Posts filed under ‘Shelter Parties’

Local & national television media help spread the mission of Bright Blessings

STAY TUNED…  The mission and programs of Bright Blessings continues to spread to both local and national audiences!

NBC’s TODAY SHOW regular Sara Haines and producer Dana Roecker recently flew in from NYC to visit Bright Blessings and Charlotte Emergency Housing as they filmed and interviewed for a segment that will air on the TODAY SHOW at a date still to be announced.  Stay tuned for more information!

Mark your calendars or set your DVRs to record the Charlotte Today show, April 19, on local NBC affiliate WCNC-NewsChannel 36.  In February, reporter Davina Sutton spent time at the home of Bright Blessings founders Amy and John Cervantes and then filmed one of our Bless-A-Birthday parties in action at the YWCA.  Be sure to catch the show on April 19!

Local production company, Full Scale Productions, has recently been on site at Bright Blessings and at partner agency Florence Crittenton Services to capture the heart and impact of our Bless-A-Baby program.  This special video segment is for baby-care industry giant, Johnson & Johnson, and will air on the company’s Online Health Channel at a date to be announced.  More details soon!

March 26, 2011 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

Today Show’s Sara Haines visits Bright Blessings

CHARLOTTE, NC  Sara Haines with the Today Show made a visit to Bright Blessings!! She spent the afternoon with us at our new office as we prepared for a party and then headed over to a local shelter for a birthday party.  We had a fabulous dinner provided by the Ladies of Jack & Jill of America – Charlotte Chapter.  Then it was party time with our friends from FunkyTown Parties .  Sara and all our volunteers had a blast with the birthday kids and families dancing the night away.  Stay tuned for more details to watch our segment on the Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee.

March 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm Leave a comment

New volunteer positions available

February 2, 2011 – Bright Blessings continues to grow!  We are currently seeking volunteers to serve  as Facility Hosts at our new location, The Giving Village, in Matthews.  We are also seeking two Volunteer Co-Coordinators to help plan and carry out birthday celebrations for children at a local homeless shelter once per month.  Please click the link below to read more about these opportunities and let us know if you are interested in joining the Bright Blessings team! 

Facility Hosts and Volunteer Party Co-Coordinators

We are a volunteer-strong organization serving thousands of homeless children each year, thanks to the many helping hands and hearts who give so generously to help brighten the lives of kids in need.  Thanks for your interest in serving with Bright Blessings!

February 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm Leave a comment

Bright Blessings featured on “What’s Cooking” show!

January 24, 2011 – Tune in to AllRecipes.TV this Thursday morning, January 27, and view the “What’s Cooking” webisode featuring Bright Blessings! 

The segment will tell the Bright Blessings story with scenes of volunteers at our facility preparing gifts and supplies, cake baking and decorating by loyal pastry partner Suzi Allora of Suzi Skinny Cakes, and see the smiling faces of children at Charlotte Emergency Housing during a Bright Blessings birthday celebration.  

Michael Ketchum, host of the “What’s Cooking” show, and his team were here in Charlotte last November to see first hand what Bright Blessings is all about and to film the scenes for this special webisode.  We are honored and excited to be featured on the AllRecipes.com tv channel.  Our thanks to Michael and everyone at AllRecipes for helping share the mission and programs of Bright Blessings with their viewers. 

Be sure to tune in this Thursday morning, January 27,  for the “What’s Cooking” show!

January 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

New Year announcements: name change and plans for new local facility

 (Charlotte, N.C., January 10, 2010) – Birthday Blessings, a volunteer-led nonprofit serving homeless children and families across the greater Charlotte region, is proud to kick off the new year with two major announcements.  In addition to a name change, plans are under way for the organization’s new headquarters located in Matthews, North Carolina. 

 A new year, a new name:  Effective January 10, 2011, Birthday Blessings will become Bright Blessings USA (“Birthdays and Beyond for Homeless Children”), a strategic decision by the organization and its Board of Directors with twofold purpose: To better convey the breadth of the nonprofit’s programs and services which have evolved significantly since its founding; and to provide a unique and trademarked brand for the planned official launch of the organization’s National Affiliate Network.   

 “It’s amazing to see how the Charlotte community has wrapped itself around this organization, helping it grow to where it is today,” says Amy Cervantes, volunteer executive director and co-founder.  “John and I are constantly humbled by how much Bright Blessings has expanded and how many lives are being impacted as a result.  Our community is truly remarkable.”

