While most kids celebrate their birthday by receiving gifts, one teen used her special day to give. Fifteen-year-old Arianna Hernandez asked her Quinceanera guests to bring personal care items to donate to SOS Community Services. Thanks for your contribution, Arianna!

When asked why she chose to accept donations instead of gifts she simply said, “Honestly because I don’t really need more stuff.” Arianna was inspired last October after donating socks to SOS Community Services with her church group, Belleville Trinity Episcopal Church. She explains that when SOS’s development director, Chelsea Brown, made a speech about SOS Community Services’ mission, the need for personal care items stuck with her. From that point she started asking family and friends to give her toiletry items to donate to SOS. Her most recent SOS donation may have been the biggest but it is not her first. Arianna has been collecting things with her church and school to donate to SOS and other charities. In fact, last year she ran a successful candy cane message drive through her school and donated most of her proceeds to SOS. As a Girl Scout, Arianna is familiar with volunteering in the community.

This personal care drive for SOS is helping her work towards her goal of the prestigious Gold Award. A gold award is the highest achievement a Girl Scout can obtain; it challenges high school girls to think of creative ways to solve community problems.[1]  Arianna is passionate about helping in her community and creating art to share with the world.  Her future goal is to become a photographer who specializes in human and animal pieces. “I’ve been getting more serious about photography and it would be cool to get paid for it,” says Arianna.  Right now, Arianna is continuing helping her community while running her own jewelry business. Arianna shared some of her beautiful jewelry designs with us and explained that her website is currently under construction.  But you can see some of her photographs on her Instagram, @aria_hern.

For more information on making a donation, email info@soscs.org.

[1] Girl Scouts of America highest awards program: Gold (http://www.girlscouts.org/en/our-program/highest-awards/gold-award.html)