Avid volunteer, Anna Harris, came up with a creative idea for her Sweet 16. Instead of hosting a lavish party, she gathered friends to give back to her community. Read about her celebration and think about creative ways you might be able to make an impact!
Sixteen is a huge milestone in a teenage girl’s life. Planning often begins months ahead of time, and every detail is carefully thought out. These celebrations often cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Community service has always been important to me. I love helping others. Through volunteering with Activate Good, serving meals to the homeless, assisting veterans, supporting the Red Cross, helping children and other activities, I have learned how much can be done when groups of people come together. I began to think about the impact a group of teenagers could make in just one day. For my 16th birthday, I decided to create an event where teenagers could make a difference.
Many of my friends have not had the opportunity to give back to the community. I wanted to show them that giving back can be easy, fun and personally rewarding.
The planning began months beforehand. Once I brainstormed ideas of ways to help others, I reached out to the community for support. I was really surprised at the response. People I had never met messaged me with support. In addition to kind notes, they sent toiletries, shampoo, socks, kids craft activities, kids toys, snacks, water bottles, tissues, paper and even money to purchase other needed supplies.
Together, we completed six service projects aimed at giving back to the community. As a regular volunteer at a Raleigh homeless shelter, I have learned over the years that many of the residents lack basic necessities. We made them care kits, including socks, hats, gloves, water bottles, snacks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. These care kits were decorated with inspiring and uplifting messages and then distributed to the residents.
We also made sunshine boxes filled with crafts, toys, art supplies and other fun items for children in the hospital. For the nurses, we wrote “Thank you for…” messages on oranges to raise their spirits and provide them with a healthy snack. To thank our local firefighters and police officers, we made “Lifesaver” cards with Lifesaver candies inside and notes of thanks. In order to bring joy to the community, we painted kindness rocks and then delivered them randomly throughout neighborhoods, parks and other locations. Life for seniors can be lonely, especially during the winter months. To bring them some joy, we decorated tissue boxes to look like snowmen for them.
As I looked back on the event, I was surprised and excited about how each person was willing to use their Saturday evening to make a difference in the community. I feel truly lucky to have such caring friends. We all had a blast together!
Activate Good loves working with teens who want to do good! Know a teen who loves service and making an impact? Let them know registrations for our Summer Program, ‘Teens Change the World!’ are now open.Learn More & Register Now!