Spreading Joy: One Party at a Time

Hawanya Turner and Seema Prasad, USA

Dinan Elsyad on December 7, 2018 in Education

What is the key to having a meaningful life? Some are driven by money, others by love, but the real secret to living a great life is much simpler than that: happiness. The sad truth is that, with poverty and other issues, more and more people are finding it harder to see the light in their life. Determined to bring joy to the community, Hawanya Turner and Seema Prasad made this their mission: and what better way to spread fun than a party?

Their non-profit organization, Parties 2 Inspire, is a Northern Virginia-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, aims to inspire hope and fun in everyone, from children, to seniors, and people in need, through parties and education.

“We give parties at homeless shelters, senior centers, schools, libraries, parks, and anywhere in our community where we can make a difference,” Turner explained. “Our goal is to provide a fun environment where families participate in activities and are inspired to Dream Bigger and Soar Higher regardless of age or circumstances.”

This nonprofit organization was founded on July 17, 2013, by Turner and Prasad; but the idea for it came fourteen years before, when Turner’s brother had passed away due to an unexpected heart disease. A year prior, he had thrown her a surprise birthday party. The night was full of laughter and fun, and Turner found herself going around, asking her family and friends what their wish was. Her brother’s response was simple: to travel around the world and meet new people.

“I remember thinking at his death, how can I celebrate his life and dream,” Turner said. “It also dawned on me, I would never be able to give him a party, so you see how Parties 2 Inspire was being born.”

Turner began to research and listed Parties 2 Inspire as a non-profit organization in January 2013. In April, 2013, she took a non-profit class, where she met Prasad, who dreamed to start a non-profit organization for robotics. Merging the two ideas together, in July of that year, Parties 2 Inspire, a non-profit that helps the community through parties and education, was born.

True to their name, the non-profit hosts a variety of parties to spread joy. They host Homeless Shelter, Senior Shelter, Education, and Books 2 Inspire Parties.  However, they have branched out from parties, now hosting workshops, such as Life Science Workshops and Public Speaking Workshops. Additionally, they host Family Challenge Events; parties for the whole family.

One of Parties 2 Inspire’s biggest hits are Homeless Shelter Parties. Filled with dancing, food, games, prizes, and more, these parties have two goals: to spread joy, and to help empower those in hard times. As explained on their website, when people go through rough times, for example poverty, it’s easy to lose hope and motivation. Kids Count Data estimated that, in 2012, 15% of VA children lived in poverty; most of these kids are not in an appropriate environment, and do not have the proper mental state to reach their full potential. These Homeless Shelter Parties present education themes in a party-like style to spark the joy in learning again.

Focusing more on education, other big hits are the Life Science Workshops and Camps. To date, Parties 2 Inspire has held four programs for elementary and middle school children. These camps introduce the students to science themes such as human anatomy and physiology. It features dissections, medical simulations, and other fun games, allowing the children to expand their critical thinking skills, along with their passion for learning.

Along with science, Parties 2 Inspire also educates children about math, through the form of sports. Andrew Yoon, a junior at TJHSST, is a member of the Junior Board, as the Sports Outreach Director.

“I have been involved in bringing sports STEM activities to parties at homeless shelters, community sports challenge events, and FCPs REC PAC camps,” Yoon said. “I try to teach kids fun interactive activities that combine STEM and sports to make math and science more exciting for them.”

Recently, Parties 2 Inspire had a Back2School Bash in September, and a few weeks ago they hosted Thanksgiving parties at various homeless shelters. If you want to get involved with their mission, and give back to the community in a fun way, contact the Parties 2 Inspire at https://www.parties2inspire.org/volunteerdonate.html. To learn more about the organization, visit their website at https://www.parties2inspire.org/index.html.

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