It is estimated that 3,000 children make up 27% of the homeless population in Denver. Placed in these circumstances, many miss out on the milestones of childhood that every kid deserves and birthdays are among the most special in a child’s life. Birthday Smiles aims to provide a day of normalcy and joy to these kids in our community by throwing birthday celebrations for them.
Birthday Smiles began in June of 2009 by Risë Justice. The Birthday Smiles program provides memorable birthday parties for children living in homeless or protective shelters in the Denver metro area. The program recognizes the importance of a birthday in a child’s life and believes that the gift of a birthday celebration provides normalcy, joy and hope in these children’s otherwise unsettled lives.
With adequate funding and assistance, Birthday Smiles has been able to provide parties to the women and children of the The Gathering Place, the Colfax Community Network, the Blue Spruce and Alton Way facilities sponsored by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and formerly the children of The Samaritan House.
Since inception, we have celebrated with over 1600 children at these locations. In addition to birthday parties, Birthday Smiles has taken on special projects such as summer carnivals at TGP and and obtained goods and services for the agencies served.
Countless volunteers and children’s entertainers donate their time and bring monthly joy to these deserving children. Each celebration includes presents for the birthday children that they have specifically requested. Cake, ice cream, drinks, decorations, small gifts for all children who attend and entertainment are provided at every party.