October Parties

The Land of Cheer in October

October was a busy month for the land of cheer.  Not only did we get to celebrate our birthday kiddos at our Skeleton Soirees, but we also got to party with expectant moms (and a new week old baby!) at two Lovebug baby showers!

Another exciting event that happened in October was our Champions of Cheer kick-off.  For those of you that don’t know, Champions of Cheer is a youth leadership development training which culminates with each young leader designing and implementing a fundraising project in their community benefiting Beverly’s Birthdays. This is one of our favorite volunteer projects of the year because we get to see kids helping other kids through their own creative, inspired ideas!

One way kids, and adults alike are able to give back year round is through our Birthday Give-Back program.  Countless people have turned their own birthday into an opportunity to help others. Typically participants of this program invite guests to bring needed Beverly’s Birthdays items or monetary donations to their own celebration in lieu of personal presents. We provide downloadable promotional materials including:

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all in preparation for the celebration. This idea stemmed from Miss Megs.  When she heard Beverly had never had a birthday celebration, she said would have given up all 26 of her celebrations if it meant Beverly and other kids would feel acknowledged and special on their birthday.  This program is also awesome because there is room for individual creativity. If you want to use your birthday to give back and have a different idea on how you want to do it, great! Some other ideas on how to do this:

  • Create an online fundraising page with Beverly’s Birthdays as the nonprofit the fundraiser is benefitting
  • Hire Fairytale Princess Visits for your event. They donate a part of the proceeds from every Fairytale Princess Visit to us!
  • order catering for your party from Moe’s southwest Grill! Moe’s has a Buy One Give One program where they donate food for one of our parties for every party someone uses their catering for.

Quick shout-out to all of you, THANK YOU land of cheer for your support! Our volunteers and donors are the heart of our organization and without them, we would not be able to fulfill our mission.  As we continue to expand and grow, our support base does as well.  We are continually overwhelmed by the generosity and love our supporters share with the kids and families we service.

Birthday Party Activities

Wooden Skeletons

This month our main activity was designing and painting wooden skulls! We always say our parties are contained chaos, but painting is one activity that our kids will sit down, focus and take their time on, painting their own unique creations.

Supplies:

  • Wooden skulls
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Plates
  • Water cups
  • Napkins/ wet wipes

Every child received a plain wooden skull, a paint brush, water cup, and paint.  We unleashed the kids’ imaginations and the results were awesome!  Some kids made pretty, sugar skull looking masterpieces while others made bloody zombie skeletons, and everything in between.

Skull Magnets

 

Another craft the kids’ especially liked this month was making skull magnets. This activity also encouraged creativity as the kids were just given a blank skeleton head and a bunch of sticker options, and they got to choose how they wanted to make their face.

Supplies:

This craft is a great option for all ages because there are few supplies needed and self-adhesive stickers make for minimal cleanup.

Additional Activities

Lovebug Baby Showers

Three times a year we are lucky enough to throw baby showers to help our expectant moms celebrate their new babies. These parties are a change in atmosphere from our chaotic kids birthday parties, but fun in their own unique way. These baby showers include food catered by Moe’s Southwest Grill, baby shower games, awesome prizes, and of course cupcakes!

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This month’s baby shower theme was lovebug! We played lovebug bingo, lovebug baby babble, and lovebug price is right game.  All of our moms walked away with an itty bitty bin in preparation and celebration of their little lovebug.

*Big thanks to Jasmine Cho, owner of Yummyholic who donated these awesome cookies as party favors for the guests.

Other News

  • Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and Star 100.7 have partnered with us to throw a pre-party toy collection before her concert on Monday November 20th!  We will be collecting toys at the pre-party at the Cambria Hotel and Suites and the whole time leading up to the start of her show!
  • Shout-out to South Fayette Elementary and Middle Schools for completing an awesome toy drive for us.  They donated over $10,000 worth of new toys and $2500 worth of party supplies.
  • Congrats to our very own Miss Megs who was recently celebrated as one of Pittsburgh’s 40 under 40 honorees!

As we head into the holiday season, our Co-Director Josh is super busy setting up holiday drives to re-stock our barren toy shelves. If you or your company is interested, please email getinvolved@beverlysbirthdays.org! Also November’s minion-themed parties are sure to result in some great photos so make sure to check back here next month. #smilesmatter

Birthday cheer,

Beverly’s Birthdays staff

September Seuss Spectacular

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“Today you are you! That is truer than true!

There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

For all of our September birthdays we partied Dr. Seuss style!  This month’s theme in particular is near and dear to the Beverly’s Birthdays staff.  As Dr. Seuss once said, “You never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  Through our celebrations, we hope to create moments that turn into lifelong happy memories for our children and families.

In providing birthday celebrations for homeless children and families in need, we interact with lots of people who are facing tough hardships.  Because of their circumstances, both parents and kids feel constant stress which results in negative health outcomes including higher risk for anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.  We aim to relieve them of some of their worries while we take a moment to pause from daily life and just party! Seuss Invitation

Research indicates that healthy self-esteem exists when we believe that we are valued, competent, worthy, admired, and accepted. Through our programs, the children we serve gain confidence and feel worth because of the attention Beverly’s Birthdays party staff gives them.

