Tulsa girl’s 12th birthday on 12/12/12 inspires act of giving
Kara Grace Mirando puts together bags with 12 gifts in them to give to her friends at school on her 12th birthday, which falls on 12/12/12. (photo by STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World)

In middle school, the work gets harder. The teachers expect more from you. You get new kids coming from other schools. There are dances, and you also get to turn 12.

There’s the 12 days of Christmas, 12 roses in a dozen, 12 eggs in a carton, 12 inches in a foot, “there’s 12 numbers on the clock, there are 12 apostles that Jesus had, there are 12 months in a year, and that’s all I can think of right now,” said Kara Grace Mirando, who turns 12 on Wednesday – Dec. 12, 2012. Twelve, twelve, twelve.

Last year, Kara and a couple friends went bowling, and she thinks she had a sleepover. Another year, she went to Purple Glaze and made ceramics, and, for the earliest birthday she can remember, a clown made balloon animals for her. She said it was a good experience.

And for her 12th birthday? Well, Kara thought it was “unreal” when she realized her birthday would be falling on Wednesday – 12/12/12.

Kara’s mother, Karen Mirando, said about a year ago when the family recognized the unusualness of turning 12 years old on the 12th day of the 12th month of the year 2012, they started brainstorming how Kara could celebrate.

One woman in Oprah magazine had celebrated her 38th birthday by performing 38 random acts of kindness, Mirando threw out as a possible point of inspiration. Kara suggested maybe doing 12 random acts of kindness. That idea got kicked around a bit. Kara thought she would pay for people in line behind her at a drive-through, for example, and put change in all the Salvation Army buckets. It got to be a bit expensive, Mirando said with a chuckle.

Kara, who’s in sixth grade, then decided to ask her classmates if they’d each bring in 12 nonperishable food items by her birthday, when Kara would make a special delivery of the items to Catholic Charities.

“And kind of like a reward for that, for my birthday treat, I would bring goodie bags filled with 12 items,” Kara said Monday as she sat in her family’s dining room, the birthday goodies for her classmates spread across the table before her.

There were gold coins because turning 12 on 12/12/12 is a golden birthday. Little drums, “because in the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ it’s 12 drummers drumming.” Fortune cookies for good luck. Chopsticks to eat New Year’s black-eyed peas for double good luck. Rulers because there are 12 inches in a foot. Some of the trinkets have a special significance; others, Kara said, “are just for fun.”

Kara said she decided on the donation idea because her classmates giving to charity would be better than giving to her. That doesn’t mean she won’t be hoping for new headbands and a Phillip Phillips CD from Mom and Dad, though.

But all of this was Kara’s idea, Mirando said, prompted by a spirit of giving she said she and her husband, Glenn, have always nurtured in their daughters.

“It’s certainly something we feel like we could always do more of, but it’s just really important to give back to your community. Tulsa’s inspiring because it’s such a give-back community,” Mirando said.

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