Inspire! Julia Warren: celebrate! RVA
- 22 Posts
- Age 18
Julia Warren is a passionate lover of playful prints, cake pops,
and all things colorful. She loves life, but she doesn’t stop
there. Julia wants to make sure that everyone has the opportunity
to feel celebrated and joyous, which is why she started her very
own non-profit organization in Richmond (USA) at 16 to do just
that. Currently, 3 years later, she is the Executive Director of
the rapidly growing nonprofit called “celebrate! RVA”. She runs
the organization around a unique, yet thoughtful idea: to give
disadvantaged children a memorable birthday celebration in a safe
and fun environment. Her work is powerful. She gives children a
valuable gift people often take for granted: love, happiness, and
Here is what Julia had to say about her organization in her “Inspire!” interview:
Who are you and what is your mission?
My name is Julia Warren and I am the Founder & Executive Director of celebrate! RVA. My personal mission is to celebrate people and to bring joy and love into my community.
What/Who drew you toward celebrating children as your form of humanitarian work?
I saw a need in my community for celebration. Children's lives were not being celebrated, and consequently, they didn't know how loved they were. When a child is given the opportunity to experience such a simple joy, we truly believe it changes their lives.
When did you found celebrate! RVA?
I founded celebrate! RVA when I was a junior in high school.
Why did you found celebrate! RVA?
I asked myself a question: If I wasn't going to create change in Richmond through birthday celebrations, would anyone?
How did you found celebrate! RVA, particularly at such a young age?
It wasn't always easy, and I received a lot of push back, but the first time we threw a birthday party, my heart changed forever. Seeing children experience a birthday party for the first time was magical. I decided then and there that whatever I needed to do continue this mission, I would do.
What is your dream for your organization's future?
Both the celebrate! RVA Board of Directors and I have really big dreams for our organization. We want to make sure that no child goes without feeling love on their birthday, and is given the chance to celebrate their special day.
Who inspires you in your personal life and why?
I have about a thousand answers for this question. My family, my amazing friends, my volunteers, my faith, and countless others who have been my cheerleaders since the beginning. I'm inspired by the people who have dropped everything and run to me when I've called them in the middle of the night. It's the people that show up and stand beside me on the tough days. It's the volunteers that call me randomly, asking what they can do and how they can help celebrate! RVA. I'm surrounded by my personal inspirations all the time.
What success has your organization had so far?
In the past two years, we celebrated over 800 children. In the next year alone, we plan to celebrate over a thousand. We have expanded within our community and have no plans to stop anytime soon!
Why do you think celebration is important for the world?
I think celebration is important because of how it makes people feel. When you celebrate someone, you're telling them that you care and that they are worthy of feeling joy. celebrate! RVA's main mission is to celebrate birthdays, but our vision is bigger: we want children to celebrate everyday moments. Creating a culture of celebration that works everyday to create the same joy that so many just feel on their birthday, will change the world. We will be happier, we will love more, and we will recognize that everyone deserves to feel that way.
Did you always know you wanted start a non-profit? Or did the thought come later in life?
It never crossed my mind until the day I decided to start celebrate! RVA. Even then, I was hesitant. I'd always known I loved people way too much to have a job where work "followed" me. You know, the kind where the children's faces, words, and stories stick with you everyday? The kind of job where no matter how many vacations you take, the weekends you don't work, you think of them constantly? Somehow, I ended up doing just that. I thought I didn't want that. I thought I wouldn't be able to stand being all-consumed with work. But honestly? I wouldn't trade a moment of my time with celebrate! RVA. Sure, I'm incredibly emotionally involved in our mission and in our children's lives. But I think thats what celebrating others means. It means loving on other people so much that it doesn't matter how much it weighs on you. It means loving without any kind of boundaries and giving all of yourself to the world, so that you can better the lives around you.
If you were to send a message to all the kids who can't celebrate their birthday for whatever reason, what would it be?
My heart is with you. I love you and desperately want to celebrate you! Don't ever doubt for a second that you don't deserve the joy that a celebration can bring. We are working around the clock to expand so that we can reach every child -- we just might not be close to you right now. If you're feeling undeserving on your birthday, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will personally see to it that you receive a birthday card, letting you know just how magnificent you are.
Did you feel prepared to start an non profit before you did so?
HA! No. I was barely making it through precalculus at the time. Google quickly became my best friend!
At only 19, Julia Warren has already done amazing things to make her community a better place. She is passionate and loving, and I know I can’t wait to see where her non-profit goes in the future.
Want to get involved? Have a question? Feel free to visit Julia’s site at celebraterva.org or email their team at email@example.com.