“There are people all around me that are not as fortunate as me, and I want to make a difference in their lives,” said Savannah Lopez, a junior at Friends Central School, from Narberth PA.
Over the past four years, 17-year-old Savannah has made charitable donations to JEVS Human Services programs. This began when she was 13, donating her Bat Mitzvah money to the Beds for Kids initiative at JEVS Work Ready, which helped children in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia to get a good night’s sleep.
“When I heard there were children living without something as necessary as the comfort of a bed, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had to help.”
Since supporting that project and realizing its impact, Savannah has chosen to continue donating toward other worthy projects at JEVS.
“I think it’s important to volunteer and contribute to your community throughout your life to make a lasting impact.”
For 2019, Savannah chose the E3 Power Center City, which connects out-of-school youth—many of whom are low-income—to education and employment opportunities. Her contributions went toward their food pantry to provide a mini fridge for drinks, and handy snacks and meals for individuals who are attending classes at the E3 Center. During Savannah’s recent visit to E3, program alumnus Jasmine gratefully explained how much the food pantry helps the participants focus throughout the day and overcome struggles with food insecurity.
“I was struck to hear about how students at E3 may be sitting here with an empty stomach, or they aren’t fueling up in the morning with a nutritious breakfast,” said Savannah.
The generosity of this ‘Gen Z’ donor is realized across the organization, as she has also donated toward JEVS’s The Choice is Yours program for young people to get back on their feet after drug-related offenses, and JEVS Center for New Americans, an employment program for new refugees.
“I think JEVS does so many amazing things for people, it makes it a hard choice because they are all such important and valuable causes”. This is also why she continues to donate each and every year because she has seen the efforts and effects of these programs for deserving individuals.
“Savannah is a caring, generous and bright young woman who is definitely going to make a difference in this world!” said Nancy Astor Fox, chief development officer at JEVS. “This has been a wonderful experience.”
Savannah explained that this gift of giving is in her blood. “Giving back has always been a large part of my family values. My siblings and I have always asked that our friends make a donation to a charity of our choice instead of buying us a gift on birthdays.” Her initial donation to JEVS was in honor of her grandmother who was a reading specialist at an elementary school with limited resources.
“We tend to take what we have for granted.”
Savannah feels that now after her contributions she has a better understanding of not being ungrateful for the blessings she has been granted in life, she now takes the time to think before she takes things for granted and acts in the faith of others.
“I am very appreciative and glad to be working with JEVS, and its been an amazing opportunity to give back to others who deserve it”.