Celebrate! RVA works to ensure that every child in Richmond can enjoy a birthday party every year, regardless of their family’s financial situation.
Celebrate! RVA is a non-profit organization with a simple mission: to give children who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity the chance to celebrate their birthday in a safe and fun environment.
The organization was founded in 2013 by Julia Warren, right here in Richmond, Virginia. “When volunteering at Oak-Grove Bellemeade Elementary School, I saw a need — a need for children to be celebrated, and told their life mattered and was worthy of a celebration,” she said. “Children didn’t know their birthday, how old they were, and had never experienced the opportunity to blow out a candle and make a wish.”
Since the start of Celebrate! RVA at Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary, it has expanded into more schools and now partners with more than two dozen agencies to provide services to their clients. “We meet children where they are — whether it is a hospital, a school, a shelter, or a safe house,” said Warren. “We make sure they have the chance to know joy.”
Paige Sigler, the program coordinator for Celebrate! RVA, helps organize all of the birthday events that the company hosts at local elementary schools. Every month, Celebrate! plans a birthday party for children who have birthdays in that month. They’ve hosted 279 parties serving over 3,250 children, according to their website.
After each birthday party, the children are sent home with gift bags that can help them have their own parties at home. “You’d be surprised how happy a child can get when they receive a pack of candles,” Sigler said. “It makes their day complete.”
Celebrate! RVA operates through the help of volunteers who can sponsor a child, make cards, donate party supplies, and help out at birthday events. There is also an Amazon wish list that allows people to purchase party supplies and send them directly to the Celebrate! RVA office. The list includes party hats, individually wrapped candy, pinatas, balloons, birthday candles, craft supplies, and more.
The non-profit is currently working on expanding their office space and moving into a larger space that will serve as a community center and place where children can come to play, learn, and celebrate, Sigler said. With a party room, a “cake-making kitchen,” celebration rooms, and office spaces, Celebrate’s new home at 908 Oliver Hill Way will “be a place where joy and love will always be accessible for each child who walks through [their] doors,” according to their website.
Celebrate! RVA is having their third annual “Celebrate Soirée” on March 28. This event is “an incredible opportunity to celebrate all that we have accomplished thanks to our community and everything that we dream of for our community in the coming years,” Warren said. “It’s our chance to ensure that every child in Richmond has the opportunity to experience their birthday party.”
The Celebrate Soirée will be held at the Urban Roost Event Space. Although it is a benefit to help kids, it’s definitely a party for adults, featuring a Great Gatsby theme, 1920s-themed signature cocktails, delicious food, a “sweeteasy” dessert bar, a cigar bar, live and silent auctions, a photo booth, live music, dancing, and more.
“Early Bird” tickets for this event are $75 and are only available until Feb. 16 at 11 p.m. est. After that date, regular tickets are $100, and “Host Committee” tickets are $500. Each Host Committee member or couple will receive two tickets to the event, as well as recognition on the event invitation, event website, and on signage throughout the event, according to the Celebrate! RVA website. Tickets are available at celebraterva.org/soiree.
Photos via Celebrate! RVA/Facebook