This is a guest post by Sarah Shoemake, MSW, who works at WPAS and is a member of the Emerging Leaders Committee.
Children’s birthday parties can cost hundreds of dollars. Imagine you are a homeless parent and your child’s birthday is around the corner… what would you do? How would you feel?
That’s where Birthday Dreams comes in. They are a non-profit organization that brings joy, hope and dignity to homeless children with the gift of a birthday party. Birthday Dreams hosts onsite parties in the Puget Sound area at local shelters and transitional housing locations. They also create “Birthdays-In-A-Box”, which include all the necessary supplies to put on a birthday party for homeless children, such as gifts, cake, decorations, games, and goodie bags.
On Saturday, 34 Emerging Leaders who believe every child deserves a great birthday, no matter their circumstances, volunteered to decorate and then fill more than 400 goodie bags for Birthday Dreams! One Emerging Leader mentioned that providing birthday parties for homeless children was not necessarily one of the first things you think of when contemplating needs for homeless families, but that it is such a special and important part of childhood to be celebrated. Many other Leaders mentioned how excited they were to be able to use their creativity to decorate the bags with different themes and messages to the kids.
United Way is working to end homelessness, meet people’s basic needs (like food, shelter, clothing) and give every child an equal chance to succeed. Birthday Dreams provides a bright outlook for kids currently experiencing homelessness, and helps families build financial stability by providing resources that may otherwise be a financial strain. We look forward to flexing our creativity to help Birthday Dreams again in the future! Want to get in on the fun next time? Keep an eye on the Emerging Leaders calendar for all sorts of awesome volunteer opportunities like this one.