CUPERTINO (CBS 5) – For homeless parents, children’s birthdays can be heartbreaking if you can’t afford gifts. But this week’s Jefferson Award winner, an ambitious and altruistic South Bay teenager, is making birthday wishes come true for hundreds of homeless children.

Every month, 14-year-old Yasmine Davis throws a birthday party for kids she doesn’t even know. So why does she do it?

“If they’re not celebrating their birthday it might put them down on a day that they’re supposed to be super happy and excited,” Davis explained.

There is no denying that Davis has not spared any amount of effort in ensuring that these children are able to celebrate their birthdays in a fantastic way. The Cupertino ninth grader has used private donations to buy pizza and gifts from kids’ wish lists; she has baked cupcakes for them from scratch.

Davis founded the non-profit “Make a Birthday Wish” three years ago, when she was just 11 years old. The idea was borne out of one of Oprah Winfrey’s shows on the growing number of homeless children. Davis then decided to make birthdays special for children whose parents cannot afford presents.

“I want them to feel good about themselves and just because they’re not able to celebrate their birthday they shouldn’t feel bad or that they’re less than anyone else,” Davis said.

Davis has hosted birthdays at the various Bay Area homeless shelters. This year, she partnered with West Valley Community Services. She has held the parties at the Cupertino center.

Kids like 12-year-old Travis Lloyd were the guests of honor. Travis’s mom, Kellie, lost her home and job. She was grateful for “Make a Birthday Wish”.

“Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to give him a birthday present. The shoes really helped,” she remarked.

Though her mom – an entrepreneur – helped her give birth to the non-profit, Davis has been running with it on her own with volunteers, friends that she has known since her days at Kennedy Middle School.

Sachi Bansal said that Davis opened her eyes to those who’ve fallen on hard times.

“In Cupertino, there are a lot of kids from really wealthy families and they’re strongly supported, but sometimes they’re not aware they might have a classmate who doesn’t have a home or they’re struggling,” Bansal explained.

Called “a hero to little kids,” Davis has expressed hope that her parties will honor three hundred children this year – one hundred more than last.

“When they’re happy, it makes me even more happy,” Davis said earnestly.

So for granting birthday wishes of children in need, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Yasmine Davis.


(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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