Birthdays are a time when one celebrates the beauty of life, but not everyone has the opportunity to reflect on this momentous occasion. When she was pregnant with her first child, event planner Paige Chenault began to reflect on the idea of birthdays and what they represent to children. At the time, Chenault was reading about children's birthday parties and, soon after, she saw a photo depicting a starving child in Haiti. “It just sort of hit me. This kid will never feel celebrated like I could celebrate my daughter,” she told TODAY Parents. “I could do a lot of things for my kid, but I want to do it in a greater way with a bigger purpose.” That's when she came up with The Birthday Party Project.
Chenault's non-profit gives homeless children the chance to celebrate their birthdays. “A lot of these children don't know how to blow out a candle or even make a wish,” the dedicated woman explained. Every month, volunteers (who are known as “birthday enthusiasts”) travel to homeless shelters across the country and throw parties for the children who were born during that specific month. The celebrations also revolve around a specific theme, such as a “Monster Mash” motif for October. This year alone, the organization has hosted 180 parties that include decorations, games, and the essential birthday cake. The birthday boy or girl will even receive a wrapped present.
The Birthday Party Project began in Dallas, Texas, but has spread to eight different cities in America. “My goal is that each child feels something that lets them know how important they are, how much they matter,” Chenault said. “They deserve to be celebrated, that in this moment of chaos in their life, this moment of confusion, that there is light and that there are people out there cheering for them.”
All photos via The Birthday Party Project.