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Celebrate a Birthday with a Foster Teen

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**Due to COVID-19, JFCS has had to modify this opportunity. We are doing virtual birthdays with gifts delivered to the teen via their case managers.**

It’s Thursday and you’re sitting at lunch with some of your peers discussing the upcoming weekend. One person exclaims, "I’m celebrating my birthday this weekend! My family has a three-day celebration planned and I know it’s going to top last year’s!" Everyone begins to speculate what the gifts will be and what the cake will look like. They haven’t noticed how you’ve withdrawn from the conversation. Today is your birthday; however, it hasn’t been acknowledged by anyone in the past five years.

The sadness and abandonment that is felt in this moment is how many of our foster teens feel.

Celebrating birthdays is the one thing the teens in JFCS’s care want the most. "We just want someone to say 'Happy Birthday’ and recognize that we want the same thing as other kids our age - we want our own cake, a small gift - a general celebration and human contact with people that care about the day we were brought into this world," said Brianne, a 15-year old foster child.

Does this interest you? If so, continue reading!

Birthday volunteers are matched with teen foster children to celebrate their birthdays. The birthday event will take place in a "real" restaurant because most of our foster teens have never been to a sit-down restaurant that serve them. The volunteer is asked to provide the teen with lunch, a gift and a dessert of the teen’s choice (approximately a $75 commitment).

How it works:

  • Sign up. As a birthday celebration volunteer, you are responsible for:
    • Lunch for you and your teen (approximately $40)
    • The purchase of a birthday cake or dessert (of the teen’s choice) - a miniature cake is perfect ($15). Homemade cakes are also acceptable. Cake must have your teen’s name on it.
    • The purchase of a small gift for your teen valued at no more than $35 .


  • Mandatory training with Executive Director, Colleen Rodriguez, is required. Trainings take place once a month at the 8540 Baycenter location. Dates are sent out to prospective volunteers a month prior to meeting date.
  • Volunteers will be assigned to one foster teen to celebrate their birthday. However, there will be multiple teens and volunteers in a group setting for the purpose of comfort. Therefore, you will be with other volunteers that have sponsored a teen for their birthday. We will group you with two other celebrants and volunteers to make a table for six.
  • The remaining scheduled dates for 2020 are March 25, 2020, April 29, 2020 and May 20, 2020. June, July and August dates are yet to be determined.
  • You are notresponsible for getting your teen to the restaurant or taking them home - the JFCS staff and case managers will bring them.
  • Restaurants are pre-selected for lunch. JFCS is currently working with restaurants in the community willing to work with us for these special events.
  • Two weeks prior to the birthday celebration, JFCS will send you an informational sheet on your teen so you can get to know them. This sheet will list name, birthdate, age, gender, race, favorite colors, hobbies, dessert choice and other helpful information on your assigned teen. It will also It will also include the child’s wishlist. Again, please DO NOT SPEND MORE THAN $35 on your teen. JFCS will also provide you with a list of icebreaker questions to help with any anxiety our volunteers or teens have prior to going to meet the teen in regards to what to and what not to say.
  • After the meal, a dessert will be provided by the restaurant for the teens to enjoy. This benefit is in addition to the desserts you have provided.
  • Gifts can be given at the beginning or the end of lunch to the teen. Leave the choice to the teen as to whether they want to open their gift or not while at the restaurant.
  • Please do not provide your phone or email information to the teen. Social media platforms such as FaceBook, Instagram, or Snapchat can pose a danger to a foster child in our care, depending upon their situation. Any outside contact should be coordinated through the child’s case manager due to privacy restrictions.
  • HAVE FUN! This is an experience we hope you and the teen enjoy to the fullest!

***This opportunity DOES REQUIRE MANDATORY training beforehand.

1 Shift

  • afternoon / 12:30 PM to 03:00 PM
    ***Opportunity occurs once a month on Early Release days for Duval County Public Schools.





Mission Statement

The mission of Jewish Family & Community Services is to strengthen the entire community by providing individual and family social services in the Jewish tradition of helping people help themselves.


Jewish Family & Community Services, Inc. (JFCS) has been a vital part of the Jacksonville Community since 1917, lending a helping hand to people from all walks of life. JFCS has changed the lives of thousands on the First Coast, from the young to the aged, the hurting, the lonely and the lost. JFCS just celebrated 100 years of service to Northeast Florida, and we remain true to its mission to "strengthening the entire community by providing family and individual social services in the Jewish tradition of helping people help themselves."

JFCS provides the ENTIRE community with family-centered services designed to strengthen the skills necessary for self-sufficiency and well-being. The Agency's six core programs work together to protect at-risk children, keep families together, prevent homelessness, feed the hungry, help struggling students succeed and strengthen the coping skills of emotionally distressed individuals and families. JFCS is unique in that, from a single point of entry, clients have access to a number of wraparound services: case management, private adoption, outpatient mental health counseling and assessment, in-home dropout prevention services for middle-school students and their families, life skills education, emergency financial assistance, a food pantry and services designed specifically for the Jewish community - including Holocaust survivors programming.

Advocacy & Human Rights
Children & Youth


We'll work with your schedule.
This opportunity has 1 shift


8540 Baycenter RdJacksonville, FL 32256



  • Youth Services
  • Child Development
  • People Skills
  • Relationship Building




  • Must be at least 23
  • Birthday celebrations take place on pre-determined early release days from school - only once a month. Existing dates are in opportunity explanations. Space is still available to participate. This is ongoing.

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