Bringing hope, joy and a sense of self-worth to homeless children with the gift of a birthday party.

Meet our Volunteers

Every month we honor a volunteer or group of volunteers in our newsletter and on our website. Our volunteers make the birthday magic happen! Read their stories and get inspired.

The Johnston Family

We have so many amazing volunteers. What's even more amazing is that we have families who volunteer together.  Birthday Dreams is one of those charities that have volunteer opportunities for all ages. Parents and children can volunteer together. We are grateful for our volunteering families.   

One of these amazing family of volunteers is the Johnston family: Ken, Karen and high school students David and Grace.

From Karen: 

Birthday Dreams provides perfect opportunities for me to get my family involved in giving back.  My husband and I have supported Birthday Dreams for years - mainly by attending and donating through their annual gala.  Recently we've been encouraged to take a more hands on approach so we’ve been involved in community outreach - evangelize for Birthday Dreams, spread the mission, encourage others to get involved.  I decided that getting involved needed to include my high school kids.  Together we’ve teamed up for the Birthday Dreams 10th Birthday Party, worked the booth at Renton River Days and helped host a "goody bag/party hat" party at Microsoft.  It has been great to be able to include my entire family in support of Birthday Dreams.

A few words from Ken:

They say life can be hard, life can be challenging, and life is always complicated but Birthday Dreams is simple, at least to me, and it is that very simple and clear idea that drew me to this wonderful and amazing charity.  For the children in our area, just down the street and around the corner, who are struggling through displacement, a lack of a home and the steady presence of a parent, we will honor them on their day.  Yup, it's a simple idea.  Let's throw a birthday party for children in shelters, foster care group homes, or homeless so that on that day that is supposed to be their day, the day that recognizes they turned another year older, that they are part of this world and growing up and through it, they are recognized.  Every event I do that they ask me to say why I volunteer, this thought comes to me, it is a real thought, a simple thought, and one that presses hard upon my heart but in a good way.  Volunteering is easy.  Giving time, giving money, and giving support are easy. Knowing that you have touched a young life and brought back to them a moment of dream, of recognition, of potential and opportunity is a blessing.  I think I volunteer with Birthday Dreams because their cause, our cause, crushes my heart and fills it back at the same time.  Thank you, Birthday Dreams,for your simple, true, honest vision.

Thank you to the Johnston family for your support and choosing to donate your time to Birthday Dreams. 

Jim and Carol Waugh

Jim Waugh started volunteering at Birthday Dreams in January 2019 and in the seven months since he has made over 125 deliveries. To boot, while he is out delivering birthdays-in-a-box, his wife Carol spends time in the office wrapping gifts.

Jim's enthusiasm and commitment is greatly appreciated by Birthday Dreams staff and party recipients alike. Thank you Jim and Carol.

Liz Mitchell

Liz shares her card makingskills, leading volunteer groups in making beautifully custom-crafted birthdaycards for Birthday Dreams recipients. In October alone, Liz hosted sevenMicrosoft Micro-Give card making events where 150 Microsoft employees donatedtheir "lunch hour" to make 298 cards. To boot, Microsoft will make acash donation to match the volunteer hours.

Liz said, "I’ve been a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator forsix years and absolutely love it. It allows me to spend time with my girlscreating fun cards and gifts for their friends and classmates. I alsoenjoy time with my grownup friends gathering together to connect, catch up andcraft. Now, thanks to Birthday Dreams, I get to share my love ofcard-making with new friends, with the end goal of bringing a smile to achild’s face – it really doesn’t get much better than this!"

Liz, who had been on hiatus from card-making tofocus on her family, says, "Volunteering this past month for BirthdayDreams has reignited my spark and reminded me of how good it feels to connectwith people and share what I love."


Darcy started volunteering for Birthday Dreams in January of this year. She was fortunate enough to take an early retirement from Boeing and after 31 years of the corporate world wanted to be involved in something where she felt like she could make a difference. Darcy wanted to give back to the community and helping kids has always been something that meant a lot to her. Being able to put a smile on a child’s face and some joy in their hearts is rewarding.

