Giving Back: The Birthday Mail Project

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Each year, about 2.5 million kids will experience homelessness, according to the American Institutes for Research. Each year, those 2.5 million kids will also experience a birthday—but not necessarily a happy one.

The cake, presents, party festivities, and well wishes from family and friends that make a birthday truly special are hard to replicate in a shelter, meaning that many kids miss out on feeling like a star on their big day.

(Empathy Builder: Use 17-year-old Kevin's real-life account of homelessness to give your teens a sense of what it's like to live in a shelter.)    

To help ensure that every kid—regardless of living situation—gets the birthday celebration they deserve, DoSomething.org, a global social change organization dedicated to making the world suck less, is asking teens across the country to make blank, homemade birthday cards to send to children in homeless shelters.  

Starting now through June 30th, teens can head to DoSomething.org/BirthdayMail, to find a nearby shelter where they can mail their card creations. A shelter staff member will then fill out the inside of the card with a personalized message for the birthday boy or girl.

And as if spreading birthday cheer isn’t rewarding enough, teens who sign up for the campaign and upload a photo of their card will also be eligible to win a $5,000 scholarship. For more information, visit DoSomething.org/BirthdayMail

Creating birthday cards isn't the only way to help the homeless. For more inspiration, see how this 18-year-old provided simple-but-super aid to 3,000 struggling families