Fairmont Anaheim Hills 7th grader Arianna A. celebrated her 13th birthday last month in a rather unique way — by raising more than $1,600 to help children in need.
The new teenager recently participated in the annual academic pentathlon competition, during which she learned about the tremendous need for multitudes of individuals in Africa who don’t even have enough food to eat and water to drink. This inspired her to do her part to make a difference. She informed her mother that she didn’t want any presents for her birthday; instead, she wanted to use her party as a fundraiser to benefit children across the world who are living in poverty.
Arianna was able to use the Evite site to allow invitees to donate to Save the Children, an international organization that provides young girls and boys educational opportunities and protection from harm. While she was hopeful to raise her original goal of $500, she never expected just how much her community would be willing to give.
“I was really shocked,” she said. “We raised more than $1,000 more than our goal. People even donated at the party and after the party — our friends are really awesome!”
Wanting to help others (when many kids her age would rather have parties for themselves) is very much in character for Arianna. Her mother, Rose, said that, ever since Arianna was little, she has always had the desire to help others and to live a life of giving. It’s a practice Arianna said that she hopes to continue, especially now that she has the confidence that she is capable of bringing about positive change to the world.
“I felt really helpful, and I felt like, [even though I’m young], I can make a difference,” she said. “I felt really empowered, and I hope the kids at my party also felt empowered. Maybe I started something that will help [others] to give back, too.”
Arianna mentioned that she would like to continue fundraising efforts next year for her birthday and even for her 8th grade promotion ceremony at the end of the 2018–2019 school year. Because of what she learned regarding people’s struggles in South Sudan while reading the book “A Long Walk to Water” as part of the academic pentathlon, she intends to raise money to benefit Water for South Sudan, a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide the South Sudan region access to safe water and improve hygiene practices in areas of great need. In doing so, Arianna hopes to give hope and opportunity to as many individuals as possible.
“Some people — and they can be the most intelligent people on the planet — are born into poverty, and it’s really not their fault,” she said. “I want people who aren’t as fortunate who can make an impact on this world to get the chance to make an impact on this world.”