 Service to the community, by the community:  After operating at its current location for two years, thanks to the generosity of partial donated space by local nonprofit LifeSpan Services, Bright Blessings is preparing to move its headquarters to Matthews.  This spring the organization will open the doors to its new facility, The Giving Village, a concept inspired by the nonprofit’s founding goal of providing relevant, hands-on volunteer opportunities for children—and people of all ages—in a safe, comfortable and uplifting environment.   The nearly 4,000 square foot facility located at 608-A Matthews-Mint Hill Road will be home to the Bright Blessings programs and its supporting projects, and will host hundreds of volunteers and visitors monthly.  Each aspect of the organization and its program services will be brought to life in the form of a small town operated by its “villagers”—a community of volunteers.  Facility details and layout are available online at www.BrightBlessingsUSA.org

 – – – –

 Bright Blessings began in 2005 as a family service project created by Mint Hill couple Amy and John Cervantes as way to help children in need while fostering a love for volunteerism in their own young children.  In 2008, they incorporated their service venture as a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, quickly expanding the organization’s programs and services.  Today, the programs of Bright Blessings reach more than 2,000 homeless children and families every year, thanks to success of its volunteer-led infrastructure and the many dedicated supporters and participants whose daily efforts help brighten the lives of children in need.   

For more information, go to http://www.BrightBlessingsUSA.org.

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January 10, 2011 at 6:51 am Leave a comment

$10 will sponsor a homeless child’s Trim-A-Tree project

November 2010:  Every year during December shelter parties, Birthday Blessings brings both birthday and holiday cheer to the homeless children and families we serve. Party themes also help celebrate the season and include a very special activity for each child and family: our annual Trim-a-Tree project.

Most homeless families living in community shelters where privacy is scarce and financials are depleted, do not have an opportunity to create individual family keepsakes during the holidays. Birthday Blessings’ annual Trim-a-Tree project provides a memorable experience for homeless families, creating cheer and strengthening family bonds during times of hardship.

Social workers at the Salvation Army Center of Hope tell us that their large communal room — lined with little trees next to bunk beds and on dressers — remains lit with joy and hope even long after the holidays have passed.

This year we are supporting more homeless children than ever, and we’re reaching out to our supporters to help us continue our Trim-a-Tree project during December birthday celebrations. Will you help?

For just $10, you can sponsor one tabletop tree, plus a bag of miniature decorations for a homeless child’s Trim-a-Tree project. During December parties, children and parents spend time together decorating their trees.  You can make a secure donation online, or mail a check payable to Birthday Blessings to: 200 Clanton Road, Charlotte, NC, 28217.  Your generosity is greatly appreciated during this season of giving!

November 16, 2010 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

Inaugural Boo Bash at Mothers & Children Housing Ministry in Cabarrus

CONCORD, NC – Staci Powell and a group of her friends from Providence Baptist Church adopted Birthday Blessings’ first party at the Mothers and Children Housing Ministry in Cabarrus County on October 13th. This Halloween-happy volunteer group brought an array of costumes for our dress-up Birthday Boo Bash. The children especially enjoyed playing the parts of Spider Man, Iron Man and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, ruby slippers and all!

They kept the party going with a rousing game of pin the nose on the jack-o-lantern.  The Providence Baptist group also brought supplies so young and old could make their own beautiful, comfy fleece pillows.  While making the pillows, a 6-year-old boy remarked that he could not wait to sleep with his because it was so soft and fluffy.

Following a meal of delicious pizza, the group enjoyed devouring festive cupcakes made by a 12-year-old volunteer.  All the kids received jack-o-lantern goody bags filled with trinkets and sweet treats.

When Birthday Blessings Volunteer Coordinator CJ Sammonds asked if they had fun, the kids all screamed “Yes!”  One little girl gleefully replied that the party was a “super fun time.”

Another great Birthday Blessings celebration with some super fun children!

Every October, Birthday Blessings and its volunteer groups host “Birthday Boo Bash” parties at homeless shelters across the region.  Most children living in transitional housing programs or emergency shelters aren’t able to participate in traditional holiday activities like dressing up and going door to door for fun treats.  Birthday Blessings is proud to bring Trick-or-Treat fun and Halloween festivities to children and families experiencing homelessness during our annual Boo Bash celebrations.

If you would like to adopt a party at the Mothers & Childrens Housing Ministry, email CJ Sammonds at CJ@birthdayblessings.org.

November 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

Turning Point of Union County parties with Birthday Blessings volunteers

Mary Kay consultants Crystal Coxton and Janet Warthen (from left to right)

MONROE, NC – On September 18, Birthday Blessings celebrated with the children and mothers staying at Turning Point of Union County, a facility that provides safe shelter to victims of domestic violence and their dependent children, while they learn how to break free from their abuser.

This celebration was a happy day of birthday festivities!  The children enjoyed traditional party fun of blowing bubbles, games, and arts and craft activities with Birthday Blessings volunteers, while their mothers enjoyed some much-needed pampering.

Adopt-a-Party group volunteers Crystal Coxton and Janet Warthen, Mary Kay consultants, brightened the days of the women by treating them to facials and makeovers.  “This feels so good,” said pregnant Alexis* after her day of beauty was complete. “I have never felt so good a day in my life.”

Olive Garden in Pineville was kind enough to donate lasagna, salad, and breaksticks, and the group also enjoyed pizza.  It was definitely appreciated, especially by those eating for two! And what party would be complete without birthday cake! Everyone enjoyed a giant cupcake-shaped cake surrounded by mini cupcakes provided by multi-talented Janet, who also owns and operates Smooth Creations Cakes.

