Imagine being a child and not having the opportunity to celebrate your birthday. Unfortunately, that’s a reality for many kids today, who are facing challenging circumstances. However, thanks to the incredible efforts of Beverly's Birthdays, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit dedicated to creating and giving all children memorable birthdays, kids everywhere can experience joy and excitement on their special day.
Founded in 2011 by the compassionate and dedicated Megs Yunn, Beverly’s Birthdays came into existence after Yunn met a young girl at a local after school program. Her name was Beverly, and while helping her with reading homework, Yunn came to learn that the little girl had never had an actual birthday party, or for that matter, her own birthday cake before. After such an eye-opening interaction, Yunn was inspired to create a nonprofit that would help provide meaningful birthday celebrations for children experiencing homelessness and other hardships, like Beverly.
To help her idea get off the ground and running, Yunn applied to the Clifford BE BIG in Your Community Contest – a contest sponsored by Scholastic that invited everyone big and small to submit a BIG idea that would help support their community. Yunn’s idea for Beverly’s Birthdays was selected as one of 10 first-place winners in the nation and in January 2012, she won a prize of $2,500 to bring the idea to life.
Soon after, the first-ever Beverly’s Birthdays party was hosted at Sojourner House Moms, a transitional housing facility in Pittsburgh. After that party, Yunn decided to quit her full-time job and with the support of friends, family, and the Pittsburgh community, commit to bringing Beverly’s Birthdays to life. Living in the Pittsburgh area, Yunn was always inspired by one of the most famous Pittsburghers, Mister Rogers. Beverly’s Birthdays was even featured in the book “When You Wonder, You’re Learning” by fellow Pittsburgers Gregg Behr and Ryan Rydzewski, which focuses on the lessons that teachers and parents can continue to learn from Mister Rogers today. Rogers believed in the power of celebrations to show kids that they’re worth being proud of — a feeling that’s essential, write Behr and Rydzewski, for lifelong well-being.
Today, Beverly’s Birthdays celebrates the birthdays of more than 26,000 children every year and gives birthday gifts to 11,000 and classroom birthdays to 15,000. To help make each and every celebration a special one, Beverly’s Birthdays provides Birthday Cheer Bins that are packed with gifts, books, hygiene items, snacks, toys, and more. Additionally, in low-income areas, Beverly’s Birthdays provides teachers with celebration kits.
Since its inception, the organization has supported tens of thousands of birthdays and expanded its mission to include various baby and parent support initiatives, such as The Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank, Beverly's Babies, Classroom Cheer and The Birthday Boutique.
Yunn could never have predicted that winning the BE BIG Contest more than 10 years ago would have resulted in the widespread support she has received from the community and from businesses.
One thing we all have in common is that we all have a birthday, and regardless of how old a person is, Yunn says that on your birthday, “You still want to wake up that day knowing that you’re loved and that you matter to someone.”
For more information about Beverly’s Birthdays, visit www.beverlysbirthdays.org.