One question we get asked a lot is why do birthdays matter?  As our Co-Director Josh likes to explain, think back to your childhood and tell us what your typical day looks like? We bet you can’t, but if we ask about your favorite birthday memory, most of us can come up with an answer.  As one of our kids reasoned, “the great thing about birthdays is that you get one just for being yourself.”  You don’t have to earn it in any way, everyone is special and deserves their own special day to feel like they matter because they do. Birthdays matter, smiles matter.

Party Activities

“Fox In Socks”

If you are looking for a fun craft to do with kids of all ages, then this Dr. Seuss craft is a great option!  You only need a few supplies, and by the end of the party your little foxes will be able to rock their own unique socks.

Creative opportunities are not only fun for kids, but important for their self-expression and mental development.  They are able to try out different ideas and implement their own unique visions.

Supplies:

  • Plain white socks
  • Fabric markers/Sharpies

Every child received a pair of plain white socks and markers.  We intentionally didn’t provide any prompt on how to decorate their blank canvas, and the results did not disappoint!  Every child had their own distinct, special design that showcased their amazing imaginations.  Some of the children turned their socks into puppets, while others asked for a larger size to make them into a present for their sibling or parent.

“Hop on Pop”

After we got the creative juices flowing and the brain grooving, we wanted to get the kids’ bodies up and moving.

Physical activity is beneficial for people of all ages, but particularly for young children because it helps promote healthy growth and development including gross and fine motor skills. (Look out for more information on this next month!)

Supplies:

  • 1/2″ (large) bubble, bubble wrap

We led the kids through a series of  variations on how to progress through the bubble wrap line! (hop on two feet, hop on one foot, you can only use your elbows, etc.)

“One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”

For some of our younger demographic, we used everyone’s favorite fish snack to help the kids along their Pre-K track.

Matching and sorting activities through play help children to begin to learn math concepts, enhance and support cognitive development, and practice their fine motor skills.

Supplies:

Every child received a pack of rainbow goldfish and printable. We first had them sort the fish into their correctly colored goldfish bowl. We then had the kids complete the patterns. After we completed both sheets, we got to eat our fishies.

Other Dr. Seuss Activities

 

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More Fun

Shout-out to all of our awesome volunteers! This month we saw lots of creativity from our cupcake bakers. Here are a few of our favorites:

 

Other News

  • We had a HUGE opportunity to have a spotlight on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Thursday, September 21st. Watch the clip here!
  • October’s theme is skeleton soiree. There are still volunteer opportunities available.
  • The Great Birthday Bake (a kid’s cookie baking competition) application is now live. If you or anyone you know is interested in entering, attending, or learning more check it out!

Next month we will be discussing our skeleton soirees, lovebug baby showers, and how you can use your birthday to give back! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more news and information about Beverly’s Birthdays!! Don’t forget #smilesmatter.

Birthday cheer,

Beverly’s Birthdays staff

5 Years of Cheer!

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Greetings from the Land-of-Cheer!

We are filled with joy and excitement as we head into the Spring season! At the end of April, we will be returning to PNC Park to celebrate our fifth birthday as an organization!! We cannot help but take this time to reflect on what all has been done since our inception…

If you have ever been to a Beverly’s Birthday party, you know first-hand the happiness our organization is able to produce. What you might not know however, is how much your support means to us and to what extent it has made an impact! For this reason, we are going to walk you through our accomplishments, just in this PAST YEAR (2016).

Check it out!!

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123 GROUP BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS!

Beverly’s Birthdays is best known for the birthday celebrations we host at our 50+ partnering agencies. There’s no question as to why either…this is truly the most fun program we run! Each month, we host anywhere from 10-15 parties throughout the Pittsburgh region. Every month is celebrated in a different theme as well! Program Managers, Martina and Kate, go into each party knowing that while there is a typical party-format, ANYTHING is fair game. We have had spontaneous dance parties, minute-to-win-it face offs, tons of crafts, face painting, special guest appearances, party games and more! Top that off with delicious food, catered by MOE’S Southwest Grill, birthday cupcakes, treat bags and gifts, and you have an unforgettable evening.

We like quote our good friend, Dr. Seuss – “You never know the true value of a moment, until it becomes a memory”. This is exactly why we do what we do…Our goal is to create positive memories that will last a lifetime.

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1,557 CHEER BINS

Our Cheer Bin program takes a close second to the parties in terms of popularity. Who wouldn’t be excited to receive a physical bin filled with “CHEER”!? If you haven’t had the opportunity to assemble a cheer bin before, it is essentially our version of an amped-up birthday gift. Each bin we put together has an age appropriate reading book, coloring/activity book, crayons, tooth brush, tooth paste, snacks, candy and other miscellaneous goodies. We pair each bin with one large item requested by the child. While we don’t get the privilege of seeing every child open their birthday cheer bin package, when we do…it is PURE-JOY!

