Congratulations to Sierra Alef-Defoe, the grand prize winner in the Teen Impact contest hosted by the Huffington Post to honor teen volunteers. Sierra helped start a charity when she was 11 years old after her best friend died from a brain tumor: Pink Polka Dots Guild raises money to find a cure for brain cancer.
“Over the years, PPD has held fundraisers from lemonade stands to art expositions to golf tournaments. I have played a leading role in planning and organizing each PPD event,” Sierra wrote in her contest entry. “The very first Pink Polka Dots event, a garage sale, raised $9,000, and our most recent fundraiser, the fifth annual golf tournament, brought in over $73,000. The guild progressed faster than I ever anticipated. In five years, we have become 40 members strong, and raised almost half of a million dollars.”
Becoming an activist has helped in the fight against brain cancer, but it has also made a personal impact on Sierra. “My experience has taught me that with passion and dedication, it is possible to make an impact in the world,” she wrote. “The determination that Pink Polka Dots sparked in me has carried over to all aspects of my life, making me a driven academic, a competitive debater, a scrupulous editor, and a dedicated volunteer.”
The Teen Impact contest was hosted in conjunction with Drew Barrymore’s new film Big Miracle. Teens volunteers and activists between the ages of 14 and 18 were asked to write a blog entry up to 800 words “explaining why YOU should be chosen as the best representative of your generation’s unique power to do good, plus an optional YouTube video link, photo or video.”
As the grand prize winner, Sierra won $1,000 for her charity, and a trip to New York to see the movie hosted by Arianna Huffington, pictured with Sierra above.
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