Nonprofit Spotlight: It’s Your Birthday
Founder and Chief Birthday Officer Rolanda Finch was volunteering at a homeless shelter when she noticed several children. She asked the director, “How do they celebrate their birthdays?” He explained, with some embarrassment, that because of limited resources, nothing is done.
Rolanda felt these children deserved the same enjoyment she remembered from birthdays as a child. So, she started hosting birthday parties at the shelter. Though the shelter she was volunteering at closed, Rolanda was determined to continue bringing smiles to children in homeless and domestic violence shelters.
Since its founding in 2014, It’s Your Birthday Inc. (IYBI) has helped over 1,600 children in homeless and domestic violence shelters celebrate their birthdays in a variety of fun and memorable ways.
A “Birthday-in-a-Box” is filled with toys or gift cards and a Build-A-Bear, depending on the child’s age. The “Birthday Surprise” program allows a parent to purchase a birthday gift for their child off the organization’s Amazon Wish List. It’s Your Birthday Inc. can also host complete birthday parties, which take place in the shelter with activities, entertainment, and treats. Mothers who give birth while living in shelters are also celebrated.
“I started It’s Your Birthday Inc. because I saw the kids, but throughout the years I’ve noticed the impact this makes on parents,” said Finch. “The parents are in a difficult situation and we’re lifting a weight off their shoulders. For the child, it’s still their birthday regardless of what else is going on.”
IYBI partners with homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and school districts, and receives sponsorship support from many community businesses. Click here to learn more about partnering with It’s Your Birthday.
“On birthday day, everybody is super excited. This has become such a great memory – not just for the child whose birthday we are celebrating, but also for their families. They have something to look forward to,” said Melanie Matthew, Program Coordinator, Room at the Inn. “Those memories are priceless!”
In celebration of National Children’s Day on June 12, IYBI is hosting a toy drive throughout the month of June. The greatest need is for toys for children under 5, and their goal is to collect 800 toys for their “Birthday-in-a-Box” and to give to other children in a shelter during a birthday party.
IYBI needs volunteers to continue their mission of creating fun and memorable birthday experiences for children. Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities, including opportunities for students. Click here to watch a time-lapse video of IYBI volunteers decorating for a party.