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1,252 BIRTHDAY IN A BAGS

Our Birthday in a Bag program is perhaps the most popular amongst our volunteer groups. It’s a great opportunity to collect, assemble and be creative with your service work! If you are unfamiliar with this program, it is exactly what it sounds like: we create a BIRTHDAY and put it in a BAG! Each bag is centered around a gender and/or theme: Dora, Spider-Man, Frozen, Minions…YOU NAME IT…and the bag contains everything a family would need to celebrate a birthday in their own setting. Bags include cake mix, frosting, napkins, plates, forks, cups, candles, streamers etc.

Once we assemble these bags, we deliver them to our local food banks and other partnering agencies so that they are stocked up and ready for some partying!

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250 BABIES!

Our Itty-Bitty program is precious to say the least. For this program, we combine the concept of our birthday parties with our Cheer Bin program. Instead of throwing a birthday party, we host Baby Showers and hand out Itty Bitty Birthday Bins as the shower gifts.

We recognize that the birth of a child is the first chance a mother gets to celebrate the child’s life! For this reason, we love getting the expecting mother’s we serve excited about the new joy they are bringing into this world. Baby Showers are hosted seasonally, and each mother that attends receives an Itty Bitty bin with size one diapers, baby wipes, bottles, binkies, board books, baby onesies and a toy. We have also partnered with our friend Jasmine at Yummyholic, who creates beautiful and delicious favor cookies for the showers. They are an absolute blast!

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13,080 CLASSROOM BIRTHDAYS

We are gearing up now for our 2017-2018 Classroom Cheer Kit Program. Every child loves and deserves to be recognized amongst their peers at school. This includes being recognized on their birthday! With the help of the Education Partnership, we have been able to support our local public school teachers in recognizing their students with our “Classroom Cheer Bins”. Each bin contains 30 birthday pencils, crowns, badges, bracelets, cheer chants and more. We also pair the bin with a big calendar for the teachers to record their students’ birthdays on! This year, we are excited to include some birthday super-hero capes and birthday activity books!

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1,790+ VOLUNTEERS HOURS

Each of the programs listed above would truly not function if it weren’t for the support of our volunteers! From attending birthday parties, to baking cupcakes, to assembling treat bags, to inventorying toys at our office, to assisting with our big-scale events and MORE…We are so grateful for their hours and willingness to share their talents to support our mission. Each birthday smile shared through our organization is a true reflection of the volunteers’ work and kindness. Stay tuned for some fun April news! We will be honoring our volunteers for National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

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WHAT’S AHEAD?

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to read what we were able to accomplish in 2016, it thrills us to share that in the past 5 years, we have been able to recognize over 15,000 birthdays through our programming!!! If this isn’t incentive to celebrate…we truly don’t know what is!

We hope you will join us in doing just that, at our Adult-Baseball-Birthday-Bash at PNC Park on Thursday April 20th. We have so much fun in store and would love to have you there to celebrate with us. You can follow this link to learn more and secure your tickets! Until then… We wish you BIRTHDAY CHEER!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-of-birthday-cheer-5th-birthday-celebration-tickets-30894768083?aff=efbevent

Summertime, Smiles, & Birthday Cheer

SUMMER GREETINGS!

Time certainly flies when you’re having a blast. That’s exactly what we do at Beverly’s Birthdays….

A big hello from the entire Beverly’s Birthdays crew! Since we last posted a blog entry (last March – WOW), we celebrated the following birthday months in style!

APRIL – TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME! 

In-line with the opening of the baseball season, we made sure our April birthday kids had a “home run” celebration! Activities included:

  • Baseball Cap Design
  • Pennant making
  • Baseball Bingo
  • Dizzy Bat Challenges
  • Baseball books
  • Baseball music and more!

MAY – WILD-LIFE ZOOTOPIA

Our May parties were absolutely WILD as we celebrated with zoo-animal games and activities. The parties consisted of:

  • Animal Mask-Making
  • Animal tattoos
  • Animal bingo
  • Safari hunts
  • Animal book readings and sound calls
  • Animal Charades

JUNE – SUPERHERO EXTRAVAGANZA!

June was absolutely SUPER! Our June birthday kids channeled their inner super-powers and we celebrated in style with:

  • Superhero mask making
  • Superhero carnival wheel games
  • Superhero Bingo
  • Superhero tattoos
  • Hulk hands egg races
  • Pin the star on Captain America

JULY – PIRATE FUN!

We took July out on the open sea and celebrated our birthdays as pirates. The kids had a blast with our activities:

  • Pirate Hat making
  • Parrot designs
  • Walk-the-plank games
  • Pirate Bingo
  • Pirate Tattoos
  • Pirate treasure hunts to find their GOLD (treat bags)

 

THE SUPPORT IS ASTOUNDING!

Each party we celebrate is made possible by the support of our amazing volunteers and donors. The smiles you see on the faces of the kids we serve are brought about by the amazing people that come to and support our programs. We are blown away by the number of hours spent each month: baking, packaging, shopping and partying in order to support our organization. There are numerous ways to get involved, and our BIRTHDAY CHEER SQUAD never fails to step up in times of need. In a world that is often filled with  sadness and doubt, we are lucky to have a constant reminder of the GOOD that is out there. Thank you, Pittsburgh, for your hearts of (black and) GOLD. 😉 We could not do what we do without your continued love and support. KEEP ON SPREADING THE SMILES…

IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE

As Program Managers, Martina and Kate are often asked to explain what they do as an organization and why it matters. Often times, it’s hard to put into words what we do. It all comes down to experiences….

