Life Lessons: Candles, cakes and queen for a day

Posted: 7:09 AM EDT Mar 19, 2013   Updated: 11:01 AM EDT Mar 19, 2013

Candles, cake and presents are three of the things most of us remember from our childhood birthday celebrations.

But the tradition isn't always a given. Some kids come from families too poor or too dysfunctional to celebrate birthdays.

But one woman has made it her mission to make sure even the most vulnerable kids are not forgotten.

She is 28-year-old Megs Yunn. Megs says she is one part party planner, one part head coach.

Yunn and a team of volunteers bring fun to a women's shelter once a month.

She says she got the idea two years ago when she was tutoring a 12- year-old girl named Beverly,

"One afternoon she was really stuck on the word accustomed to and I was trying to give her an example, so I said, 'Beverly, at birthday parties people are accustomed to eating...what?' And she looks at me and she said 'Miss Megs, I've never had a birthday party. I've never even had my own slice of birthday cake.'"

With a starter grant for $2500, Yunn started a non-profit organization to build the self-esteem of kids and parents.

She says, "Maybe they don't have the money to put together a birthday present, but they really do want to celebrate their kid. So we step in and fill that void."

Kids aren't the only ones who get caught up in the magic.

For Markita, the past few years have been tough. She is living in a shelter with four children. "There was many birthdays I wasn't there for them, and not many birthdays I could do for them," she says.

Yunn says the parties help kids and families build a sense of community and establish what she hopes will be a long-running tradition.

"We all cherish memories and we cherish moments with our families, so I think it's awesome that I get to be a part of that."

Megs plans to celebrate the birthdays of more than 250 children this year.

Homelessness and birthdays for all