A fifth-grader has been helping thousands of underprivileged children find joy and happiness in art.
Chelsea Phaire, 10, started asking for art supplies in August of last year, for her birthday so that she could build kits for kids affected by school shootings.
With the virus striking, the Danbury, Conn. native has sent the kits to children in homeless facilities and in foster care to try and cheer them up. “It means a lot because of the coronavirus,” Chelsea said. “It’s just really nice to know kids are helping kids during this really stressful time. It really makes me feel happy.”
Chelsea has spoken about the bullying she faced in school and the gun violence which took the life of her swimming coach, which has made her turn to art for comfort.
She founded Chelsea’s Charity last year in a bid to help others and, as a first step, she set up an Amazon wishlist. When someone donates enough supplies, she explained, she fills the art kits with markers, crayons, colored pencils, sketch pads and paper, gel pens and coloring books. Sometimes she adds something fun, like colored pipe cleaners.
Chelsea and her mom had traveled to shelters and schools from Oklahoma to New Jersey, dropping off the art kits and, in some cases, teaching kids how to use art to boost their mental health and express themselves before the pandemic struck.
Now with lockdown orders, she has mailed more than 1,500 kits to at least 12 states. The latest batch of 75 kits went to Philadelphia schools. She also has started recording video messages and sending them online, since she can’t physically be there to hand them.
In a recent video to a class at a Hartford school, she told students: “Art is important to me because no matter how bad I’m feeling…my art supplies are always there for me…so no matter what happens, know that art is a start!”
Chelsea’s mom, Candace Phaire, a former classroom teacher and now an early childhood professor, said, “Kids listen to kids more than they would adults.”
Chelsea’s dad does the heavy lifting and her mom helps coordinate. “It’s become a family project. We make assembly lines,” Phaire said. “My husband and I are both service-oriented, we serve in our community and our church, so to see that in our children … makes me really proud.”
“Ah, thanks, Mommy,” Chelsea responded. She has big dreams at the tender age of 10.
“I want to visit and give kits to every single state and then move onto other countries as well,” she said. “There’s kids that need good art out there, and I just want to find every single one of them out there. Who knows maybe world peace will happen. It doesn’t hurt to try.”
The family is already planning something special with 11 different sites for her 11th birthday in August, but need to pick exactly which ones. We pray that Chelsea’s charity is able to accomplish much more than they have had in the past and bring much-needed joy and purpose to thousands of kids affected by the virus.