by Heidi Duncanson | Development & Communications Coordinator
Here at Seacoast Science Center, we have many teen volunteers: some help with day camp, some clean aquatic tanks and some help with events, but very few tackle the serious business of fundraising. Sophia Snaith of North Hampton is not your average teenager and she set her sights high to help support our efforts to raise money for more children to be able to visit the Center.
During her year as New Hampshire State President for Children of the American Revolution (C. A. R.), Sophia designed and led an ambitious statewide project to raise $2,640 for the Center’s Coastal Education Fund. This fund offers scholarships for visits to the Center by schools that are unable to afford field trips for their students. Some of the students who come on these field trips are visiting the ocean for the very first time, so these on-site visits make a big impression and get them better connected to the natural world. The more children know about our environment, the more likely they are to care about it and become ocean stewards.
When she was elected President, Sophia decided to channel her passion for ocean conservation into building her platform. She contacted Seacoast Science Center to learn more about what we do, and decided her public service project, a statewide collective effort that she would design and facilitate, would be to raise money and awareness for ocean conservation and education. She arranged for the New Hampshire society to have a booth at the Center’s annual World Ocean Day, so people could learn about her goals, efforts, and as well as learn about C. A. R. With nearly 1,000 people in attendance that day, the group got a lot of visibility and gathered some donations.
Sophia’s next step was to begin organizing this statewide effort, which included lots of letter-writing and over a hundred presentations, meetings and events throughout the state. When her campaign was complete, she had raised $2,640, which is the biggest donation the Center has received from a teen fundraiser. Sophia presented a check to SSC’s Director of Mission Kate Leavitt at the C. A. R. New Hampshire State Conference banquet in Hampton, NH. Kate said, “I was so impressed by Sophia’s passion, drive, and ability to activate and facilitate an effort of this magnitude. Sophia’s experiences this past year speak strongly to the incredible potential and impact of an empowered, supported and purposeful youth effort. We were honored to be a part of this and to be the shepherds of these funds which will support our ocean conservation and marine education work.”
Later in the year, Sophia came to the Center to meet a HeadStart group that had received funding for their visit through the Coastal Education Fund. Seeing the kids and their parents be able to touch crabs, lobsters and sea stars for the first time was gratifying. “The kids were so excited, and the parents were grateful that they were getting to have this experience,” she shared. “It makes me feel good that they were able to come to Seacoast Science Center thanks to the fundraising I did.”
Sophia is a student at Berwick Academy and has been elected to serve on the National Board of C. A. R. as she considers her future projects and pathway. She and her parents continue to be involved in activities at the Center and we look forward to seeing where her organizing and fundraising skills and passion for ocean conservation take her in the future.