January Art Parties

Art Parties

IMG_3417

Beverly’s Birthdays put the art in party to kick off the new year!  The art party theme unleashed the kids’ creativity and brought some bright colors and joy to the long, grey January days.

A new feature we are going to include in these monthly blogs is a Beverly’s Birthdays spotlight highlighting a member of the Beverly’s Birthdays cheer squad. We are going to start with our Beverly’s Birthdays employee family. First up is our newest recruit:

IMG_2893_previewName: Mallory Michalko

Title: Greatest Intern in the World

Office spirit animal: Panda Bear

Mallory is from Philadelphia, PA and currently attends University of Pittsburgh for Applied Developmental Psychology.  In her free time, she likes to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, bake chocolate chip cookies, and watch reality television.

“For my third birthday we went to Disney World and we ate breakfast with Cinderella. Since then, I have loved anything and everything Disney, and that is my favorite birthday memory.”

Birthday Party Activities

Paint Your Own Canvas

 

For one of our January activities, we creatively engaged our kids by providing them their own canvas to paint. This not only allowed them to use their imagination to transform a blank slate into something magical, but also had the additional benefit of being a great take home favor from the party.

Supplies:

  • Canvases
  • Paint
  • Paint Brushes,
  • Napkins/paper towels
  • Plates
  • Water Cups

We placed a variety of different paint colors on the plates and filled the water cups. Every child received a paint brush, blank canvas, and napkin. They shared the paint plates and water cups to make their unique creations.

Create- a – Crown

For this fun activity, we got to wear our completed craft on our heads for the remainder of the party.  Peeling the backs off the stickers helps facilitate the toddlers’ neat pincer grasp development and bilateral hand coordination.

Supplies:

Every child got to choose what color crown they wanted. We placed all of the different sticker sheets in the middle of the table, and let them decorate away.  These particular crown kit stickers were in different shapes which provided a fun teaching/learning moment for the party attendees.  This activity also helped us work on our sharing skills, as we were sharing the sticker sheets.

Fruit Loop Color Sort Game

IMG_3322

We worked on our colors, counting and sorting skills for this game.  This activity not only physically enhances a child’s fine motor skills, but is also a beneficial cognitive development activity because the kids’ must identify and then classify objects based on similar or different characteristics.

Supplies:

Every child received a bowl of fruit loops and a sorting mat. They then placed the color fruit loop on the matching colored circle on their sorting mat.  Once they got the hang of that, we worked on counting how many fruit loops we had of each color.  As a prize for doing such a great job, we got to eat our fruit loops when we were all done!

Lots of excitement happening in February. 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

Elf December

Elf December

IMG_3217

What a year 2017 turned out to be! We expanded our reach to new agencies in Pittsburgh, added additional staff members to our Beverly’s Birthdays family, received national exposure through numerous different media projects (including an NBC Nightly News spotlight!), and most importantly, we helped celebrate a bunch of deserving kids and let them know that they matter!

December was a huge donation drive month for us. Numerous organizations collected toys and party supplies on our behalf.

  • Negative: Our toy shop was looking barren heading into the holiday season. Think toy shop drought!IMG_3110
  • Positive: The shelves were so empty because we provided more presents last year than any other year before! As a sneak peak of our impact this past year, in 2016 we celebrated the births of 250 babies through our Itty Bitty Birthday Cheer program. In 2017 we celebrated 442 newborn babies!!

We not only achieved all of our 2017 programmatic goals, we blew them out of the water. Plus, thanks to these collections, our toy stock has been replenished enabling us to continue to provide awesome presents to our deserving kids!   This was possible all because of your support. Look out for our annual report in the near future to learn more about how many people we serviced and in what ways.

camden-1_orig
CCChampion Camden and the presents he wrapped for Beverly’s Birthdays along with the birthday card he hand-made.

One of our favorite projects that happened throughout November and December was the Miracle on Smithfield Street campaign. We teamed up with CCChampions for a holiday donation drive. CCChampions is another local nonprofit that matches kids with cancer with an inspirational role model who supports them through all the transitions of the cancer journey. With support from The Grable Foundation, we invited downtown businesses to donate to our cause. The CCChampion kids then used the donations to purchase and wrap gifts for our Beverly’s Birthdays kids. We love seeing kids helping other kids and feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with two other amazing organizations! A special thanks to the Grable Foundation and the Burke Foundations for matching donations.

In other exciting news, we received our first shipment from Delivering Good. Throughout 2018, Delivering Good will provide us with a plethora of in-kind donations of an assortment of different products. In our first shipment, we received 36 pallets of legos… 36 PALLETS!! If this is any indication, we cannot wait to see what is in store in the coming year,

Birthday Party Activities

Elf Hats

IMG_3223

In December we got to design our own elf hats! This was an awesome creative outlet that allowed us to express our own unique style.

Supplies:

Everyone received a foam hat cut-out, fastener, and an assortment of stickers. They then got to decorate however they wanted! Some kids chose to write their name while others completely covered their hats with no foam showing through.

48_4799

We also got to make these super cute elf ornaments. Upon completing his, one of our birthday boys, Jay, informed us he would be hanging his on his bedroom doorknob.

Supplies:

The kids got to choose which elf they wanted to make. They then put together their elf, and wrote their name on the back with the Sharpie so everyone knew who’s elf belonged to who.

