Ca. (CBS) — Seventeen-year-old Tanvi Barman spends most of her free time throwing birthday parties. But not for people she knows – for homeless children who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
The high school senior travels to different homeless shelters around the Bay Area and throws personalized parties for children there. Barman has been working on her organization since she was in eighth grade. She calls it “No Birthday Left Behind.”
Barman told CBS News she got the idea when she was volunteering with her family at a homeless shelter. It later hit her that the pleasures in life she takes for granted – like birthday parties – may be unavailable to homeless children.
“A birthday party is such a big experience for a child and I think it was one of my favorite memories growing up,” Barman said. “We all look forward to our birthdays ever year. We all do. And it’s sad that these children, who are just like us, don’t have the opportunity to have a birthday.”
She first began reaching out to local vendors for kids’ party food and entertainment and started collecting donations for decorations.
Her efforts have inspired several homeless shelters in the area to reach out to “No Birthday Left Behind” when one of their young residents is having a birthday. Barman then works with several vendors to plan the party.
CBS News tagged along when Barman visited the FESCO Banyan House Family Shelter in Hayward, California. There, she threw a party for 14-year-old Anneth.
Barman got Anneth a birthday crown, planned arts and crafts activities, brought a piñata and hired a face painter for the party. The birthday girl got a cake from “Cakes for Kids,” another charity Barman partners with that makes personalized birthday treats for underserved children.
Barman showed up at the shelter after school to set up for the party and she ran the show during the birthday festivities. “No Birthday Left Behind” is a huge time commitment and the teen said she wouldn’t be able to help others without the help of her parents.
“I think my parents are really the backbone help to this program,” she said. “I think it would be very difficult to get around the city, drive to each city. And also, if I ever forget one thing, my parents are always there to back me up.”
Barman’s parents, however, told CBS News “No Birthday Left Behind” is all her – and it’s run from the kindness in her heart.