About The Party People:
The Birthday Squad of Buffalo was born when Julie Schmit (former Director of Communications at Camp Good Days & Special Times, who was home watching her 3 children grow), got a nudge in the form of an email from her friend Tricia Caruso in 2009. The note read: This sounds like you, DO IT! It came with a link to Birthday Wishes, an organization run by women who host birthday parties for hundreds of homeless children in the Boston area. Inspired by the joy they were bringing in such a simple yet meaningful way, Julie met with two of these wonderful ladies, and returned to Buffalo ready to help. She and longtime friend Diane Kowalski, who has dedicated her life to helping children, decided to make a local homeless shelter their first stop. They got the go-ahead to start throwing birthday parties at Cornerstone Manor, the Women & Children's safe house associated with the Buffalo City Mission.
The parties at the shelter were held each month for the next 7 years, with all residents being invited to celebrate the children with birthdays that particular month. Hundreds of children and women have been delighted (and have also been appreciative and delightful) at Birthday Squad parties.
Wanting to help as many children as possible, the Birthday Squad added a local Boys & Girls Club to the monthly party list in 2013. These parties were phenomenal and attended by 60 members each month until January of 2017, when we moved to a different Boys & Girls Club to help a new group of children (with 150 members). We happily celebrated everyone's birthdays there and in January of 2018, moved to yet a different Boys & Girls Club for the year; our plan is to switch it up on an annual basis, to help as many children as possible. In addition to our main monthly party, in 2017 we held several parties for children at the Vive La Casa shelter in Buffalo, which houses people who have fled war-torn lands, and we've also recently been delivering birthday party supplies for impoverished children who receive services from PATH Enrichment Center in Buffalo. Over the years, we have also delivered gifts and cupcakes to some homeless schoolchildren (when contacted by school administrators) and to famiies through local food pantries, and we are honored to be able to help.
From the very beginning, our success has been due to our super-loyal, dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers of all ages.
Throwing parties and bringing balloons, decorations, food, entertainment and goodies is a relatively simple way to bring joy into lives. Many parents of the children have told us that they have never had a birthday cake themselves. We always have gifts for the children who are celebrating their birthdays that month. And we hand out cupcakes and ice cream (and sing "Happy Birthday to You!") and all of the children get a goody bag. Then we provide entertainment. Over the years, the fun has included the likes of magicians, clowns, singers, face-painters, caricaturists, ponies, a quiz show host, animal educators, drum circles, martial arts experts, carnival games, cookie decorating, pumpkin-painting, and many arts and crafts. And we are proud to say that we also bring a lot of laughter and happiness!
It was in December of 2010 that the Birthday Squad of Buffalo was officially granted tax-exempt status, allowing the organization to begin securing donations to help create joy for even more children in the Buffalo area.
The Birthday Squad is able to provide birthday celebrations to groups of impoverished/homeless children in the Buffalo area (and to homeless children in their schools, when notified by the child's teachers or guidance counselors). If you know of children whose birthdays might otherwise go unnoticed, or if you are interested in helping, please contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org. A heartfelt thank you goes out to everybody who helps bring joy through our nonprofitorganization, which is 100% volunteer-run.
May your birthdays always be happy! Julie Schmit
*We DO NOT publish photos of residents from the safe house on this site, or on any site. Photos of residents can not be published on this website. Please trust us, there are a lot of smiles at the birthday parties at the safe house, too! The only photos shown are of Birthday Squad Volunteers and children from other Birthday Squad venues.
Birthday Squad of Buffalo,
is a 501(c)(3) organization,
created to bring joy & hope
to impoverished and/or
homeless children in
the Buffalo, NY area.
We have learned
that it can be relatively easy
to make a positive difference in the world.
So we do.
Our mission is simple: Provide fun & memorable birthday celebrations for children who might otherwise go without.