Veteran Birthday Blessings volunteer party coordinator CJ Sammonds was there to brighten the day, as always.  The children (and adults) are drawn to her, said one of the staff members at Turning Point. She was shocked that a particular 3-year-old “smarty pants” took to CJ so quickly, as it usually takes much longer for the little girl to take a liking to people.  What a blessing!

It was another great day for Birthday Blessings and the children and families we serve.

*Alexis’ name has been changed for purposes of safety and privacy.

October 2, 2010 at 7:54 pm Leave a comment

First Birthday Blessings celebration at Children’s Attention Home

Birthday Blessings adopt-a-party volunteers (Bottom row - Matthew Thompson, Madison Gardner, Madison Ennis, Blake Stacy. Back row - Gerald Thompson, Tammy Thompson, Heather Gardner, Shannon Ennis, Stacy Ennis, Elizabeth Stacy, Steelie the Mad Scientist, Joshua Thompson)

ROCK HILL, SC – We are pleased to now be serving our second homeless facility in York County with monthly birthday celebrations! The Children’s Attention Home is a 24-hour emergency shelter and long-term residential facility for children who find themselves homeless due to abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment.

On August 28, Birthday Blessings Volunteer Party Coordinator Tammy Thompson, along with her family and the Stacey, Gardner, and Ennis families, helped host a Back-to-School Birthday Bash,  celebrating August birthdays with 30 children and five staff members at the Children’s Attention Home.

Mad Scientist Steelie with Mad Science, a long-time Program Support Partner of Birthday Blessings, entertained the boisterous bunch with her scientific expertise and crowd-pleasing experiments, and our adopt-a-party group provided cupcakes and ice cream. Our three special birthday guests of honor received their gift packages and goodies, as they were showered with lots of recognition and attention!

And, to ensure none of the children missed a birthday spotlight this year, a birthday fun bag was given to each child whose special day came before Birthday Blessings arrived.   As always, each of our party guests received a treat sack, along with a new book to help kick off the start of a new school year.

Tammy has also delivered five Blessing Baskets over the past month to new babies arriving to the Children’s Attention Home, giving each child a healthier and more positive start to life.

Said Tammy:  We had a great time with the children at Children’s Attention Home. The Mad Scientist was the highlight of the party, and she engaged the birthday kids to be her assistants. Some experiments went a little wacky, but it was ‘mad’ science after all! It was awesome to see the children all having fun. Several are anxiously awaiting their September birthday celebration.”

If you would like to adopt a future party at the Children’s Attention Home in Rock Hill, SC, please email Tammy at tammy@birthdayblessings.org.

September 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

Children at Salvation Army Center of Hope benefits from BAAERN’s Birthday Blessings/Toolbox 4 Education drive

Members of BAAERN (from left to right): Ebony Stubbs, Darlene Paschall, Greta Williams, Denae' Brown, and Nina Chenault

CHARLOTTE, NC – Wachovia’s Black/African-American Employee Resource Network (BAAERN) really knocked our socks off this month.  In addition to volunteering at our August party at the Salvation Army Center of Hope, this generous group collected 8,300 school supply items for their Birthday Blessings/Toolbox 4 Education donation drive.

The group collected such an abundance of school supplies, not only were they able to supply the 100 children living at the Salvation Army Center of Hope with back-to-school items, they were also able to give to four other organizations as well!

Said BAAERN committee chairperson, Denae’ Brown: “It brings me to tears each time when I see the room stacked with supplies that we need to sort for all the children. Despite the economic challenges going on in this day and time, people still give and are so willing and enthusiastic about giving as well … We are so thankful for being able to bring joy into someone’s life. “

In addition to coming to our office to help us organize and shelve donations, on August 17, six of BAAERN’s members set off for the second year in a row to help volunteer at our Back-to-School Birthday Bash for children living at the Salvation Army Center of Hope.

BAAERN gifted every child a jumbo bag filled with binders, folders, composition books, spiral notebooks, glue sticks, pencils, pens, markers, colored pencils, a dictionary, a calculator, and a ruler to complement the goodie bags, new books, and candy necklaces provided by Birthday Blessings.

Long-time Birthday Blessings partner, The Fun Bus, joined the festivities so the children could burn off some energy, after they enjoyed birthday cake and cupcakes in celebration of all the August birthdays. The children also enjoyed personalizing and decorating their very own journals and bookmarks.

Said Brown: “There was a mom there who had two children and one on the way. I had an opportunity to hand her daughter the toys that she received for her birthday, and the mom was overwhelmed with gratitude. It’s amazing to think that what some of us take for granted, for someone else is such a joy and such a blessing. I was glad to be able to witness that.”

BAAERN plans to continue making this Birthday Blessings party an annual event for their group, and for that, we are so thankful!

September 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

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