Additional Activities

Other News

  • Big thanks to our Champions of Cheer who created and implemented awesome projects to benefit Beverly’s Birthdays. We look forward to honoring these little champions at our annual luncheon on Saturday, January 20th.
  • There are still open volunteer opportunities for parties in January! Check out what’s available here.
  • Save the date! More information to come..
    • Evening of Birthday Cheer- April 19
    • Highmark Walk- May 12

Happy New Year to all! Here are some final thoughts on 2017 from our Founder and Co-Director Megs:

As we embark on a new year of spreading birthday cheer I just want to personally thank ALL OF YOU for the love, kindness, and support you continue to show us each and every year.

As I reflect on 2017 I can’t help but think of something my son Wyatt said – he said we should all “have a happy heart”.

I like to think that what we are doing each day, by spreading birthday cheer, is giving thousands of children and families the opportunity to have a piece of happiness in their heart. This is what matters – this is the hope, joy, and comfort these children deserve.

It is hard to believe that we have been doing this for 6 years and I am so excited to see what 2018 can bring.

It is a privilege, honor, and joy to wear the Cheer Captain hat and I thank all of you for believing that #smilesmatter

Gratefully yours,

Ms. Megs

 

 

One in a Minion

November Minion Parties!

IMG_3197

We had a lot to be thankful for in November. We were able to celebrate 84 birthdays at our 16 minion themed parties alone last month!  Also, at our first annual Great Birthday Bake, we welcomed kid bakers from all across Pittsburgh to compete in a cookie competition at The DoubleTree by Hilton Cranberry.  36 contestants competed across 5 different categories all in hopes of claiming the glory of being the overall best cookie champion.  A big congratulations to all of our contestants, and a special shout out to Kate Boyle who clinched the Overall Best Cookie title with her Santa’s Snickers Surprise!

FullSizeRThe Born This Way Foundation chose us as their Pittsburgh charity for The Channel Kindness Tour.  As a result, we had the opportunity to collect toys at the pre-party leading up to the Lady Gaga concert.  Even Lady Gaga’s mom Cynthia and Grandma Gaga brought us presents! A big thanks to Alex and the Born This Way Foundation team for all of their support.

Both of our co-directors had huge accomplishments in November. Ms. Megs attended the Stevie Awards in New York City where she received national acknowledgment for the great work she is doing, and Mr. Josh set up an all-time record of holiday toy drives for Beverly’s Birthdays, setting us up to continue to provide the most awesome birthday presents for our kids in 2018. Thanks to our fearless leaders for their continued passion, encouragement, and dedication to spreading cheer and letting every child in Pittsburgh know they matter.

Birthday Party Activities

Play Dough Minions

This month our kids enhanced their fine motor skills while using their imaginations to create their very own minions out of play dough! The results were truly one in a minion.

Supplies:

  • Assorted colors of play dough (lots of yellow)
  • googly eyes
  • pipe cleaners
  • Make some minion mats (optional)

Every child received a plate with an assortment of play dough, googly eyes, small pieces of pipe cleaners, and were let loose to create the minion of their dreams. Some modeled their minions after characters from the movie while others made 9 eyed, 3 eared masterpieces.

Minion Bingo

FullSizeR (1)

There are few things our kids enjoy more than screaming BIIIINNNGGOOOO at the top of their lungs and picking out a prize from the prize bag. This particular bingo game was especially challenging because all of the minions looked very similar to the other. We had a great time trying to act out the minions being called.

Supplies:

This a great game that not only is fun but encourages collaboration and healthy competition. We love seeing our older kids help the younger ones find and mark the correct pictures during this game.

Additional Activities

Other News

  • Shout out to all of our supporters contributing to the 27 toy drives currently IMG_3166being completed in honor of Beverly’s Birthdays!
  • Thank you to the Pirates Charities for making our program manager Melissa’s dream of meeting Bell and Cervelli come true!
  • We are still hoping to make our dream of the Beverly’s Birthdays’ Boutique a reality. Please check out https://www.gofundme.com/fashion-truck-for-homeless-children to learn more and consider making a donation.
  • All of our January volunteer opportunities are posted. Join us in 2018 by signing up HERE.

WE ARE EXPANDING! In the new year we are adding 10 additional agencies. This not only means many more volunteer opportunities including cupcake bakers, treat bag makers, and more, but most importantly more deserving kids receiving love on their birthday!

Finally, we want give our sincerest thanks to everyone who has been a part of the Beverly’s Birthdays magic that happened in 2017. You are truly the heart of our organization and we could not do what we do without you. Thank you, happy holidays, and we can’t wait to see what the new year has in store! #smilesmatter

Birthday cheer,

Beverly’s Birthdays staff

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:

BGB.png

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!

IMG_4265

 

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

5 Years of Cheer!

Image result for 5th birthday

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!!

Image may contain: text

 

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.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and child

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!

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, food

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!

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

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!

No automatic alt text available.

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!

Image may contain: 1 person

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!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people eating, people sitting and child

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…

Image result for mcchicken

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.”

treasure cupcakes

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

Image result for birthday candles

Bye Bye to our Blizzard Birthdays!

a

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!

12661858_10207204469763934_1470096163753163360_n

 

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

its-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year-small

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

Martina 3

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!

blog 1blog7

 

Seuss Fun with Healthy Start! 

blog 3

 

Baby Showers!

 

blog 11

 

Birthday Party Cheer! 

 

blog 14

 

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:

blog15

blog 19

 

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!

blog 21

 

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!

blog 22

 

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!

FullSizeRender-8
frozencupcakes