UCC teen's birthday guests celebrate by giving a boost to her favorite causes
Written by Jeff Woodard
April 10, 2012
Emma Weihe hosted 17 classmates for her 16th birthday party and didn't receive a single gift.
That's because she donated the $125 that her guests brought to the celebration. Benefactors were The Trevor Project, VH1's Save the Music! Foundation, and the local Humane Society.
Guests of the recent party also brought 26 items to donate to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
"I chose The Trevor Project (an LGBTQ teen suicide-prevention hotline) because I support gay rights, and the recent surge in teen suicides upsets me greatly," said Emma, a student at Revere High School in Richfield, Ohio, and a member of Bath United Church of Christ in suburban Akron.
VH1's Save the Music! Foundation offers grants to save instrumental music programs in schools nationwide. "Being the band geek that I am," Emma said, "there was no way I could resist this opportunity to help spread the joy music brings to the world."
Emma said she chose the Humane Society because so many of her friends love animals. "I knew they would want to give to such an organization," she said.
Emma has also worked as a food-pantry volunteer, served meals at two other local UCC churches, and helped last year at a bake sale for Haiti earthquake relief.
Becky Weihe, Emma's mother, said she is proud of her daughter's thoughtfulness and accomplishments. "She is truly devoted to her causes and really appreciates her friends' support of her unique birthday celebration," said Becky.
Emma says she wouldn't have had it any other way.
"I just felt that this was the time to make a difference," she said. "These groups need support more than I need a stick of eyeliner or a gift card."