"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them."
Lady Bird Johnson, former U.S. First Lady
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.
The Latest and Greatest
Exciting news! As of April 19th, 2011, Birthday Smiles is an official 501(c)(3) organization! Not only does this help the organization gain extensive credibility in the communities where we work, but it also means that any financial donations that were provided in 2011 are now tax deductible! As always, we appreciate the help that everyone has provided us in so many ways, and hope that this status continues to encourage people to help these wonderful children.
February: Risë Justice, the founder of Birthday Smiles has been selected by Denver’s 9News for February’s winner of the 9Who Care award! This award is presented to outstanding volunteers of Colorado. Birthday Smiles received a cash award and is featured on 9News.com. Click HERE to see the full story on this wonderful achievement!
Birthday Smiles continues to prosper and celebrate with approximately 75 children every month. Because of additions to my wonderful family, twins (Avery and Parker) born to son Adam (he keeps this site running!) and wife Kelly in June, and my hope to continue to help with my other two spectacular grandchildren, Gwen,4, and Owen,1, It was my goal this year to get some wonderful people to step up and adopt a monthly party consistently every month.
How lucky was I to find Angela Richburg and her incredible family to adopt the Comitis Center. As of July, Angela will take over that party with all the planning and execution and become a member of the Birthday Smiles board. Thank you Richburgs, you help make us a better organization.
We also continue to celebrate monthly with The Colfax Community Network and The Family Tree House of Hope. CCN continues to inspire me. Their care of these special children is an inspiration to us all and we look forward to their smiling faces every month. We also participated in special projects with them over the last 6 months which have allowed them to better serve their community. Thank you Jin and Mickie for your continued support and boundless energy with these children.There have been so many of you that have stepped up this year to make sure we can continue this mission, not the least of which is the Northrop Grumman Echo Foundation and Karen Gutierrez, our constant friend. I just told the Birthday Smiles story to the ladies of P.E.O who honored us with a check and party supplies; Renee Statham who donates with every paycheck she gets; Jim Elliot Christian Academy with another load of beautiful crafts for our children; Larry Yoder at THE BOOKIES, an incredible children's book store at 4315 E. Mississippi who gave us 6 large boxes of books for our kiddos; posters from the Cornerstone Christian Academy to adorn those drab walls; the Denver Cycle "Ladies" who honor us every year with a Bingo fundraiser; children who have dedicated their birthdays to us so that those kiddos who would not have gotten gifts are honored; adults who have donated to Birthday Smiles in honor of children or relatives....too many to list here, but please know how appreciative I am of your generosity. Without all of you, this organization would not exist.
If any of you want to adopt the Family Tree House of Hope (Floyd and Grant in Englewood) I am up to the discussion. That party is the 3rd Tues of every month from 6:30 to 7:30.
Birthday Smiles just registered with Amazon Smiles who donates a portion of your purchase on Amazon to us....no cost to you! So keep that in mind when you are making that impulse buy at 4 in the morning. Just register your purchase with Amazon Smiles for Birthday Smiles....pretty easy.
Party On and remember, when you put a smile on a child's face, you make the world a better place.