Amity High School student Sheariah Stevens is hoping her senior project will be the catalyst to inspire young people to give their two cents –literally—to charity.
The accomplished senior, who is also a professional actor and singer, came up with a plan for her senior project to encourage children and teens to donate just two cents to a community fund that would be distributed to various charities. “If everyone in Connecticut gave two pennies, you can help make a difference for all humanitarian crises around the world,” she said.
Stevens’ interest in helping those less fortunate began at home in a family committed to helping others. “Charity work has been a long-time passion that’s meant a lot to me with my family,” she said. Besides performing regularly at fundraising events hosted by the local chapter of the American Red Cross, Sheariah and her sister, Adaiah, a former contestant on Master Chefs Junior, even baked 1,000 French macaroons to donate to the Red Cross’ Red, White and You Ball. “I hope the two cents campaign normalizes giving to charity and makes it easier and more accessible,” Stevens said. “Often it is the same sorts of people who attend fundraising events and I would like to make it more diverse and introduce children to the idea that your effort can make a difference.”
In the month Stevens had to outline a proposal for her project, she laid the groundwork for her 2 cents campaign, distributing coin boxes to local schools, filing paperwork with the state and developing a social media presence and website for the charity. Since she will begin her freshman year at Quinnipiac University in the fall, Stevens is confident she will be able to continue to build and expand her project locally, already scheduling visits to several area middle schools. She expects her first fundraising events to include musical performances by young people at an art gallery and a gathering for children that will feature a bounce house and clowns. Cost of admission? Two cents. She has already collected several hundred dollars that she will probably donate to the Red Cross. “I have a long history with them and they do great work, but in the future, I plan to donate to other national charities,” she said.
Amity High School social studies and AP psychology teacher Rick Bourdeau, who was Sheariah’s, mentor on the project, said, “Sheariah is a special young lady. While many of her peers are socially conscious, Sheariah takes it to a new level. I look forward to hearing about how she continues to help improve the human condition moving forward.”
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent