By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
With procedures for having visitors in the schools still undetermined, Yukon’s Beautiful Day Foundation plans to celebrate Yukon student birthdays during the 2020-21 school year.
“I don’t know what our year will look like, but I know that we’re going to continue,” said Yukon’s Sarah Hays, Beautiful Day’s Yukon team leader. “Right now, we just don’t know how many (parties) or what it’s going to be like.”
The Beautiful Day Foundation’s program does not judge people by their backgrounds or economic status. These birthday parties focus on celebrating all students equally.
“Our goal is to continue Beautiful Day as the school will allow us,” Hays said. “We don’t know what it will look like – if it will look like visitors coming in to celebrate or if we’re going to have to send our celebrations to the school without visitors.”
The Beautiful Day Foundation celebrated birthdays of Yukon Public Schools’ fourth and fifth graders at Independence and Lakeview schools during seven months of the ’19-’20 school year.
“It went great,” Hays said. “We had nothing but a positive response to it.”
But in-person celebrations for March, April and May were canceled by the COVID-19 shutdown. Because of that, the Yukon Beautiful Day team fell short on its fund-raising goal for last school year.
“Although we weren’t able to be in the schools in March, April and May to celebrate those birthdays, we were able to send our Beautiful Day birthday cards and bracelets directly to those students,” Hays related.
“Some families did a Beautiful Day celebration for the kiddos with pizza and decorated a table for them.”
Normally, young celebrants sit at a special table in the school lunchroom decorated with balloons, birthday cards, Beautiful Day bracelets, plates, and napkins. A pizza lunch and cupcakes are typically provided through donations.
When the celebration happens at school, Beautiful Day volunteers sit at the birthday table to interact with the children.
“Each birthday party allows adult volunteers to mentor students,” Hays said.
With Redstone joining Independence and Lakeview as Yukon’s three intermediate schools in 2020-21, Beautiful Day leaders could celebrate birthday parties for all students in one grade level.
WIN A SIDE OF BEEF
To make these monthly birthday celebrations possible, Beautiful Day relies on donations and fundraisers.
One major benefit is happening now.
An Oklahoma beef raffle runs through Aug. 13 with tickets $20 each. All funds directly benefit Yukon’s Beautiful Day chapter.
Two grand prize winners will receive a side of premium, all-natural, farm-fresh local beef: About six chuck roasts, three arm roasts, one rump roast, one Pike’s Peak roast, three short ribs, 12 ribeyes, 12 T-bones, seven sirloins, one flank steak, one brisket, six sirloin tips, 12 round steaks, and 80 pounds of ground beef.
Beautiful Day’s Yukon chapter members are looking ahead with a positive attitude.
“This year, we’re probably not expanding but more so a continuation,” Hays said. “It’s been a difficult year with fund-raising, especially when COVID hit. We were just starting to get our momentum.”
The goal is to raise funds not just for one school year, but to create generational sustainability for Beautiful Day. That’s why continuing monthly donors are especially appreciated – whether that’s $25 or $50 or $100.
“We love Yukon and we love being in Yukon,” Hays said. “Yukon is a bigger town so it’s a little harder to get our fundraising. But it has just as equal a response as in the smaller communities.
“People love it. The kids love it. It brings that same sense of ‘small-town’ community to a big town. We love that, and we love that the kids feel individualized and they’re not overlooked.”
To volunteer or donate to Yukon’s Beautiful Day chapter, visit Beautifuldayfoundation.net
For more information, call Sarah Hays at 474-7247, Gracie Kroutil at 822-0405 or Julie Simeroth at 650-7450.