16-year-old Shriya Alli winces as she opens her silver laptop – the bright light harshly glares into her eyes against the dark setting of her bedroom. Her cursor roams for the search bar on the screen to type in the one organization plaguing her mind throughout all of spring break: Team Afterglow. This is a self-run 10-week fundraiser raising money through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) where proceeds will go towards blood cancer research.
“I don’t see a lot of younger people raising awareness for cancer,” she says during the initial days of her project, “I thought creating my fundraiser will do that as well as gain money”. A study conducted by Harris Interactive shows that while 44% of teens “actively” support charities through volunteering while 26% actually donate money.
Alli’s Team Afterglow focuses more on students marketing on social media to raise money for an organization event, Light The Night, where participants will walk and release lanterns into the night sky to symbolize awareness and hope amongst leukemia-diagnosed patients. Each member of the team has a separate link that adds the money raised directly to the major LLS fundraiser.
As a way of gaining traffic to Team Afterglow’s website, Alli has decided to collaborate with peers from different campuses and states. “I have connections throughout Frisco and even people in New York who are volunteering and donating money” she states.
To join as a volunteer to Team Afterglow, sign up directly through https://pages.lls.org/ltn/ntx/Plano22/TeamAfterglow or donate money through https://pages.lls.org/ltn/ntx/Plano22/ShriyaAlli.
It’s the middle of her junior year, a time when students are usually overwhelmed with the pressures of school work, standardized tests, and academic clubs, but Alli is determined to leave her mark on the community through it all.
“It’s never too late or early to take a stance on things you care about”.