Can you imagine never having a party? What would that be like? Tanvi Barman, Founder and CEO of No Birthday Left Behind (NBLB), found a way to give birthday parties for homeless children in shelters.

Barman, a college student in Southern California, volunteered in shelters with her mom and sister since she was 7 years old. “I would help serve breakfast at the shelter on Sundays. I would play with the homeless shelter children or eat breakfast with them. One particular conversation with one of the children made me rethink the blessed life I had and go through a deep soul searching,” says Barman.

Barman was talking about her birthday. The kids gave her blank stares. Barman asked her parents if homeless children had birthday parties. “I decided during my eighth-grade summer that I would host a birthday party for a shelter child to see if I could bring joy to one child,” she says.

To Barman, that first birthday party was extremely special to her. “I planned for weeks, putting together decorations, paperware, goody bags and even arts and crafts. That first party made me realize that one event, celebrating one child was not enough. If I was going to make a even a tiny difference, I had to find a way to  celebrate all homeless children and make them feel special on their birthday.”

Barman has been giving parties for four years. Today, the organization is run by volunteers. Each chapter in various cities is supported by its chapter leader and local volunteer groups who work together to plan needy children’s birthday parties in their shelters. People can sign up to volunteer in any number of ways. Barman says volunteers can help at NBLB events or contribute items for a party, or simply help manage a child’s game or craft activity. Barman’s dream is to build a national network of shelters, cake and entertainment vendors.

For more information, visit www.  or go to the group’s Facebook page.


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Karen Golden