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Spreading Birthday Cheer Through Service

April 16, 2012

As part of National Volunteer Week, we will be recognizing Alums who are continuing to make positive service impacts in their Life After AmeriCorps.

Meg with the Birthday Girl

Today’s guest post comes from Megan Yunn,  founder of Beverly’s Birthdays, an organization that provides birthday celebrations for homeless youth in the Pittsburgh Region.  She is a former 2009 – 2010 AmeriCorps member with Pittsburgh Cares as a YES Program Assistant and a first place recipient of Scholastic’s BE BIG Contest.

“Happy Birthday Amayisha, Happy Birthday to you!” “Happy Birthday Kaitlyn, Happy Birthday to you!” 

On February 29, Beverly’s Birthdays, a Pittsburgh based non-profit which provides birthday celebrations for youth in shelters hosted its first ever birthday celebration. For the first party, Beverly’s Birthdays partnered with the Sojourner House MOMS program, which provides faith-based residential recovery to mothers in the Pittsburgh region.

As the Founder of Beverly’s Birthdays, I was so excited for the first birthday celebration. It was a year ago when I had the idea for to create Beverly’s Birthdays. I was volunteering at an after-school center and I was helping a young girl named Beverly with her reading homework. Beverly was asked to use the word “accustomed to” in a sentence. Trying to provide her with an example of how to use the word, I said “Beverly, at birthday party’s people are accustomed to eating what?”

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… 

Inspired by Beverly’s story, I decided to start my organization that provides birthday celebrations for homeless youth in the Pittsburgh Region. In June of 2011, I submitted the idea to the “BE BIG in Your Community Contest,” a signature component of the ongoing Clifford The Big Red Dog® BE BIG!™ campaign sponsored by American Family Insurance.

The national contest invited participants to submit a BIG idea that demonstrates Clifford’s Big Ideas (Share, Help Others, Be Kind, Be Responsible, Play Fair, Be a Good Friend, Believe in Yourself, Have Respect, Work Together and Be Truthful) for a chance to win a community grant to be used toward implementing the winning proposals.

The first of many Beverly's Birthdays!

As a first place winner, selected out of over 1,000 entries in the nation, I have been working closely with Scholastic Media, generationOn, the youth division of Points of Light, which is the largest volunteer network in the nation, in order to make Beverly’s Birthdays a reality.

The first birthday party was such a fabulous event! The girls received birthday boxes filled with presents, the children had pizza and cupcakes, received treat bags and we had a nail polish and make-up station for the birthday girls and the other children at the party.

The look on Amayisha’s face when we sang her Happy Birthday will stay with me for the rest of my life. It is amazing how something as simple as a birthday is something that we take for granted.  Every child deserves the chance to have a birthday celebration and I am so glad that Beverly’s Birthdays and its volunteers can be a part of that.  As an AmeriCorps Alum, I know the importance of service and volunteer work and how impactful it can be on a community.

I encourage everyone to find a service opportunity that you are passionate about and start volunteering. A year ago, Beverly’s Birthdays was an idea and today it is a reality. With hard work, heart, and dedication, anything is possible.

Please visit Beverly’s Birthdays website or find them on Facebook to learn ways you can help spread birthday cheer!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Meg permalink
    April 16, 2012 9:36 am

    Thanks so much for the support!! 🙂 Hooray for birthday cheer!!

  2. Dawn permalink
    April 17, 2012 8:53 am

    Congratulations, Meg. You represent Marietta College well with your creativity, service to others, and compassion.

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  1. National Volunteer Appreciation Week « beverlysbirthdays

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