We had so many inspiring submissions this month! Congratulations to Rolanda Finch, our March #StandTall Contest winner! Rolanda was nominated by her mother, who is clearly incredibly proud of her daughter. Read more about Rolanda below!
“My daughter, Rolanda Finch is a great inspiration to our family as well as other women she encounters. She started working as a volunteer helping to feed the homeless in shelters in 2009. One day while volunteering she noticed the shelter housed many children and asked the Executive Director what plans they had for the children on their birthdays. When she was told that nothing was done to celebrate them on their special day, she decided she didn’t want children to have a sad birthday memory, and she wanted to assist in making a difference. She remembered the great birthday celebrations we had as a family.
After inquiring, Rolanda quickly learned most shelters she volunteered in did not have the funds, resources or even considered it a priority to celebrate the children’s birthdays. With her personal funds, she began a monthly celebration for all the children’s’ birthdays. After that shelter closed, Rolanda decided to start It’s Your Birthday, Inc. It’s Your Birthday, Inc. is a non-profit organization with the mission to ‘create a fun and memorable birthday experience for children residing in a homeless or domestic violence shelters’.
Since its official beginning in September 2014, It’s Your Birthday. Inc. has celebrated over 900 children’s birthdays by providing three distinct types of celebration options for the child, mother, or shelter to select. One option is a traditional birthday party with all the trimmings, like cake/cupcakes, ice cream, party decorations, treat bags, party hats, games or entertainment, and a special gift for the child (a birthday Build-A-Bear made possible through a partnership with Build-A-Bear). If the child is older or prefers, they are given a $10 gift card to a retailer or fast food restaurant. Another option is Birthday-in-a-Class, where birthday cupcakes are delivered to the child’s school. Rolanda works with the school to gain permission from the parent in order to tell the child the cupcakes are from them. Lastly, a Birthday-in-A Bag is provided when the birthday party items are given to the family to celebrate in the shelter however they choose.
Because of Rolanda’s vision, It’s Your Birthday, Inc. has grown to include 13 homeless and domestic violence shelters in the St. Louis and Metro IL areas, and one large school district. Rolanda’s volunteer efforts have not only brought joy to over 900 children celebrating their birthdays, she has taken it a step further by providing toiletries and personal care items to the moms and dads when they participate in the birthday party. This helps to bring back some normalcy and the beginning of restoring the self esteem and courage to these families to persevere through a most difficult time and circumstance in their lives.
Lastly, Rolanda has shown great leadership by recruiting and retaining several individuals, corporations, and organizations to support the mission of It’s Your Birthday, Inc. As a person that typically does not volunteer, her love of celebrating the children’s birthdays in contagious and I find myself delivering cakes, decorating at parties, fundraising and getting my friends and other family members involved in the fun. It is with great honor that I nominate my daughter – Rolanda J. Finch as a woman that truly Stands Tall (She is also 6′ with a 36″ inseam and loves to shop at ALLOY!).”
Your selfless nature, and dedication to volunteering your time to the community truly represents what Standing Tall is, Rolanda! Thanks for encouraging all of us. You are appreciated for everything that you do. Nominate a phenomenal tall woman in your life HERE.
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