YouTube star returns to roots and gives back to Burnett

YouTube star returns to roots and gives back to Burnett
Posted on 12/07/2017
Princess T & Princess Pham pose with Mayor Wagner & Burnett Principal Jae LeePrincess T & Princess Pham pose with Mayor Wagner & Burnett Principal Jae Lee
Princess T & Princess Pham pose with Burnett Principal Jae Lee, Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner & his grandson.

By Jade Wise
PISD Communications

For families who have experienced more than their fair share of rain due to Hurricane Harvey –  80-degree weather and a little snow at Burnett Elementary’s annual Winterfest this past weekend was a welcome sight.

An estimated 1,100 attendees participated in the festival, where nearly 4,000 toys were handed out.

The toys were donated by YouTube star Thi and her sister Pham – better known as Princess T and Princess Pham by their 700,000 plus subscribers of their show: Princess ToysReview. The sisters also donated inflatables, food, photographers, games and more to help make the festival a success.

Princess ToysReview is a YouTube channel where both stars have fun with toy reviews, create fun challenges and vlogs (video logs) all centered on having fun while learning.

Thi’s Pasadena roots go deep. She attended Burnett Elementary, Thompson Intermediate and Dobie High School. 

She recalls one tragic experience and the community’s response.  

“When I was a fifth grade kid here at Burnett, my sister, a first grader at the time, passed away. Our family didn’t have the money to pay for a funeral but through South Belt Leader, the community raised enough money for our family to pay for the funeral. That inspired me to give back to Burnett.”

Over the years, Thi has donated toys to various organizations and groups but this year she wanted to do even more. Back in January, Thi and her sister began planning their own Christmas festival but were still undecided on where they should host it. 

When Hurricane Harvey hit, she decided to return to Burnett and give back to the community that stood beside her family years before. 

“At the end of the day, it’s neighbor helping neighbor,” Thi said. “The staff at Burnett are amazing and they truly have a passion for the kids here. They volunteered their time to help put this whole thing together, and without them this wouldn’t have been possible.” 

Burnett principal, Jae Lee, said that part of the purpose of the event was to provide a welcome distraction and allow families to come together during the holiday season.
“We put on this festival for the families of the community to come out, put down their hammers, put down all the stress of rebuilding their homes and have some family time with their kids,” said Lee.

As the artificial snow drifted to the ground and onto smiling children posing for photographs with Elsa and Olaf – characters from a popular children’s movie: “Frozen” – families were able to temporarily take their minds off the lingering challenges from the flooding and devastation of Harvey 

“Through this event, we are trying our best to alleviate any financial burden on our families this holiday season because many of them did not receive much from FEMA or did not have flood insurance,” said Lee.

As an added bonus, every Burnett student in attendance received wrapped toys on the second day of the festival, bringing the grand total to 4,000 gifts.

In addition to the wrapped gifts, large items and toys were given away through raffles every thirty minutes throughout the festival.

Julie Cano’s daughter, Emily, was one of the children who won a large toy in the raffle.

“We lost everything in our house, so to for Thi and Pham to be able to give this toy to my daughter feels really good.”

One of the large gifts given away in the raffle

A volunteer gives a child a temporary tattoo

Burnett Teacher poses with former student

Children enjoying carnival games

A child with a gift

Click here to see more photos!