At Birthday Dreams, Darcy started with Birthday-in-a-Box deliveries.  Just recently she took on some additional activities such as coordinating goody bag parties with the community, participating in committees and fundraising events, and has even been to Costco, Microsoft and Camp Kindness Counts helping them give back.

Darcy’s favorite moment with Birthday Dreams so far was when she delivered a birthday box to a 3-year-old who was home with her mom at the time.  As Darcy was leaving the apartment the girl came running out to stop her, gave Darcy a big hug and thanked her for bringing her birthday to her!  Darcy was so touched by this moment that she had to quickly return to her car before the tears started flowing.

As a child, Darcy’s mom always made her birthdays very special.  All of the kids in the neighborhood were invited over, she baked our cakes and they played games.  She can't imagine not being celebrated on her birthday as a kid, which is what makes Birthday Dreams such a meaningful organization to her.  

Geri Buchman

Our volunteer highlight this month is Geri Buchman. Geri not only donates a great amount of time to handwriting our Thank You Cards, but she also generously donates the stamps for the cards as well. Her handwriting is so perfect, it's hard to tell her writing from printed material!

"When I started volunteering in February of 2012, Birthday Dreams was three years old. Since then, the organization has had tremendous growth in parties and donors." - Geri Buchman 

From June 2014 until the end of that year, she wrote and sent 351 cards, 2015 was 562 cards and 2016 was 498 cards, and year to date she's written 136 and still has 125 to go!

WOW! Geri, we are so grateful for all your do for us here at Birthday Dreams! Thank you for your continued support. You are a gift to us!  


Q:When did you start volunteering for BirthdayDreams?
A: In November 2016, I made my first donations and then began volunteering inthe office.


Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with BirthdayDreams?
A: I have been involved with Operation Christmas Child for the last severalyears, assembling gift donations for children in war-torn, poverty-strickenareas of the world. I was on the lookout for a program through which I coulduse similar skills and resources, but on a local level and all throughout theyear. I saw Birthday Dreams' website and was immediately moved to seek themout!


Q: How do you volunteer for Birthday Dreams?(Make cakes, deliver, on-site parties, etc.)
A: I volunteer in the office and am acting as project manager for theupcoming Kids Ninja Warrior Challenge event.


Q: What has helped you want to volunteer more?
A: When the BD staff and volunteers talk about preparing for a party, I hearthem discuss, plan and execute each detail with as much love and attention asif they are planning a party for their own child. This makes me want to makethe most of each small opportunity to create a moment of joy for another child(particularly one in the midst of struggles).


Q: What is one of your favorite birthday memories as a child? 
A: My favorite birthday memory was of a surprise party my family threw for meon my 8th birthday.  My dad was responsible for making up an excuse to getme to my room where a small group of friends was hiding.  He said"Can you go check your room? Um...I think I left my wallet on,dresser".  When I opened the door, they all shouted"Surprise!  Happy Birthday!!".  I said "Wow,thanks!  Oh, and by the way, did anyone see my Dad's wallet in here?"My sister had to explain that the wallet was just a diversion to get me to comeupstairs. I was always the gullible one in the family!


Q: When did you start volunteering for Birthday Dreams?
About 3 years ago

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with Birthday Dreams?
I absolutely love the mission of Birthday Dreams. It's wonderful to bring joy to a child and their family.

Q: What was the reason you started to volunteer?

A: When I retired I began looking for the right volunteer opportunity that fit into my world.  I feel blessed and wanted to give back to the community in some way.  However, being retired, my husband and I want to do some traveling, so I need to have flexibility.  I go to the calendar when I'm in town and able, and just plug in what days work for me.  I had tried volunteering for a few places prior to BD, but they just weren't a good fit.  I hope to continue for quite some time.  Until they pull my keys!

Q: How do you volunteer for Birthday Dreams? (Make cakes, deliver, on-site parties, etc.)

