My Generation Essay: Teens passionate about philanthropic efforts

January 3, 2012 12:00 am

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Adults frequently question the intentions of teenagers. According to many adults in our lives, we drive too quickly, listen to music too loudly and take too much of an interest in ourselves.

I, however, would like to argue that this is definitely not the case. Teenagers across the country are branching out, taking a passion and turning it into a philanthropic effort. For example, Aneesha Raghunathan, a 17-year-old high school student in Plainsboro, N.J., turned her passion for fashion into The Hope Line Inc., an organization designed to empower women across the world. Aneesha designs the T-shirts in her hometown, and women in India execute the designs. The women are guaranteed employment and granted living wages, along with additional funding and supplies to turn their dreams into business ventures. Check out her work at

I found this site in part because as a sophomore in high school, I am obsessed with fashion. Some may argue that an obsession with fashion is a superficial obsession, but young female fashion designers across the country are proving the naysayers wrong. Designing clothing or an accessory line for the benefit of one or many charitable organizations may be the next big thing in the ever-changing world of fashion. Tanesa Peterson, a 16-year-old Fort Worth, Texas, native, recently launched "Prom Princess for a Day" through her clothing line, Nesa Fab. The first event provided 35 free prom dresses for high school seniors in need. See the details at

Evidence of such "fashion philanthropy" can be found across the nation, in small towns and in big cities. In New York City, Alyssa Wasko runs Donni Charm, a fashion and accessory line to commemorate her father after a tragic accident took his life two years ago. Not only is Alyssa's line ( a therapeutic outlet, she also donates proceeds from Donni Charm to numerous organizations, including Make-A-Wish Foundation and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Alyssa's designs include clothing, scarves and jewelry that feature her signature angel wing charm. Her line has received celebrity attention and her efforts were most recently profiled by teen fashion magazine, Teen Vogue.

Young adults of my generation are proving to adults that we take an interest in the world around us, as well as the fact that we have the tools and passion to become future leaders.

Sophia Benoit, 15, is a sophomore, Upper St. Clair High School. This essay was written during this fall's Allegheny Intermediate Unit gifted and talented journalistic writing and reporting apprenticeship taught by professor Helen Fallon at Point Park U
First Published 2012-02-09 19:05:39
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