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

The Key to Corporate Giving

There is a question we are asked daily when talking to people about what we do: How can I get involved? While there are countless ways to help our cause individually, one of our biggest contributors are corporations. It is possible for companies to either donate money or get employees involved.

Employee Involvement

One of the most popular ways we encourage employee involvement is in-kind donation drives. At Beverly’s, we always have a list of things we need to bring a smile to a child’s face. So what exactly do we need? Below is a list of items perfect for in-kind donation drives.

All items need to be new and unopened. We cannot accept any items that contain nuts or peanut butter due to allergies.

  • Target, Wal-Mart Gift Cards
  • Juice Boxes/Capri Suns
  • Individually Wrapped Snack/Movie Theatre Size Candy
  • Novelty Candy (Ex: Pez)
  • Teen & Young Girl Hair Accessories (Headbands, bows, ribbons)
  • Teen Beauty Accessories (Nail Polish, Lip Gloss, Body Spray, Body Lotion)
  • Stocking stuffer size toys appropriate for girls 4-9 (i.e.- Barbie, Dora, My Little Ponies, Hello Kitty, Lisa Frank, etc.)
  • Stocking stuffer size toys appropriate for boys 4-9 (i.e. – Superheroes, Cars, Dinosaurs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
  • Stocking stuffer size toys appropriate for boys 10-14
  • Baseball Caps

Beverly’s Birthdays is also piloting in a new program, Classroom Cheer. We will be providing birthday treat bags to local school districts so that children have a birthday treat to give to their peers on their special day. These treat bags will include any of the following items:

  • Snack size animal crackers, individual bags of pre-popped popcorn, and/or pretzel
  • FullSizeRenderFruit Snacks
  • Juice Box
  • Small piece of candy
  • Birthday toy trinket

We recently partnered with PNC to put together over 600 treat bags for classroom cheer. Thank you PNC! This event is a great way to encourage employee participation and donation.

We also have a partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Food bank, Good Samaritan care program of Washington County, and Feed my Sheep food cupboard located in Butler County to provide Birthday in a Bag.  We provide pre-assembled bags filled with all of the necessary items to host a small birthday celebration.  The bags are distributed throughout the region for low-income families in need. The items listed below are collected to fill our birthday bags:

  • Candles
  • Cake Mix
  • Icing
  • A set of birthday tableware (napkins, cups, tablecloth, plates, cutlery)

IMG_4938Alcoa held an employee event to help us with our Food Bank donations. Previous to the event, there were boxes stationed throughout the building to collect the items listed above. We then teamed up to put the bags together and deliver them to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. Over 150 bags were put together for the cause! Thank you Alcoa!

Company Contributions

We all know that sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a day to hold an employee volunteer event, so why not donate money? We have several ways to contribute to Beverly’s parties. Corporate Cheer for a Year allows a company to “adopt” a shelter which will provide presents and parties for an entire year by donating $3000. 100 Birthday Smiles is a $1500 donation which can provide presents for 100 homeless children. A $500 donation is called Two Times the Birthday Fun and contributes to two Beverly’s Birthdays celebrations.  A Month of Birthday Cheer, a donation of $250, will allow a company to sponsor one birthday celebration.

These are just a few of the many ways your company can contribute to Beverly’s Birthdays. Do you like our mission?  Consider supporting Beverly’s Birthdays for your next corporate community outreach project. Please contact Michelle, our program and volunteer coordinator, at MMesser@beverlysbirthday.org for additional information.