2017-12-28 / Front Page

Boxing Up a Party for Kids

Confetti Foundation Makes Hospital Birthdays Happy Ones
By Brooke Constance White


Revelers celebrate a birthday at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton, Mass. (Photo courtesy of Confetti Foundation) Revelers celebrate a birthday at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton, Mass. (Photo courtesy of Confetti Foundation) Stephanie Frazier Grimm’s heart broke when she found out that children who have birthdays in the hospital often don’t get a party. And it didn’t sit well with her when parents would leave their child’s side to purchase party supplies.

As a party and event planner, Grimm, who owns an event and party planning company called Couture Parties in Middletown, wanted to change that and decided to take on the task herself. The mission was personal: Grimm had spent her 13th birthday in the hospital and remembers not wanting her mom to leave to buy party supplies. Fortunately, she knew she’d be leaving the hospital soon and could have a party at a later date.

Not every child is so lucky, but Grimm and her organization are moving the needle. Nearly four years after she first started the Confetti Foundation, the nonprofit’s birthday party boxes can be found in 150 children's hospitals in 43 states. As of early September, the organization had helped children and their families celebrate 3,389 birthdays across the country.


Celia Furtado, dressed as Disney's Princess Ariel from Simply Enchanted in Westerly, RI, plays at Hasbro Childrens Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Confetti Foundation) Celia Furtado, dressed as Disney's Princess Ariel from Simply Enchanted in Westerly, RI, plays at Hasbro Childrens Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Confetti Foundation) The process began in 2010 when Grimm’s best friend’s son was born premature and had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan for 10 weeks. The baby’s suitemate had spent his first year in the hospital and wasn’t going to have a party for his first birthday.

“At that point, he had spent his whole life in the hospital and it just didn’t seem right that he didn’t get a birthday party,” Grimm said.

Whether a child is suffering from a life-threatening illness or is in the hospital overnight for testing, Grimm is a firm believer that all children should be able to celebrate their birthdays.

“This might be their last birthday or maybe it’s been a tumultuous year,” she said. “Whatever the circumstances, we want to create a bit of normalcy for these families and provide them with a good, positive memory so they can look back and remember that despite being in the hospital on their birthday, they made some good memories and had a fun time.”

Kelsey Hagberg, a Newport resident, became involved with the Confetti Foundation when she and her husband moved to the area from California three years ago. Having worked previously with nonprofits on the west coast, Hagberg had researched volunteer opportunities preparing for when the military brought them to Newport.

“I looked up nonprofits around me, and the Confetti Foundation popped up, and it was perfect,” she said. “I was in a children’s hospital for a month when I was 17, and when I read the foundation’s mission statement about making children feel not-so-lonely on those special days, I knew I had found my place. Helping these children out is truly rewarding.”

In order for a hospital to offer the foundation’s birthday boxes, a community member known as a “birthday fairy” must reach out and facilitate a relationship between the hospital and the Confetti Foundation. The birthday fairy delivers five birthday boxes to the hospital at the start of the partnership and drops off more boxes when needed. The fairy can also go into the community to seek out other donations such as cake, balloons, gifts and visits from characters, among other things.

“It all makes it so the parents can focus on supporting their child and the hospital can focus on offering care to the child,” said Grimm, adding that when given enough lead-time, the organization can accommodate custom birthday-box requests.

Although birthday-box themes vary from sports to Mickey Mouse to princesses to just about anything in between, each box contains standard party supplies. Each comes with a birthday card, napkins, straws, utensils, plates, cups, a birthday banner, streamers, activities, crayons, coloring sheets, books, and comfort products such as socks and blankets.

Grimm, who is the birthday fairy for Hasbro Children’s Hospital, said one of the best ways people can get involved is by making handmade birthday cards, donating books, birthday box items, and money as well as volunteering during a birthday box packing party.

“Making cards is a great thing for a class of school-age children or a college club or a group of senior citizens to do and know that they’re giving back and making a child happy,” Grimm said. “It costs $25 to pack a box so we’re always happy for monetary donations and since we’re 100 percent volunteer run, donors can be sure that all their money is going 100 percent to the cause.”

When she sets up a party for a child at Hasbro, Grimm said she sometimes gets to meet the child and their family, which makes the foundation’s work even more personal.

“Everyone has a birthday,” she said. “It’s something every single person has in common that connects us all and I love that we get to give these children a lasting memory on their birthday.”

Visit confettifoundation.org to find out how you can get involved with the Confetti Foundation.

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