS, “The Children's Aid Society has created a form for all their workers and whenever one of their clients has a special occasion coming up, they will submit that client’s occasion with the age of the birthday or their graduation or whatever it is that they would like to be recognized.”

She adds, “It's all privacy protected and all I get told is the gender and a few things about their personalities and then I create a bouquet based on that and drop it off at the Children's Aid Society and they make sure it gets delivered to the right person.”

Gisèle Hébert is the Executive Director of The Children’s Aid Society of the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound, and she says, “We are elated to be partnering with Tickled Teals. Every child and youth should be celebrated when reaching important milestones in their life. The Balloon Buddy Program provides community members with the opportunity to help acknowledge these successes and achievements.”

Carrière says she’s pursuing this because of her philosophy of looking for ways to give back.

“I've always tried to do things to make my business affordable and accessible to everybody,” she says.

“If I can run an amazing balloon business, why can't I give that back to everyone. Even before the pandemic when I was just doing the balloon animals and the face painting, I was also doing a charitable event once a month where I would do a one hour of free balloon twisting. It wasn't something that I promoted it was just a way to give something back. This is my way of giving back to the community because this is my skill set and something that I can do that makes a bit of a difference.”

Carrière says if you would like to make a donation visit the website and look for the “Balloon Buddy” link.

“That is where you can buy a $30 balloon bouquet because that is what we have priced out one package to be, but you can certainly e-transfer any dollar amount that you would like,” says Carrière.

“If you do give over $20, you can get a receipt that is a taxable donation.”

If you have a story idea for the "Rooted" series, send Matt an email at [email protected] 

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Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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