Each event we throw is a little bit different. Sometimes we come back from a party with a million stories to share on “what the kids said” and “why laughter was shared”. Other times, we have a single moment that sticks with us and makes us take a step back and put life into perspective. The easiest way to explain is to share our own experiences:

Martina’s moment with Mc Chicken: Martina was getting prepared to host her monthly party at an organization we support in McKeesport. As she was packing up her gifts for the party, she remembered that Kate mentioned that one of the kids celebrating their birthday that night specifically requested a Mc Chicken sandwich as their birthday gift. (Yes. He asked for a sandwich for his birthday…). Kate and Martina giggled about the silly request and not thinking too much about it, Martina stopped at Mc Dondald’s on her way to the party. She bought the boy 2 Mc Chicken sandwiches to accompany his birthday present. When she arrived to the party, and presented the sandwiches to the young boy, he was OVERJOYED. Martina had never seen someone so ecstatic to eat a sandwich from McDonalds before. This moment reminded her of the importance of the simple joys in life. We often put so much weight on silly and unimportant things that we forget to acknowledge the simple joys around us. Whether the party was a huge hit or not, Martina felt fulfilled leaving the event, knowing that she was able to make one kid smile and enjoy their day…All because of a sandwich or two…

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Kate’s Make a Wish Story: In July, Kate threw a pirate party at a shelter in Glenshaw, where we celebrated two young boys. After playing pirate bingo, crafting pirate hats, and taking the kids on a big treasure hunt, it was time for us to sing happy birthday and devour the sweet treasure chest cupcakes. The kids finished singing happy birthday and Kate quickly reminded the birthday boys to make a wish as they blew out their candles. One boy, who had just turned ten, quickly walked up to Kate after blowing out his candle and told her that his wish was “for this moment to be longer.” Kate fought back the tears, as this simple statement so quickly reminded her why the work we do is so important. She left there and prayed for this boy to remember and keep this happy memory with him forever. We may not be able to freeze these special times for the children as we so wish that we could, but knowing that he’ll be able to look back on his 10th birthday fondly makes everything worth it! As Dr. Seuss said and Miss Megs so often reminds us, “You never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

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An ‘AHA’ moment for a board member: One of our sweet board members and volunteers shared this story with the Beverly’s staff after volunteering at a party at the Bradley Center in July. Mike wrote, “At the party last week,  I really got to spend some QT with a sweet girl who was thrilled to have Moe’s & cupcakes. She was also on a high risk watch and almost wasn’t allowed to go outside, so I’m glad she got the clearance and she nailed it!

As we sat in the sun watching the events unfold she mentioned to me how much she was excited to finally be 18 this coming Friday and how much she admired the other volunteer’s dress. So much so, that she exclaimed this across the bustling courtyard. She then turned to me and said, “I really like that dress she has, and I would love to have one like that someday.”  This one exchange re-centered me, almost instantly, and provided perspective, and a big announcement in my head to Shut Up about my ‘problems.’  I legitimately left that evening and cried in the car on the way home. I had always felt our mission, but never to this degree.  I get to leave this and go home to my comfortable environment, but this is her daily life.

A call to action. Rachel, a staff member from the Bradley Center, reached out to thank me and I immediately knew I wanted a way to get this girl the dress. We worked it out and I’m excited to announce that today after work I’m passing off a personalized birthday card for her, with a Target Gift Card stuffed inside.  The staff on her unit received permission to take her to Target to pick out her favorite dress and new shoes…all in time for her special day this Friday.

So here’s to you all for allowing me this opportunity and for the chance to truly make a smile matter.”

To wrap it all up: Yes – At the end of the day, we are celebrating birthdays. At the root of it, however, we are celebrating PEOPLE: striving to spread joy, reminding individuals that they matter, making sure laughter, smiles and love are shared each day of our lives. Each of us is special and deserves to be acknowledged for being so. With that all in mind, we continue to spread birthday cheer, 365 days a year! Life is a party!

 

STAFF UPDATE

We are thrilled to announce that our Founder, Megs Yunn, gave birth to her 3rd child: A beautiful baby girl named Sadie. Both momma and baby are happy and healthy. Congratulations to the entire Yunn family. Such a beautiful blessing. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISS SADIE!

 

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the rest of your summers and check back soon to see what we have planned for this fall! Lots of love and cheer to be spread!

Birthday Cheer~

The Beverly’s Birthdays Team

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Spring greetings from the Land of Cheer!

GREETINGS FROM THE BEVERLY’S BIRTHDAYS TEAM

It’s never a dull moment in the Land of Birthday Cheer and we are thrilled to introduce everyone to our newest staff member, KATE LIVINGSTON! Kate is joining Beverly’s Birthdays as Program/Agency Relations Manager. She is an absolute joy and we are lucky to have her!

