Amanda Keller and Michelle Bennett of Morris County, New Jersey used the celebration of their very special sixteenth birthdays this year to raise $1,200 for Rainforest Action Network and spread awareness about the importance of protecting rainforests to their network of friends, family, and community. Amanda was kind enough to tell us about how her and Michelle came up with their awe-inspiring birthday celebration, and why she has taken it upon herself to practice green living every day.
Why did you two involve a nonprofit in the celebration of your Sweet 16's?
At first I wasn't planning on having a sweet 16, maybe just a trip to New York with a few friends, but Michelle called me one day with the idea and I got so excited. A "Go Green Sweet 16" not only rolled off the tongue nicely but would also be a great way to raise money to help the environment. We quickly made a guest list, eco-friendly invites (with used water bottles instead of envelopes), and ordered vegan catering. We requested that guests bring monetary donations for RAN in lieu of gifts, and we were very happy with the $1,200 dollars we were able to raise.
Amongst so many environmental nonprofits out there, what made you choose RAN?
Honestly, I hadn't heard of RAN before planning the party. Michelle and I searched on Google for rainforest charities and it was the first link that popped up. As it turns out we couldn't have picked a more appreciative and cooperative organization.
Tell us a little bit about you...
I'm a junior in high school and want to be a nutrition major in college. As of last year, I went vegan to advocate for the beautiful mistreated animals and to cut down on the huge carbon footprint associated with animal products. I've always been environmentally conscious, with my Vera Bradley lunch box, reusable water bottles, and ridiculously small font sizes to cut down on use of printer paper. I'm a dancer and a yogi and go hiking as often as possible. Out of the nine different countries I've traveled to, Monaco was by far my favorite because of the giant playground I found there.