Greenhill Hosts Event for The Birthday Project

Scarlett Song

The Greenhill School partnered with The Birthday Party Project on Saturday, Feb. 18 for a school-wide event supporting the mission to spread joy to children across the United States experiencing homelessness.

2.5 million children are living in shelters across the U.S. The Birthday Party Project (BPP) is a Dallas-based charity whose official mission is to bring joy to children experiencing homelessness through the gift of a birthday celebration. They throw birthday parties that provide gifts and cards for these children.

Sarah Yousuf, a parent organizer, brings this project back to the Greenhill School by putting together a school-wide social event. Yousuf and Beena Momin are both parents of lower school students at Greenhill, and the Parents Association community chairs for this school year. They say that BPP’s mission resonated with Greenhill’s community.

According to Yousuf, she was already doing previous projects to help feed the homeless population. These projects included organizing donations, volunteering to serve lunch at the Austin Street shelter every month, and holding a toy drive around the holidays. The BBP matches the type of charity they wanted Greenhill students to support.

“We’ve admired and supported BPP over the years as a family, so I felt it would be great to support the organization in a big way,” said Yousuf.

The partnership between BPP and Greenhill dates back several years. Current freshman Lily Marshall wrote a writing piece on BPP in second grade that inspired classrooms in subsequent years to take field trips to BPP to make favor bags. Unfortunately ending when COVID-19 hit, Yousuf is happy to bring it back, gathering whole families together in a way that is enjoyable and productive.

According to Yousuf, they expected a large turnout from Preschool and Lower School students. They wanted to organize the first ever BPP all-school community service event whose mission would gain support from the whole community, particularly the younger children.

The first event was held on Saturday, Feb. 18, and volunteers were able to make 1,937 bags filled with all sorts of toys. These donations will go towards birthday parties for kids in BPP and it also works to spread awareness for the project and the cause in general.

With people of all ages coming and going from the event as they wish, upper school volunteers helped greet people, organize and keep everything in order.

“This project is special because it brings our community together by working towards supporting a cause that brings joy to homeless children through birthday celebrations,” said freshman Sophie Slotnik.

“The Birthday Party Project is a very special charity because they fill a gap that many people do not always think to address,” Yousuf said. “It’s natural to focus on only the basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, education) when thinking about ways to help others. But children need joy in their lives too. And while a birthday party may not address a child’ most basic physical needs, I think this charity really helps support their emotional needs.”

After the first ever BPP event at Greenhill, Yousuf and Momin feel it was a success and well-received by the community. They hope to continue it annually.