A: I deliver the birthday in a box which is the perfect fit for me.

Q: What is your favorite part of volunteering?

A: I love the feedback from whoever is a home to accept the party box.  They are always so appreciative.  I always get thanked more than once.  I sort of get all the credit and all I do is drive around!  But I realize that's a key component.

Q: What has helped you want to volunteer more?

A: The positive feedback and knowing that I'm bringing joy to a child and the parents.  "Making a memory" is what I call it.

Q: Share one of your favorite experiences with Birthday Dreams.

A:  Well, it's not my favorite, but it comes to mind.  The time I had a beautiful cake in the back of my car, and the cake slid forward and dropped onto the floor when I had to brake suddenly.  I had a huge mess to clean up when I got home and also had to run to a nearby store and buy a cake.  I have since learned to position the cakes so they won't slide.  Live and learn!

Q: Use one word to describe what you feel when you do work with Birthday Dreams (fulfilled, joy, love, hope, etc.)
Fulfilled is a good word to describe how I feel.

Q: What is one of your favorite birthday memories as a child?

A: I'm so old I don't really have a particular birthday memory.  But we did celebrate them as a family.  I was not deprived of that.

Thank you, Mae for all you do and congrats on your 100th delivery!


Dalia and Yosef

Q: When did you start volunteering for Birthday Dreams?
Dalia - 2014 for the Auction
Yosef - Same as my mom.

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with Birthday Dreams?
Dalia - I saw their booth at an event. After speaking to their awesome staff and learning more about what they did, I thought that it sounded like a great cause and I wanted to help. I love being able to share this volunteer experience with y son and continue to teach him how to be giving and thankful for everything that he has. I have always taught him that there are people in the world that don't have food to eat, clean water to drink, nice clothes to wear, a roof over their head, let alone toys to play with. I want him to remember that we can help make a difference.
Yosef - Because it sounded fun and I like to help kids that don't have birthdays.

Q: What was the reason you started to volunteer?

A: Dalia - I wanted to help plan their auction, so they could raise money for the kids' birthday parties.

Yosef - Because my mom started.

Q: How do you volunteer for Birthday Dreams? (Make cakes, deliver, on-site parties, etc.)

A: Dalia - I am on their auction planning committee. Yosef and I have been wanting to help with on-site parties for a long time and we want to make cakes, although I don't make the prettiest ones.

Yosef - Do events like Kids Ninja Warrior. I help set-up and it's fun!

Q: What is your favorite part of volunteering?

A: Dalia - I love knowing that I helped kids have a birthday that they wouldn't have otherwise.

Yosef - that I get to help kids that don't have toys.

Q: What has helped you want to volunteer more?

A: Dalia - I really enjoy everyone who is a part of Birthday Dreams and how passionate they are about their mission. I've enjoyed seeing how much the organization has grown these past few years as well.

Yosef - To help kids that don't have birthdays and don't have toys.

Q: Share one of your favorite experiences with Birthday Dreams.

A: Dalia - I loved planning the Kids Ninja Warrior event with my son. He helped make the promotional video and then competed in the event. He also helped set up before the event started and had fun making some of the announcements on the microphone.

Yosef - I liked to do hard things at Kids Ninja Warrior. I'm happy that I did that video for Kids Ninja Warrior too.

Q: Use one word to describe what you feel when you do work with Birthday Dreams (fulfilled, joy, love, hope, etc.)
Dalia - Fulfilled
Yosef - Love <3

Q: What is one of your favorite birthday memories as a child?

A: Dalia - I had a hard time thinking of this one. I'd have to say that I agree with Yosef's answer below.

Yosef - Having friends at my birthday.

Thank you Dalia and Yosef!


Meet Christine

Christine is one of our hard working, dedicated volunteers. She helps birthday dreams in so many different areas including cake baking, deliveries, wrapping gifts and volunteering at events.

