Chelsea Phaire started donating the art kits on her 10th birthday after she realized that not every child had access to the supplies

By Joelle Goldstein
May 28, 2020 08:24 PM
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Chelsea Phaire
Chelsea's Charity

A 10-year-old girl is bringing some color into the worlds of other children by donating thousands of art kits to those living in homeless shelters and foster care homes around the nation.

Chelsea Phaire was just 8 years old when she was given a fancy art kit by a family friend and realized that not every child had access to the same supplies, The Washington Post reported.

"This made me so sad," Chelsea recalled to the outlet.

Since that time, Chelsea has dedicated herself to helping others, in part by developing her organization, Chelsea's Charity — and in just two years, she has helped more than 2,400 children across the U.S. obtain art kits.

"I think art should be available to everyone — kids in shelters, or kids who just need a happy day," she explained in a video interview. "I just want to help people in need. Kindness comes back like a boomerang. It always returns."

Chelsea first started making the art kits ahead of her birthday party last summer after constantly asking her parents if she could do something, according to The Washington Post.

"Chelsea always had a strong desire to start a charity and asked us about it from the time she was only 5 years old," her mother Candace Phaire told the outlet. "When she got a little older, my husband and I said yes."

Instead of birthday gifts, Chelsea asked her guests to bring art supplies to her party and was eventually able to put together 40 plastic kits — comprised of crayons, markers, paper, colored pencils, sketchbooks and other items — which she hand-delivered to a shelter in New York.

"That was really the starting point," Candace recalled to The Washington Post of her daughter's efforts.

From there, Chelsea fell in love with helping others and decided she wanted to continue donating the art kits.

Combining her allowance and tooth fairy money, along with an Amazon wish list that friends and family donated to, the Danbury resident was able to collect more supplies between August and March, which helped her make nearly 900 kits, according to The Washington Post.

Like the previous ones, those kits were also hand-delivered to kids in shelters and homes across several states, but Chelsea added to her personal deliveries by including an art lesson, complete with a presentation on why art is important, to all of the recipients.

"Art really helps me communicate when I can't," she explained in the video interview. "It helps me when I'm happy, sad, or if I just wanna draw, I can always go to my sketchbook and it's always there for me."

"I think if every child had access to art supplies, it would make the world a much better place," she added to The Washington Post.

Then in March, the pandemic hit. Chelsea, however, only saw it as an opportunity to do more. With the help of her mom, Chelsea made close to 1,500 kits, which were sent to children in need across 12 different states, according to the outlet.

"It quickly became a family project," Candace told the newspaper, noting how the art supplies are shipped to her father's New York City office and then Chelsea and her 9-year-old brother, Corey, organize them into their containers. "Everybody has a role."

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Since beginning their efforts, the Phaire family, who once paid for all the shipping costs, has set up a PayPal account to pay for the postage fees.

They've also helped Chelsea set up her charity, which works with shelters and organizations directly to provide art supplies to kids in need, and her "Chat with Chelsea" initiative on Instagram Live, where she facilitates interviews each week with a different artist.

Some of the guests she's already welcomed on the show include The Crafty Chica CEO, Kathy Cano-Murillo, Black Art In America founder, Najee Dorsey, artist Briiis and children's book author and Walt Disney Imagineering illustrator, Nikkolas Smith, according to her Instagram.

While it's been incredibly rewarding for Chelsea, those on the receiving end of her efforts have also said her fundraiser has made a huge impact on the lives of the children, especially since art therapy programs have been canceled amid the pandemic.

"The kids were just so excited, and it was a huge weight off the parents’ shoulders," Shana Carignan, the development director at Families Moving Forward, the largest shelter for homeless children and families in Durham, N.C, told The Washington Post.

"The kids were really missing this," she added to the outlet. "So, having their own art kits has been very helpful."

As for Chelsea, she just hopes she can continue doing what she loves and eventually see it make a global impact.

"Art helps me communicate when I can’t express myself," she told The Washington Post. "Art is my voice."

"I want to start with something small, like art, and then move on to bigger things that can really impact people's lives and make a change in the world," Chelsea added in the video interview.