Rise Justice
FEBRUARY 2011 WINNER

6:23 AM, Feb 4, 2011   |    comments
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Creating smiles one birthday at a time

It's something Rise Justice looks forward to at least once a month.

"I read about an organization back in Massachusetts that does a similar thing about two-and-a-half years ago, and I just got thinking about what a need there was," Justice said.

Rise is the founder of "Birthday Smiles," an organization that throws birthday parties for children who otherwise wouldn't have the chance to celebrate another year.

"There are over 3,000 homeless children in Denver," she said. "The fastest growing segment of the homeless population are families. The children of these families have lost so much of their safety net - their homes, their schools, their friends."

So for one day a month, the kids and the parents living at The Samaritan House and The Gathering Place can forget about "daily" life for a while.

"What we think we do is nourish their spirits," said Justice about creating that special memory and giving them a sense of normalcy. "We want to make sure that a memory of a really fun birthday party is a deposit these kids are going to remember for a really long time."

For this retired sales woman, she has some advice for those who want to make a difference.

"We all need to give in some way, shape or form," she said. "I don't care what you do, but you should volunteer for something."

To learn more about Birthday Smiles, or to help them throw even more parties, you can visit Birthday Smiles online.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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