I am pretty sure you’ve encountered this question before; ‘What is your most memorable birthday party?’ Birthday parties are a staple in every person’s life, and there will always be one in particular from our childhood that we will fondly remember.
But sadly, every child celebrating a birthday only happens in a perfect world. In reality, not everyone gets to celebrate their birthdays – like kids in shelters. And that is what Fremont teenager Tanvi Barman wants to help with.
Tanvi is only 16 years old, but she has already thrown 30 parties – not for herself, but for children in shelters – through the No Birthday Left Behind, a nonprofit organization that she founded.
The inspiration for starting this organization stems way back from her childhood. Since she was 7, Tanvi, her mother, and her sister have been involved in various service activities to support homeless families.
At the time, Tanvi was too young to help out in the kitchen, so she would instead play and talk with the children in the shelter. One day, when they were volunteering to serve breakfast at a homeless shelter in their town, Tanvi thought of asking the kids a question – the answer to which would change her outlook in life forever.
“My birthday was coming up and I was getting excited about my birthday party,” she said. “I asked one of them, ‘When is your birthday coming up?’ and they didn’t really respond.”
That’s when she realized that life in the shelters was quite different from the life that she was living as a girl with a home and a family.
“I don’t even think they knew what a birthday party was. A birthday party is a whole experience. It’s not just a piece of cake. It’s not just one present. It’s a whole thing,” she said.
Tanvi understood that these homeless children’s parents can only provide their family’s basic needs, and throwing a birthday party is a luxury that they can’t afford. Deprived of the normal upbringing that a regular child has, Tanvi wanted these kids to experience the same kind of birthday party that she was accustomed to.
This desire of hers sparked the idea to establish No Birthday Left Behind.
Tanvi now works with five different shelters and hosts monthly birthday parties for the child whose birthday falls on that month. Recently, they threw a party for a 2-year-old at LifeMoves in San Jose. The birthday was filled with pizza, cake, crafts, an Easter egg hunt, and even a professional magic show! Surely, the little girl enjoyed every minute of her birthday party.
“It’s just a heartwarming experience,” Tanvi said. “I love spending time with kids. Seeing a kid smile makes me really, really happy.”
It’s inspirational to see that at such a young age, Tanvi has already found a way to make other children’s lives a little brighter. For sure, this teen will be doing greater things in the future for humanity, and we hope that other people will be encouraged by her example and join her in this altruistic endeavor.
Watch the video below from CBS NEWS to learn more about Tanvi and her organization.
If you would like to get involved in this program and help the homeless children, click HERE.