Like all good teams, we made sure to welcome Kate to the office with some staff ice breakers. we first decided to analyze and specify what each of our office spirit animals are. Just so you are all caught up, the results were as follows:

MEGS YUNN – GENERAL DIRECTOR – MEERKAT

Megs, much like Timone from Disney’s Classic, “The Lion King”, is a highly energetic, feisty, determined and caring individual. Always on the move and doing good, she resembles the characteristics of a Meerkat. The Meerkat is also known to be a very protective animal. With two little ones and a third on the way, Megs’ beautiful and motherly demeanor greatly resembles that of the Meerkat. Megs insists that the Meerkat is an ugly animal, but we think they are pretty adorable. Look at that hug!

JOSH WHITESIDE – DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT – OTTER

If the picture doesn’t say it, I don’t know what does. Otters are known to be full of positive energy. They are super popular, lovable and display highly developed social skills. Otters also mix easily with a wide range of animal personalities (working with a team of ladies, this trait is needed). Anyone that knows Josh knows that he is the definition of “MR. PERSONALITY”. The characteristics of an otter fit him perfectly, and we are glad to have him around!

MARTINA CARUSO – PROGRAM/VOLUNTEER MANAGER – PEACOACK

Many people think Martina is reserved upon first meeting her. It’s true, Martina has an introverted personality. A true performer at heart however, when put in her element, Martina opens her feathers to reveal her vivacious colors and skills. This comes out most when she is in her comfort zone and she LOVES to share it with the children at the parties she leads.

KATE LIVINGSTON – PROGRAM/AGENCY RELATIONS MANAGER – DOLPHIN

Kate has had no reservations jumping right into the daily routine of Program Manager! Dolphins are said to be at their best helping others to achieve their goals. They are unassuming and dedicated to their cause and derive great satisfaction, fostering greatness in others. Kate brings out happiness in others the moment she steps into the room. Her loving dolphin-personality is just what we needed on our team!

TRACY MONGELUZZO – FINANCE MANAGER – OWL

Since her first day at Beverly’s Birthdays, Tracy has been an ever-calming force in the office. The owl is the most tranquil of of the bird personalities. They are creatures of great integrity, wisdom and intelligence. Tracy is all of these things and more!  Owls are not without their assertive side however. They won’t hesitate to use their sassy personality. This comes out in Tracy at the best moments. We would be in trouble without our office owl!

It’s always fun to be a little silly in the office and we thoroughly believe we have a very well rounded team of animals!

The SECOND ice breaker we did as an office team was to take on the challenge of BEAN BAMBOOZLED, a game we have started playing at our March birthday parties. It has been a huge hit thus far with the teens attending these parties! If you haven’t tried it yet, we DARE you to.

To play, you spin a dial to land on a jelly bean. This jelly bean could be absolutely delicious or absolutely disgusting (example: if you spin and land on a white jelly bean, it will either taste like coconut OR baby wipes). You don’t know what the flavor will be until it is actually in you mouth! As a staff, we each had a chance to test both the good and bad flavors. It was a hilarious team building experience. We definitely recommend you bring this to your kid-based parties or take it out at a family for game night.

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Icebreakers aside, The Beverly’s Birthdays team is excited to jump into the Spring Birthday Season. We look forward to sharing our individual talents and passions with the agencies and families we serve and hope you are equally excited to get involved!

FEBRUARY FESTIVITIES

February was DINOSAUR month in the land of cheer. It was definitely a winning theme. The children, both boys and girls, had a ball with the activities planned. The most popular activity we lead was our Dino Safari Hunt. For this, we passed out plain safari hats that the children could decorate with dinosaur foam stickers. The kids got extremely creative and were anxious to put their hats to use:

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Once the hats were complete, we brought the children to the floor to read “How do Dinosaurs say Happy Birthday?” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. This got everyone settled and prepared to go on their Safari Scavenger Hunt. Prior to the party, we hid dinosaur fossil eggs throughout the room and gave the children 2 minutes to collect as many eggs as possible. They had a blast, sporting their individualized dino hats, and hunting for the fossil eggs. Even the older kids got excited as they tried to spot the vibrant eggs hidden throughout the room.

Other activities we lead at the February Dinosaur Parties included:

  • Dino Bingo
  • Dino Egg Races
  • Setting the Scene: Dino Stampers and coloring
  • Vibrant Dino scratch ornaments
  • Act like a Dino games and MORE
It’s always nice, as a Program Manager, to know we are having a memorable affect on the kids we serve. Martina was especially thrilled when she saw one of her Birthday Boys at the Lincoln Park Family Center in February. Knowing that his birthday was coming up, she had told him the month prior that the theme for his birthday was going to be “Dinosaurs”. His eyes instantly lit up. Much to her surprise, the young boy showed up to his February birthday party, decked out in an AWESOME dinosaur shirt!
It’s examples like this that makes us smile as a team. Knowing that this little boy remembered that he had a month to plan out his outfit for his party meant that he knew it was his special day to be in the spotlight. He definitely shined like a birthday star in our books!
LAND OF CHEER VOLUNTEERS
February was yet another busy month for our fantastic volunteers and donors. Beyond the efforts of our party bakers, staff and treat bags sponsors, we had several groups come out to do projects at our North Huntingdon office, as well as several local teams that ran successful donation drives for our organization. We have been so fortunate to work with groups that understand and can relate to our mission on a personal level. Thank you, again, to all those who have contributed to our cause. You are appreciated more than you probably know!
If you ever want to get involved further, or have an idea you would like to share with our organization, don’t hesitate to contact Martina at mcaruso@beverlysbirthdays.org
WHAT’S AHREAD?
We recently expanded our organization’s offices to the building next door. Since October, this building has gradually become our birthday bin factory, toy store and volunteer space. With the help of many volunteer groups and friends, we have gradually been able to transform this space into a manageable working area. That said, with a staff of only 5 that is constantly on the move, the area is still a constant work-in progress.

