The Party Project
The issue that I am addressing is the lack of means for low-income/homeless families to have the items needed to celebrate birthdays.
Leah and the FUMC youth group helping to load Party Project birthday kits for delivery
Shopping at the Dollar Tree for Party Project supplies
July 8, 2017 KEZI interview
Dec. 18, 2017 KEZI interview
Leah & Ailsa wrapping Party Project birthday kit boxes
Utilizing a team of Girl Scouts and FUMC youth group volunteers to create more Party Project birthday kits
Party Project birthday kit supplies that were received as donations from Girl Scouts
Leah delivering Party Project birthday kits to Womenspace
Leah with Party Project kits for the Eugene Mission
Leah creating Party Project birthday kits
Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
February 21, 2017 was the date that the Party Project was approved as my Girl Scout Gold Award project. I completed the requirements for my Girl Scout Gold Award on August 15, 2017 and have continued to work on the Party Project.
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)
1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."
My Girl Scout troop and I have been hosting Halloween Parties for the First Place Shelter families for a number of years and it has been such a wonderful experience to give the children and their parents a safe place to celebrate the holiday and provide the necessary items for the event. Its really cool to see so many happy kids. I thought if they are so excited for Halloween, how would they feel if they had an opportunity to celebrate their birthdays. My Gold project addressed the issue of the lack of non-essential services for low-income and homeless youth to be able to celebrate their birthdays. By providing birthday kits that included all of the items needed to host a birthday party, I hoped to make birthdays a fun and memorable event for the youth that receive a birthday box. Youth receiving services from six of the local social service agencies in Eugene were my target group.
Leah's personal journey: I am stepping up to make change because....
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
I am addressing is the lack of means for low-income/homeless families to have the items needed to celebrate birthdays, I created the Party Project to fill this need. Families with limited income most likely feel other expenses such as electric bills, medication, etc. are more important to spend on. I feel that every child’s birthday should be celebrated regardless of financial situation with the goal of making all children feel celebrated.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
To solve this problem, I created the Party Project which supplies birthday kits for low-income/homeless families to utilize for parties. These kits include all the items needed for a birthday party for 8-10 people, including decorations, cake, candles, birthday cards, and special treats. I have partnered with six local social service agencies in my area to help distribute the birthday kits to their clientele as needed. Families and youth participating in any programs with these six social service agencies can attain a birthday party kit with no strings attached. The Party Project's goal is to provide birthday kits to homeless and low-income youth between the ages of 1-18 years of age in the Lane County area.
I have held box building nights with local Girl Scout troops, community organizations and have partnered with a youth group at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) to continue the work of the Party Project. The Party Project has been able to distribute over 250 birthday party kits to low-income and homeless youth in my community and we plan to create additional boxes at the next box building event in July.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
When a person or group gets involved with the Party Project, it can be in a number of ways. They can help us by providing donations of paper ream boxes and party supplies or funding for us to purchase party supplies or they can volunteer to help create the birthday party kits. We hold regular birthday party box building parties quarterly and volunteers help to wrap the paper ream boxes, sort party supplies and package them into the birthday kits. Write birthday messages on note cards to be included in the kits, or help us to deliver the completed birthday kits to our partner agencies. At each box building party we address the needs of the youth in our community and how the Party Project provides birthday kits so no child is denied a birthday due to their or their family's financial circumstances. The Party Project volunteers help to make all children feel their birthday is special.
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Before I started my project, I contacted the local shelter that my Girl Scout troop worked with in the past to see what services they provided their clientele for birthday celebrations, I was told that due to lack of funding they did not provide any services for birthdays. They suggested I also contact the Eugene Mission and a few other agencies in my area, and I learned that none provided any means for their youth to celebrate their birthdays, so I created the Party Project to address this and have partnered with the six largest social service agencies in my area to reach the youth in need.
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
The Party Project has made a difference by making people more aware of the needs of low-income & homeless youth in our community and of the services that are and are not available to them. Many people in my community were not aware that youth did not have access to items needed to have a birthday party as it was just something that they'd never thought about. By spreading awareness though the local news, my Facebook page for the Party Project and social media, I feel that I have helped to change the perception of what families need and that all children deserve the opportunity to celebrate their birthdays. Currently we have distributed over 250 birthday party kits and each birthday kit contains supplies for a party of 8-10 people, so if everyone who received a kit had only 5 people at their party, then then the Party Project had a direct impact on over 1250 people.
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Since completing my Girl Scout Gold Award, I have partnered with the youth group at First United Methodist Church in Eugene (FUMC) who are helping me to carryon the Party Project. They have actually contacted an additional social service agency in Eugene to try to provide birthday party kits to their youth clientele. Since FUMC joined me in the Party Project, they have held a box building night, helped me with my box building night and will be holding another box building this coming July. We will continue to make birthday party kits and distribute them to the social service agencies that we've partnered with for as long as we can maintain funding for the project, which I am hoping will be indefinitely.
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
I have partnered with the youth group at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Eugene to help me to continue the Party Project. I have been able to attain grants through Peace First, YSA/Disney Be Inspired Grant and a YSA kindness Rising Grant as well as donations from my local community including Northwest Community Credit Union and Oregon Community Credit Union. I continue to seek out funding sources for the Party Project as this is our greatest hurtle to be able to continue creating party kits for low-income and homeless youth in my community.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.
Don't be afraid to reach out to members of your community outside of your normal circle of friends in order to ensure getting as much support possible. My usual circle includes members of my friends and people involved with Girl Scouts. But I ended up reaching out to the United Methodist Church in Eugene which was one of the best decisions I made on this project, as they continue to support my project while I have been away at college. Also do not be afraid to reach out to community organizations for financial support, the worse they can say is "no" and the ones that say "yes" are such a great help to the project. Make sure you spread awareness of your project, the more the community hears about what you are doing, the more support you will gain, both in volunteers and financial support.
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
Middle Eastern or North African (for example: Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, Algerian) (11)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
Religious minority (non-Christian)
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