Many families are experiencing hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is preventing them from affording basic needs like food and housing.
Some parents are also finding it difficult to provide their children with a birthday celebration.
Chelsea Hage, entrepreneurship and marketing junior at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, launched her Birthday Candles for Kids nonprofit organization in St. Petersburg, Florida five years ago. Hage believes that everyone deserves to celebrate their special day.
Birthday Candles for Kids provides personalized birthday parties and essentials for underprivileged children who are homeless, orphaned or in foster care between the ages of 1 to 17. The organization has provided more than 80 children with birthday parties during the past five years.
Birthday Candles for Kids is celebrating its fifth birthday with a 5-5-5 GoFundMe campaign, so it can provide more children with birthday parties. The 5-5-5 stands for the organization’s fifth anniversary and 50 birthday parties for 50 deserving children. The fundraiser’s goal is $5,000. Chelsea has raised more than $750 so far.
Lou Paris, MBA, director of Stetson’s Joseph C. Prince Entrepreneurship Program, was instrumental in helping Chelsea develop a business mindset. Lou has dedicated his time and efforts to ensure that Chelsea and her Birthday Candles for Kids are on the road towards success.
Chelsea is a member of the Prince Entrepreneurship Leaders Program at Stetson, which is led by Lou, and provides students with valuable, entrepreneurial experience by participating in six business pitch competitions during the academic year.
Chelsea took second place and won $1,000 during the final round of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference (CEO SEEC) last April. She used her winnings to implement new branding ideas, purchase boxes to send families birthday items that feature her company’s name and logo and provided 20 more children with birthday parties.
he Prince Entrepreneurship Leaders Program has taught her how to grow a small organization and turn a big dream into a reality. The program also is helping Chelsea with expanding her mission to a national level.
Chelsea’s nonprofit has grown by partnering with other organizations and mailing families supplies outside of the State of Florida.
Chelsea also plans to launch a Birthday Candles for Kids in DeLand next fall.
Chelsea is determined to help kids feel special and have a sense of belonging in their community. Her nonprofit is a reminder that kids are thought of and matter. If she can change one child’s life by putting a smile on their face and showing them that they are loved, then she has succeeded because her number one goal is to put wishes back into birthdays.