For this reason, we are THRILLED to share that we were selected as one of the final candidates to participate in the “IKEA Life Improvement Co-Worker Challenge” – a program that gives our organization the opportunity to win a MAKEOVER FROM IKEA! IKEA co-workers had the opportunity to nominate a charity to win a makeover for  a space that helps to improve the lives of others in their local community (THAT’S TOTALLY US!). Co-workers and customers then vote for their favorite charities and WE NEED YOUR HELP TO WIN.
FROM MARCH 27TH – APRIL 10TH, cast your vote DAILY for Beverly’s Birthdays. Winning this makeover will help create an environment that allows us to get materials out more efficiently! It will also help us create a nice space where YOU (our volunteers and supporters) can work to maximize your service to the fullest ability. All you have to do is follow the link below and VOTE ONCE A DAY:
We won’t be able to make it possible without your help, so please share this with your friends and be ready to vote every day! THANK YOU!
IN CLOSING
Let’s  keep the parties going, and the smiles flowing this Spring!
BIRTHDAY CHEER,
The Beverly’s Birthdays Team

Bye Bye to our Blizzard Birthdays!

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Happy New Year From the Beverly’s Birthdays Team!

We can hardly believe that January has come and gone! That said, it was an exciting birthday month for our organization. Winter Blizzard Jonas come and went, as did our Blizzard Birthday Bashes! We hosted 13 January Blizzard parties, each filled with winter games, crafts, balloons, cupcakes, MOE’s taco bars and most importantly: BIRTHDAY SMILES!!

PROGRAMMING:

One of our favorite January crafts was our SNOWMEN AT NIGHT salt-paint portraits. For this activity, we gathered the kids to the floor to read Caralyn and Mark Beuhner’s winter classic, SNOWMEN AT NIGHT. We wanted to get the kids’ creative juices flowing so that they could take the story back to the tables and create their very own snowmen at night. It’s always fun to see what the kids create after they are inspired by a fun story or anecdote!

Snowmen-at-night

Other January activities included:

  • Penguin Waddle Races
  • Minute to Win It Snowball Competitions
  • Snowman Mummy Races
  • Winter Bingo and
  • Beaded Snowflake Ornament Construction.

The kids had a blast and the volunteers and program leaders had just as much fun celebrating with the kids on their special day!

 

VOLUNTEERING:

January was also a great month for our volunteers. We say time and time again how much our volunteers mean to our organization. January was absolutely no exception. The Shady Side Junior School hosted a huge event on Martin Luther King Junior Day in which they cycled through five volunteering stations. Each station’s activity aided us in achieving our programming goals. Activities include:

  • Valentine Mason Jar Construction
  • Picnic Table Painting for our office/volunteer space
  • Boo-Boo Bunny Construction
  • Sugar Cookie Baking and
  • Treat Bag Assembly

There is something incredibly heartwarming about children wanting to help other children. It is especially rewarding when the kids are able to verbalize and understand why these projects are important. We saw a lot of positive attitudes at the Shady Side Junior School and could not be more proud and thankful for their time and contributions!

January volunteering continued at the office as well! We had several enthusiastic groups come out to help us create “Birthday in a Bags”, “Candy Towers” and more! THANK YOU to our amazing groups! We love having you around and hope you enjoy the work as much as we enjoy having you!

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DELICIOUS ADDITIONS:

January also christened our new partnership with MOE’S Southwest Grill. We could not be more excited and thankful to be involved with such an incredible company. Each January party was decked out with a lavish taco bar catered by MOE’S. MOE’S also created fun Beverly-Moes Birthday Crowns that we have been gifting to the Birthday Kids at our parties. Party attendees have certainly not been shy in showing their gratitude. A few kind words can go a really long way! Thanks for the treat, MOE’S!

