Birthday Dreams: making wishes come true
January 19, 2018
In Renton, down on 1101 Bronson Way, a little house right next to the Renton Library serves as a hub for everything a child could want. It’s a place filled with walls of wrapping paper, shelves of toys and candy, and boxes full of ribbon. The warm atmosphere creates a sense of belonging and a desire to serve. This place is the Birthday Dreams headquarters.
Birthday Dreams is a nonprofit organization that works to give homeless children the joy and hope that comes along with a birthday celebration. They believe that every child deserves an amazing birthday party, regardless of their circumstances.
Founders Shannon Avery and Chris Spahn started this project around nine years ago with the hope that they could do something to help homeless children, while also creating a space for kids and teens to volunteer at.
“When Chris and I were looking for a place to volunteer with our kids, we were having a hard time finding a place that kids could volunteer, and it would also be fun. After volunteering at the Coast Guard Wives annual Stockings for Homeless Kids event, we found out approximately how many homeless kids there are in the Puget Sound area. This really touched our hearts and we wanted to do something to help them and their families,” related the founders.
Though they have six part-time employees, the impact that volunteers make is astronomical. The organization relies heavily on their help to make sure birthday celebrations can happen as often as possible.
Co-founder Avery even states that “Every week we prep birthdays for 15-25 children. Without volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to help as many as we are!”
Volunteering for birthday dreams can involve any number of activities. The staff there are always looking for people to assist with different jobs that all play their parts in helping the parties come together. On any given day there could be volunteers wrapping presents, counting gifts, curling ribbon, baking cakes, and much more.
Volunteering is as easy as knocking on the door and signing up. The close proximity to Renton High School also makes it a great place for students to volunteer at whether it’s to get graduation hours or just because of how nice it feels to give back to the community.
Junior Kerry Diaz has been helping out at Birthday Dreams since freshman year and still tries her hardest to go every Friday, despite being in sports. She’s done a number of jobs from wrapping gifts to curling ribbons and enjoys how much her effort means to people.
“I like knowing that I’ve made a little kid’s day, even if its tying bows on gifts, it just, it makes me happy knowing that I did that for a little kid,” says Diaz.
When asked what she would say to anyone curious about volunteering, Kerry thinks that they should give it a try.
“Just go for it because you can’t really lose anything, you’re helping a little kid’s birthday be more awesome and that’s always a plus.”
Co-founder Avery agrees, saying that anyone curious should stop by to learn more about the program.
“Come check us out! Stop by the office, get a tour, learn more about how you can get involved!”
However, there are many more ways to help out besides volunteering. Donating toys, cash, or sharing the mission of Birthday Dreams with others also creates a huge impact and means a lot to the growth of the project.
Shannon attests to this reminding people that “the more you share, the more others hear about our mission and get involved!”
Follow and Share the Birthday Dreams Message