For many children, their birthday is the highlight of the year. However, not every child gets to celebrate. Chris and Sandra Mohrhardt are hoping to change that.
Last year, the couple started The Incredible Birthday Party Project at their Grawn business Incredible Mo’s. For every five birthday parties booked at Incredible Mo’s the Mohrhardts will donate one to a child in need.
“I was hearing stories about kids who have never had birthday parties before, and it was heartbreaking to think that they didn’t get to experience that whether it was because of financial constraints or nobody cared,” Chris says.
The Incredible Birthday Party Project has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Child and Family Services, Goodwill and Michael’s Place to organize the parties. So far, they have given 80 birthday parties to children and teens in Northern Michigan.
“It feels great,” Chris says. “Honestly one of my favorite parts of the business is watching a child here who maybe hasn’t had a party in a while, or hasn’t ever had one, forget about the reality outside of these four walls and just totally have a great time. It’s never felt better to give away business.”
The Incredible Birthday Party Project hosts the parties at Incredible Mo’s in Grawn. The child may choose their party package, which includes bowling and laser tag or arcade games. Birthday cake, pizza and drinks are provided for guests, and the child receives a gift card.
“I think from a young age there’s a lot of emphasis put on birthday parties,” Chris says. “It’s a special day. I have kids that are going to be 4 and 6 this year and they’re already excited about their birthday parties that will be in June and frankly probably have been since their last birthday party.”
Though the organization started locally, The Incredible Birthday Party Project is preparing to launch nationwide. There are currently five pilot programs in Michigan, Texas and Kansas that have committed to giving away 800 parties.
Over the next few months, Chris is hoping to bring The Incredible Birthday Party Project to 100 additional entertainment centers and is working on becoming a nonprofit organization.
“When I first came up with the idea, I just felt like it could be something special and something that me and other folks with (entertainment) centers could do quite easily,” Chris says. “I’ve always wanted it to grow in some capacity because there is so much need out there for it.”
The Incredible Birthday Party Project has also given away a $500 scholarship to a birthday recipient and other businesses in the area would like to donate additional funds for more scholarships in the future.
“I think overall our message is just to be inspired and make a difference through simple acts of kindness,” Chris says.