Every child should be celebrated, regardless of their individual circumstances. Devon Rentas is the founder and executive director of nonprofit Birthday Presence and she has taken her passion for helping children in difficult circumstances and turned it into something beautiful and meaningful. Birthday Presence provides an individual birthday party for children that are in a foster care situation and might be temporarily away from their families and friends.
To understand the passion behind the organization, one must meet Devon Rentas. The East Valley resident holds a bachelor’s in family psychology and human development from the University of Arizona and is pursuing her master’s in social work at Arizona State University. “I always knew I wanted to work with kids, I just didn’t know exactly how,” Rentas explains. She volunteered with various children’s organizations and knew it was what she was meant to do.
“The world is very hard. It’s hard for everybody. I worked with abused kids and realized their chance is already taken away before they’re even given anything,” states Rentas. She took employment with Child Protective Services in California after college, working with children that had been severely abused because not many other employees wanted such a heavy responsibility. She also worked for Voices for Children – CASA of Monterey County, which further exposed her to the world of children in the foster care system. After staying home to raise her son for a few years, Rentas saw the pure joy that was brought to his face last year during his fourth birthday party. It was then that she had a light bulb moment and knew how she could take her passion and make a difference. She founded Birthday Presence and is now in fund-raising mode so that she can offer foster children a personalized birthday party in order to show them that they are important and that they matter.
“If you really impact a child properly, you can do more for the world,” states Rentas. Her focus will be on foster children and she has already set out to grow the nonprofit’s funds so that she can them the individualized birthday party they deserve. Once the funds grow, the parties will begin. Each child will be very involved with planning their own party. “I will meet with the child two weeks prior to the party and get to know them, learn about them and have the experience of giving them time,” Rentas says. “Ideally, they will be able to pick out their own cake. We’ll go to Party City and pick out plates, a party set-up, balloons, decorations and invitations.” She also wants to work with each child to convey the importance of their birthday and what it represents.
It is Rentas’s long-term goal to provide individual birthday parties to foster children across the Valley, the state and the country. “My goal is to teach the children who have lost their family and lost their self-worth because they feel abandoned. I want them to know that they are special,” she finishes.
Contact Devon Rentas at (480) 375-8286 to learn more or to volunteer with Birthday Presence. For additional information about Birthday Presence, visit www.birthday-presence.org.