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

January was truly a STELLAR month. In closing, as we head into the rest of 2016, we’d like to reflect on the following quote and leave you with some food for thought:

Both Claire and Martina (Bev’s Program Managers) had eye opening experiences in January that reminded them why we do what we do as an organization. First, Claire had a girl (age 13) send in a birthday present request that asked for bottled water. She did not request Fiji or Smart Water – just plain, bottled water. Claire was so moved by this outlandish request that she decided to gift the girl with an entire Water Bottle Tower, containing only the best bottles around:

Similarly, Martina attended a party at the start of January in which she was serving pizza to the guests. A young boy came to the front of the line, politely declined the pizza, but asked if he could take a paper “Happy Birthday” Plate. Martina gave the plate to the boy but asked, out of curiosity, why he wanted the plate if he wasn’t going to eat any pizza. The boy simply replied that he wanted to save the plate for the entire week (washing it in between meals) so that he could have something to celebrate and eat off of for the whole week of his birthday. Martina could not think of a sufficient reply, but instead went back to her birthday bin and handed the boy a full pack of unopened paper birthday plates…

I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I truly cherished a bottle of water or a paper birthday plate. We wanted to share these moment because they are a nice reminder that we all have things to be thankful for. More than that, we all have talents we can share to make others smile. Help us continue to spread smiles for months to come and always remember we are ALL special and we ALL have things to be thankful for. HAPPY FEBRUARY!

 

 

 

 

Warm Wishes and Holiday Cheer

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Season’s Greetings from us all at Beverly’s Birthdays! We are excited to start blogging again and look forward to sharing what we do with you on a monthly basis! 2015 has brought about many great experiences for our organization. We are thankful to all who have made our successes possible! Here’s a mini-recap and highlights from the year!

If you haven’t met them already, I’d like to introduce you to our two newest Program Managers:

Claire Pilarski – Program Manager/Agency Relations

Claire

BIRTHDAY FUN FACT: As a December baby, Claire’s favorite birthday was Christmas-themed. Guests wore “cool” Christmas vests, painted ornaments and ate loads of Christmas cookies! – Sounds like a party to me!

Martina Caruso – Program Manager/Volunteer Coordinator

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BIRTHDAY FUN FACT: Martina’s favorite birthday experience was a Spice Girls-themed party, hosted at her father’s hair salon. Guests dressed as their favorite Spice Girl, got their hair and nails done, and sang along to the Spice Girls album (Martina was POSH Spice)

Claire, Martina and the entire Beverly’s Birthdays team is excited to leap into the New Year with force. We want to celebrate as many birthdays in 2016 as we can and look forward to spreading Cheer!

2015 RECAPS:

THE BIRTHDAY EXPERIENCE: This year we were able to create over 4000 birthday experiences. It’s hard to believe that that’s possible, but with the help and support of our volunteers and donors, we hosted 12-15 parties/month with additional birthdays experiences mixed in as well. Here are a few pictures from some of our favorite moments this year:

Pittsburgh Pirates & Westmoreland Children’s Bureau!

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Seuss Fun with Healthy Start! 

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Baby Showers!

 

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Birthday Party Cheer! 

 

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VOLUNTEERS: It goes without saying that we could not do what we do without the help of our dedicated volunteer groups and donors. From getting together to create “Birthday in a Bags”, “Itty-Bitty-Bins”, “Classroom Cheer Kits” to running drives and doing manual labor at our new office building, we have, hands down, the best support group in the ‘Burgh. If you would like to get involved, our birthday door is ALWAYS open! Get in touch with Martina for details! Here are some pictures of our stellar 2015 Groups! They are beautiful inside and out:

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FAMILY CIRCLE: This was also a very exciting year for our Executive Director and Founder, Megs Yunn. Megs was featured in the October 2015 issue of “Family Circle” magazine, where she shared her story and experiences with Beverl’y Birthdays over the past 3 ½ year. We are so proud of her accomplishments! If you missed it, Read about it here!

 

2016 News:

MOES: Looking ahead to the New Year, we have a lot of exciting news in store. We are thrilled to announce that MOE’s Southwest Grill will be our official catering partner for all 2016 parties! We could not be more excited to work with this great organization. Their kindness is overwhelming! More news on this partnership will be presented in the January Newsletter, so stay tuned!

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YUMMYHOLIC: We also had the privilege of meeting Jasmine Cho, a young entrepreneur, with beautiful baking talents. She (Yummyholic) will be the official baker for all of our upcoming Baby Showers. When you have a moment, check out her work at her website, HERE. We can’t wait to share her sweet creations!

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Thank you again for making our year so special! The Beverly’s Birthdays Team wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy start to your New Year! We look forward to seeing you all in 2016! Stay tuned for more posts and updates to keep you looped in to what we do!

 

BEVS FAM

 

 

 

 

Frozen fun creates warm moments

January was a chilly month full of “frozen” moments.  We captured the season in our winter frozen party.  The kids were surprised when we told them they didn’t have to put on hats, gloves, and mittensFrozengrouppicture to make our snowmen! We created a variety of crafts that incorporated elements of winter- snowmen, snow, penguins, snowflakes, and frozen characters. Kids love crafts that are edible and really enjoyed making their own marshmallow Olaf! The theme was continued throughout the party in the cupcakes and treat bags.

Edible Olaf

We used marshmallows to create the snowman.

Ingredients:frozenolaf

– Large campfire marshmallows
– Black sixlets
– Orange Slices
– Edible black marker
-Tooth picks
-White Icing

 Use tooth picks to join together three marshmallows in the form of a snowman. Draw on eyes and mouth with edible marker. Cut orange in half long ways. Put it on the top marshmallow to make the nose. Use icing to adhere the sixlets as buttons   on the snowman.

