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Birthday Bash Box Celebrates Kids’ Social-Emotional Learning

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Houston-based nonprofit Birthday Bash Box helps elementary school children in under-resourced families celebrate their birthdays. The organization hopes to reduce poverty’s impact on social exclusion, with the ultimate goal of improving children’s social-emotional learning. This type of learning is critical for young people to develop the skills, attitudes, and knowledge to help manage their emotions and maintain healthy relationships. 

Founder Seante Johnson realized that some of her friends — including one who shared her birth date — did not have big celebrations like she did when she was growing up. She started Birthday Bash Box to ensure all kids, regardless of socio-economic status, experience the fun of a party and presents.

Photo Courtesy Birthday Bash Box

“I just like helping people,” Johnson told Eyewitness News ABC 7. “I decided that I was going to make the philanthropy side of my entrepreneurial endeavors a nonprofit that celebrates birthdays.”  

For a child to receive a package, parents must fill out a website application that includes details about the child, their likes, and the family’s address.

Birthday Bash Box communicates directly with parents to ensure children get a box of gifts specifically designed for them. 

“Most of the time, they don’t know they are getting a birthday box at the door. And either myself or a volunteer delivers the box,” Johnson said. “It’s full of everything they like, and sometimes you’ll see a little child picking up this huge box and bringing it into the house and just going through it, and they just see everything they like because it was personalized to them and what they would like to have for their birthday.”

Although each box is different, the goal is to show a child that they are valued regardless of their resources. Packages always include supplies such as party hats, candles, cake mixes, and ingredients. However, the heart of the delivery is in the educational books and links to online games and specific gifts that match the child’s interests. 

All of the contents are designed to help the recipient improve emotional literacy, recognize patterns, increase empathy, navigate emotion, understand consequences, think positively, and pursue worthy goals.

These are all vital aspects of emotional intelligence and social-emotional learning. The box also includes links for parents and children to more resources and learning programs online.

Photo Courtesy Birthday Bash Box  

Birthday Bash Box has proven to be extraordinarily popular, an interest that grew during the pandemic, when the operation exponentially increased its numbers above the 800-ish students who received deliveries in the first two years of work. Today, students across the city hold fundraisers to help fill the boxes, while major corporations, including Microsoft, The Houston Independent School District, and the Nature Heritage Society, are contributors.

Photo Courtesy Birthday Bash Box 

“We are fortunate to have been able to partner with many businesses and community groups around Houston,” Johnson told Voyage Houston Magazine. “Through these partnerships, we have been able to celebrate more children than we planned and have exceeded all of our goals.“Throughout the pandemic, I like to tell people that Houston hugged Birthday Bash Box. …” she told Eyewitness News ABC 7. “Hopefully, we’ll be nationwide one day.”

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