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Teen Hosts Birthday Parties For Homeless Children: ‘Every Child Deserves A Party’

When you're a kid, birthdays are a pretty huge deal.

Maybe nowadays you forgo the fanfare in favor of a more subdued celebration with a handful of friends and some really good food. But we all have a party from our youth that we think back on and remember fondly as being the best birthday ever.

For me, that was my sixth birthday when my dad spent a week painstakingly filling out backyard with sand, toys, and an inflatable pool so I could have my very own "beach bash", despite being miles away from the nearest beach.

But unfortunately, not all children have people in their lives to celebrate their biggest milestones with. And one California teen has taken it upon herself to change that.

17-year-old Tanvi Barman has been volunteering at shelters with her family since she was seven.

No Birthday Left Behind

Since she wasn't old enough to work in the kitchen with her mom and sister, she often spent time with the kids there to keep them company and was devastated to learn that the children in these shelters often don't get to celebrate their own birthdays.

"I asked one of [the kids], 'When is your birthday coming up?' and they didn't really respond," Barman recalled to NBC Bay Area.

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Worse yet, some of the children have never even had a birthday party and don't know what it is.

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"A birthday party is a whole experience," Barman said. "It's not just a piece of cake. It's not just one present. It's a whole thing. Every child deserves a party."

As she explained to India West, many of the kids in these places have parents who are unemployed and who get moved around a lot, leaving little time for something like a birthday celebration.

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Barman said this is what inspired to start her non-profit organization, "No Birthday Left Behind", back in 2016.

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According to its official website, the organization has one simple mission: "to provide every homeless shelter child an opportunity to celebrate their birthday in a special and memorable way."

"It's very hard for these children to get a source of happiness in their lives," Barman told CBS News. "I can provide them a day where they feel special and loved."

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Every month, she calls five different shelters to find out which kids have birthdays during that month.

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Then, she goes about organizing the kind of birthday party she was accustomed to having as a kid. Pizzas are donated from local chains and cakes come courtesy of another non-profit organization, Cake4Kids which donates fresh cakes to children living in shelters.

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Each birthday child receives their very own present and they get goodie bags to hand out to the other kids helping them celebrate their big day.

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No Birthdays Left Behind has amassed a generous troupe of volunteers to keep the children happy and entertained. Bubble-makers, balloon artists, clowns, puppeteers, face painters, and magicians have all volunteered with the organization to help make one deserving child's birthday as special and as memorable as possible.

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Barman is heading off to college soon, and she said she wants to grow the organization so it can continue, even after she's gone.

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She'd also like to scale up the program so it can help even more children, including those in foster care facilities and orphanages.

"It's hard for me to see the environment some kids in," she admitted. "My friends, our childhood, we don't appreciate what we get so easily, and what our parents are willing to give us. These kids — they get so much joy out of a simple party."

h/t: CBS News, NBC Bay Area, India West

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