Back in February we received an email from a darling fifteen year-old who wanted to have a safari themed sweet sixteen birthday party and to request that her friends and family donate to TFFT in lieu of bringing her gifts. This is one of the amazing aspects of our job… in addition to working with the most incredible kids we get to meet people like Megan Storms who have enormous hearts. It is impressive and refreshing to know a high school sophomore who is already thinking so globally. And oh-my-goodness just wait until you see the pictures from this party. Let’s just say we’ll be looking to Megan for inspiration for our November SOS Gala!
Meet Megan below, pictured with her parents, and read what she has to say about her decision to transform her sixteenth birthday into a philanthropic occasion!
How did you first learn about The Foundation For Tomorrow?
When I visited Africa in 2010 with my family I had the pleasure of meeting Meghann. Although I could feel Meghann’s passion it was not immediately clear to me how I could help. After our safari ended and I went back to the states I reflected on the efforts The Foundation For Tomorrow was making in Africa but still had not resolved how I could do something to help them.
What made you (so selflessly!) decide to use your 16th birthday as a way to support TFFT’s work?
I loved our trip to Africa so much I wanted to recreate the feeling for my friends and that is what led me to the theme “Safari Disco Club.” After talking to my parents I realized that I could request a donation to a worthy cause rather then accepting gifts. Given the good fortune and fullness of my life this seemed like the right thing to do. When I started my search for a charity I emailed George Mavroudis,our safari guide from 2010, for suggestions. He recommended TFFT and I immediately remembered meeting Meghann in Africa. It all came together from there, I deepened my knowledge of the charity and became engrossed and interested in helping this amazing foundation.
What was it about your time in Tanzania that affected you most? Would you like to return?
I am an animal lover, so naturally I enjoyed seeing all of the amazing creatures in the Serengeti. When my family and I drove through the impoverished towns of Tanzania I saw how the people there lived and I was intrigued because it was so different from the culture I am used to. I also had the opportunity to walk alongside the Hadza while they hunted which was an amazing experience. All together my experience in Africa affected me tremendously due to the varied experiences all the way from the beautiful animals to the impoverished villages.
So tell us… how was the party?
The party was more than I could ever have imagined. The decorations were beautiful thanks to a great team and my family. When I walked in for the first time 15 minutes before all of my guests arrived I was overwhelmed; I was in awe. Of course a party can only be as fun as the guests who are there and I am extremely lucky to have great friends and family who love to party. I had so much fun and in the end the party will be an amazing memory I can always look back on.
You put so much thought into the theme. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind it and some of the creative details you used to create the safari theme?
Well, it is a little bit random but I love this song called “Safari Disco Club” by Yelle and I thought wow that would be a cool party. It started out as just a little conversation with a few of my friends from Cape Cod and turned into the main idea of my party. I loved my time in Africa, which provided such great memories. Also, my family took amazing pictures which inspired my theme as well. After picking out my theme and generating ideas with my party planner we decided on a neutral color scheme with pops of bright red. We thought that having safari looking tents with couches would fill the party space and tie in my time in Africa. All in all I was very pleased with the way the decorations turned out.
We were blown away by the generosity of your guests! You raised over $4,000! Were you surprised by everyone’s generosity?
My original goal was 1,000 dollars and in the beginning even that seemed like a stretch. At first when only 5 or so people had donated I began to worry, but not surprisingly my guests pulled through in the end like I had hoped. In the weeks before my party the donations started to come through. Each time I checked my webpage and saw donations up to 200 dollars I could not hide my happiness and I got this enormous grin on my face. All of my good friends were so supportive and I am still in awe of their generosity.
In what ways would you like to stay involved with TFFT’s work?
I would love to visit Tanzania and if possible work or help TFFT in any way they suggest. I am regularly going to check the blog to see how everything is progressing and I will absolutely stay in touch with this amazing charity.
What advice would you give someone who wants to dedicate their special occasion to TFFT like you did?
Do it! It was extremely gratifying and easy. I am so glad I decided to ask my guests to donate in lieu of presents. In my opinion the money is better spent on less fortunate children than myself. To anyone thinking about donating their event or party to TFFT, I can’t think of one reason not to! If they have any questions please call me!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Just to say thank you to Kaitlin for helping me throughout this process; I could not have figured it out or raised the money without her. I would love to continue to stay involved with TFFT as much as possible.
We love meeting young people who choose to use their voice to make a difference. Megan turned her sixteenth birthday into something far bigger than herself. The party may have ended months ago, but our kids and TFFT’s programs are still benefitting from Megan’s generosity. We feel lucky to know Megan and look forward to seeing the ways she continues to make our world a better place.
Inspired by Megan’s story? Want your next celebration to have a meaningful impact that lasts long after the event passes? Email us! We can make it happen