Q: When did you start volunteering at Birthday Dreams?
A: I started volunteering for Birthday Dreams in April 2015.

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with Birthday Dreams?
A: I moved to Renton in late 2014 and I was looking for a close volunteer opportunity. Birthday seemed like a happy, joyful opportunity and it has been more than I ever imagined.

Q: What was the reason you started to volunteer?
A: I was fortunate to have many birthday celebrations growing up and I wanted to be a small part of giving that back to kids.

Q: How do you volunteer for Birthday Dreams?
A: I have made/donated 75 cakes, done deliveries, I assisted with wrapping for donations event and Barnes and Noble during the holiday season. I have volunteered for the Renton River Days booth and recently have assisted with giving volunteer orientations.

Q: What is your favorite part ofvolunteering?
A: Seeing the happiness Birthdays brings to children and meeting new volunteers.

Q: What has helped you want tovolunteer more?
A: The staff at Birthday Dreamsis amazing, their dedication is infectious and they are a    pleasure to work with.

Q: What is one of your favoritebirthday memories as a child?
A: I wanted a pool party one year for my birthday. Growing up in New England and having a birthday in January it snowed on my birthday many years. A pool party in January was not common. I remember one year I waited and had a pool party in June. It was worth the wait!

Q: Use one word to describe how you feel when you do work with Birthday Dreams.
A: Happy

Thank you, Christine!

Nicole Walker

Meet Nicole Walker! She is one of our amazing party coordinators for Mama's Hands in North Bend and Passage Point in Maple Valley!    

Q: When did you start volunteering at Birthday Dreams?
A: MLK day of 2015. I was from a Costco Volunteer group. I had the day off from Costco and the group came to the heaquarters to make birthday goodie bags for the homeless children.

Q: What made you start volunteering?
A: My goal was to get my children involved in giving back to their community. This was the perfect fit. Depending on my family's needs we could volunteer at a shelter, make cakes or donate birthday supplies. We could also have fundraisers at home making our own birthday goodie bags. Birthday Dreams gives homeless children hope. I wanted to be a part of that. I love being part of that.

Q: What do you like to do in your "spare time"?
A: I love to read, go boating/fishing, being with my family and giving back to the community.

Q: Tell us something interesting about you that most people don't know?
A: I am addicted to books. My reading list is longer that I want to admit. I just added another 20 books last week. I just started sewing. Now I make squares for Wounded Soldiers Quilts and baby blankets. I am thinking about making a Seahawks quilt for Royal Dreams Gala in October.

Thank you, Nicole for all you do for Birthday Dreams!

Eastside Catholic School

ThankYouA big thank you to Eastside Catholic for visiting our office and doing much needed miscellaneous projects! They wrapped gifts, wrapped boxes, made goody bags and goody bag ribbons and stuffed envelopes. This is their senior year. They have been coming in for three years, and this is their last year. Thank you for all of your help over the years!! We appreciate all you have done for Birthday Dreams!  

United Way KC Emerging Leaders

The United Way King County Emerging Leaders had a goody bag party on Saturday and made 315 goody bags. Volunteers from Amazon decorated and filled the bags. With 25+ enthusiastic people, it was a lot of fun!

Malaya Medrano

This month we would like to highlight a very special volunteer, Malaya Medrano. Malaya is a very incredible 15-year-old who has been volunteering with Birthday Dreams for about 4 years. When asked why she chose Birthday Dreams she said "Birthday parties have always been a big part of my family. Being able to provide that same joy and happiness to those in need is not only fun and easy, but creates a lasting and positive impact". Malaya does other volunteer work as well, mainly centered around youth/family homelessness. She is also a proud Girl Scout currently working on her Gold award. Malaya says she feels happiest when spending time educating people, or learning from them. "Knowledge is a very powerful tool, and can be gained from or shared with anyone".
Malaya said something that most people don't know about her, is that she really likes reptiles and hopes to have one as pet someday.
Thank you Malaya, we are lucky to have you as a volunteer and voice for Birthday Dreams!