Snowglobe Scene

We let kids create their own snow globes using clear plastic plates. We glued a piece of construfrozensnowglobection paper to a large plate. Children draw their scene using markers, stickers, pipe cleaners, and glitter glue then an adult can use a hot glue gun to adhere the clear plate on top of the scene.

Contents:
-Construction paper
-Clear plastic plate
-Large Plate
-Hot glue gun
-Markers, stickers, glitter glue

Winter Scene Coloring Bagsfrozencoloring

Bags were purchased from Oriental Trading Company. Just provide markers and/or crayons and let the kids each color their own bag. These were very useful for the kids to carry their crafts home.

Grow your own crystal snowflake

Kids can grow their own snowflakes using borax and pipe cleaners. Form pipe cleaners into snowflake shape. Tie a string to the snowflake and the other end to a straw so that you may hang it over the cup into the solution. Pour the pre-made solution into each cup and let them sit over night!

frozencollageContents:

– 2 cups water
-1/3 cup borax
-Pipe Cleaners
-Cup

-Scissors
-String
-Straw or pencil
-Scissors

Snowflake Mobile

Purchased from Oriental trading Company. Contains everything in pack with instructions.

Snowflake Ornament

Kit purchased from Wal-Mart. Kit includes everything with instructions.

Guess how many marshmallowsIMG_5649

 A jar was filled with counted out marshmallows.  Each child had a turn to come up and guess how many marshmallows were in the jar.  The child closest to the number of marshmallows in the jar wins a prize!

Marshmallow suck-up race

Kids have 30-60 seconds to see how many marshmallows in a cup sucking through a strawfrozenrelay. Each kid gets a cup and straw.  Set out marshmallows and say go! Person who gets the most marshmallows in their cup wins!

Contents:

-Mini Marshmallows
-Straws
-Cups

Frozen Spin to Win Wheelfrozenspin

Kids guess a number and then spin the wheel to see if the spinner will land on their number.  If the spinner lands on the number the child guessed, they win a prize!

Frozen Bingo

frozenbingoYou can’t have a party without bingo!  Frozen bingo is similar to regular bingo but instead of using numbers, we used characters from the frozen movie.  These cards were purchase off of etsy.com and were available to print off after purchasing.  To make this game even more winterized, we used marshmallows as the covers!

Pin the Nose on Olaffrozenpinthenose

The kids loved this game and it was super easy to make.  Use a piece of poster board to make a life-size Olaf.  I sketched ours by looking at a picture online.  Then I used orange construction paper to cut out carrot noses.  I put each child’s name on a carrot.  When it was their turn, I placed a piece of two sided stick tape on the back of the carrot.  Spin the child a couple times and let them try to get Olaf’s nose back where it belongs!


We were very lucky to have special guests at our frozen parties this month.  Fx Face Painting and Fairytale Princess Parties brought special guests to participate in the activities with the kids.  The kids loved seeing their favorite princesses come to life!  Face-Painting Designs by Dana turned our party into super heroes with her awesome face painting.  

It may have been a chilly month but we had many warm moments! These crafts are great for all ages!  and easily can be recreated by moms to entertain their children on snowed in days. 

We can’t thank our volunteers enough for donating their time and talents!  They cupcake and treat bags really made our frozen party come to life!

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More cheer in the New Year!

As 2014 comes to an end, we realize we have a lot to celebrate. We recently threw our last party of the year – bringing our party total for 2014 to 64 parties!Did we mention we have given out over 300 birthdays-in-a-bag this year? We couldn’t have done it without the generous donations and volunteers we’ve had throughout the year – thank you!

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In other news – Beverly’s Birthdays has its first eBook! Never Too Late, a Harlequin book, is based on two architects who volunteer with Beverly’s in hopes of gaining points with their boss, but find that there is more to life than just a promotion. Download the FREE eBook here.
For those of you who missed the KDKA segment of Beverly’s Birthdays, check it out here. Megs talks about how families can help spread cheer!
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Start the year off right by volunteering with Beverly’s Birthdays!  Don’t have the extra time to volunteer but still want to support the cause?  Consider hosting a donation drive and collecting the items we put in our cheer bins.  Another great way to support us this year is by attending our events.  We will be starting off the new year right with a happy hour toast in February to create some buzz for our big event in April.  We are so excited to announce this years evening of cheer will be held at the Children’s Museum.  Stayed tuned for more updates to come!

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Is your child interested in getting involved in the community and looking to learn leadership skills?  Our newest program, Champions of Cheer, is a great initiative for your youth to participate.  We will be selecting 10 individuals between the ages of 9-12 who are interested in making a difference in their community. The 10 elected youth will complete a leadership development training with Beverly’s Birthdays and then complete a fundraising project of their own.  For additional information please go here. All applications are due by January 16th.If you have any questions about the program, please contact Megs Yunn at myunn@beverlysbirthdays.org.

Thank you for all of your support in 2014.  We couldn’t ask for a better cheer squad. We wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to spreading more cheer in the new year!

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