By Kimberly Paulk, SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits.
Do you remember the last birthday party you planned for your kids? It might have been a simple family get together, a princess-themed extravaganza, or sports hangout with a dash of laser tag. The point is – your kids had a party. There were a lot of decisions that went into the planning, but the assumption was probably that there would be SOME type of celebration.
Children in homeless shelters don’t get birthday parties. In fact, many of them have never even attended a party. They don’t have “favorite birthday memories” because their birthdays are the same as every other day.
Bright Blessings was created when its founding family, parents Amy and John Cervantes and their children, decided to change that by hosting a monthly birthday party at a local shelter.
Today, almost 10 years later, the organization has grown to operate multiple programs alongside its flagship Bless-a-Birthday program, providing services for more than 4,000 homeless and disadvantaged kids annually. In addition to celebrating birthdays at local shelters, Bright Blessings volunteers also deliver birthday packages to schools in Mecklenburg and Union counties for transient homeless students. Its Bless-a-Baby program helps ensure that babies born into homelessness receive the essentials they need. Additional programs, like Gift of Literacy and Gift of Care, support kids in a variety of other important ways.
Interested in learning more? There are a lot of opportunities, with tons of ways for families to get involved. This summer, Bright Blessings will offer multiple Serve Sessions at their Matthews-based facility, called the Giving Village. You can find out more at sharecharlotte.com and check out the opportunities below.
Adopt-a-Party! – Volunteer to assist with a party at a local shelter or sponsor party items.
Group service at the Giving Village – Groups of 8 or more can sign up to help with a hands-on project to help kids in need. The event includes a brief video and overview of family homelessness. (Recommended for kids age 5 and older.)
Wish List – Shop Bright Blessing’s Wish List, where you’ll find they need everything from macrame bracelets to diaper bags.