As Amy Cervantes watched her son Alex marvel at his gifts while surrounded by friends and family on his third birthday, she felt a twinge of sadness. The mother of three thought about the thousands of homeless kids who wouldn’t get to celebrate in such a joyous way and decided in that moment to do something about it.
Since making her resolution in 2005, Cervantes-along with her husband and three sons-has enabled more than 10,000 homeless children to properly revel on their birthdays, TODAY.com reports. The North Carolina family’s efforts have evolved into a full on nonprofit, Bright Blessings, and the organization is developing affiliates in a number of other states.
“We believe that birthdays are a celebration of life-a time to emphasize that your life has purpose, that you are a gift,” the Cervantes family told the Charlotte Observer. “For children who were already struggling with issues of poverty and homelessness, we couldn’t imagine how much worse they might feel waking up on their birthday and knowing there would be no celebration or special attention.”