Fort Lauderdale Nonprofit Hosts Birthday Party for Young Changemaker

Local youth celebrates his 9th birthday with a service project for children in need

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Jose Guzman creates art for a care package

Jose Guzman, a small boy with a gigantic heart, dreamed about celebrating his 9th birthday by making a difference for children in his community. On November 5th, Jose’s birthday wish came true with the help of local nonprofit, HandsOn Broward. Together they planned his birthday celebration to benefit 4Kids of South Florida, a nonprofit organization that helps find homes for children in crisis.

On the day of the party, twenty of Jose’s closest friends gathered at HandsOn Broward’s offices to assemble and decorate 50 care packages filled with socks, toiletries, toys, and other items that would brighten a child’s life. Prior to the big day, Jose had successfully solicited donations to fill the boxes from his friends, family, and the community.

When asked what prompted him to celebrate his birthday this way, Jose responded, “I decided not to have a birthday party because I love helping other people. Not just myself, but other people in my community.”

He continued, “I’m thankful for HandsOn Broward because they make me feel awesome.”

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Jose’s friends helped celebrate his birthday by making a difference

Jose’s mother, Jacqueline Guzman, elaborated, “I was caught by surprise to hear him tell me he wanted to help the homeless [for his birthday]. I sent emails to a few organizations to see how Jose could get involved in the community and HandsOn Broward replied with open arms.”

“We were thrilled when we received Jacqueline’s email and knew immediately that we wanted to be involved,” said Dale Mandell, HandsOn Broward’s CEO. “Jose truly represents the best of our future. His energy and dedication to helping others sets the bar high and serves as a positive model for other children. HandsOn Broward is proud to have helped plan and share this day with him.”

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the celebration came a few days later, when Jose and his mother arrived at 4Kids of South Florida to deliver the filled boxes. 4Kids received the boxes enthusiastically and immediately added Jose’s name to their Advocate Wall—a fitting testament to one boy’s desire to make a difference.

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