A birthday is a day to celebrate and feel remembered and loved. Every child deserves to celebrate that special day each year. Today’s organization was inspired to ensure that happens.
In March of 2011, Megan “Megs” Yunn was volunteering at an afterschool program helping a young girl named Beverly complete her homework. Beverly was asked to use the “accustomed to” in a sentence, Megs offered an example, “At a birthday party people are accustomed to eating what?” To this, Beverly responded, “I have never had a birthday party or a birthday cake.” At 12 years old, Beverly had never had a birthday party of her own. Megs was inspired by her story and decided to start an organization to provide birthday celebrations for homeless youth in the Pittsburgh area. In June 2011, Megs submitted her idea to the “BE BIG in Your Community Contest,” of the ongoing Clifford The Big Red Dog® BE BIGTM campaign. Her idea for Beverly’s Birthdays was selected as a first place winner out of over 1,000 entries in the nation which provided the starter grant to make her dream a reality. Beverly’s Birthdays became a registered nonprofit organization in Pennsylvania in February 2012 and hosted their first birthday party that same month.
The mission of Beverly’s Birthdays is to provide birthday celebrations for homeless children living in shelters in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. They believe in spreading birthday cheer 365 days a year and that every child, regardless of personal or financial circumstances, deserves to be celebrated. They are currently the only organization with a mission to provide birthday celebrations in Pennsylvania. Their specific mission provides something that the homeless children they serve would go without. Their goal is to eventually be able to serve all the homeless children in southwestern Pennsylvania.
The organization currently partners with two local facilities, Sojourner House MOMS and Auberle. Beverly’s Birthdays hosts a party each month for the children living in the facility. The parties are for any child who has a birthday during that month and the other children in the program are the party guests. Each party includes pizza, birthday cake, treat bags, and games. The child also receives a birthday box filled with small presents on his or her actual birthday. In addition, Beverly’s Birthdays provides Birthday Cheer Bins to local emergency shelters so children can celebrate a birthday that happens to occur during their stay.
During the September celebration at Auberle, a teenage boy came up to Megs and said, “Ms. Megs, I don’t know what to wish for on my birthday, but this party is better than anything I could ever wish for. Thank you for making me feel special.”
In 2012, Beverly’s Birthdays hosted 15 birthday parties that celebrated the birthdays of 60 children at four different agencies and raised $18,000 to spread birthday cheer. In 2013, they have plans to provide parties for 200 children at seven agencies.
How can you help?
Beverly’s Birthdays offers a variety of ways to get involved. You can contact them via e-mail to inquire about any of these volunteer opportunities.
- Volunteers are needed to staff the birthday parties. Typically there are one or two parties each month. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old or accompanied by an adult.
- Birthday Bakers are important volunteers who bake cupcakes or cookies for the parties. The bakers need to accommodate nut-free treats for at least 3 dozen people.
- Volunteers are also needed to shop for specific birthday wish requests from the children.
- In addition, volunteers are needed to serve on the administrative team of the organization. They are currently seeking individuals to assist with party planning and fundraising.
- They also accept in-kind and financial donations. Their current wish list as well as information about making a financial donation can be found on their website.
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