Youth trailblazer Avia Weber insights on success

Junior at Saucon Valley shares her success in community service and nonprofit organization

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Joseph Exley, Editor-in-Chief

Avia Weber has been a trailblazer and a leader from an incredibly young age. From participating in scholarship competitions and pageants, to hosting and helping fundraisers, to starting her own nonprofit organization for adoption awareness, she has exceeded everyone’s expectations so greatly. 

Q: What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?

A: I am most proud of the “Send the Love to Myanmar” multivitamins drive because it was my first international project I organized! Numerically, we received 127 bottles of multivitamins along with books and coloring activities for four orphanages and one bible school in Myanmar. Multivitamins were chosen due to the malnutrition among children in Myanmar and their cost, which is seven times greater than in America. The amount collected was very surprising to me because it surpassed my expectations greatly. The ability to provide that many for the kids were the most impactful! That was all possible from the support and donations of everyone! I brought the drive to Saucon through the Global Scholars Club and the response among the student body and even staff was AMAZING! We received countless donations in money and more!

Q: How old were you when you became committed to activism and what began this passion?

A: The development of my activism has definitely evolved over the years, specifically through quarantine. I really felt that I began learning to become more educated on the topics that make up our society. I began volunteering at Camelot for Children, which is a summer camp that provides the magic of childhood for children with disabilities, and we’ve expanded to hold year-round events as well. I have served on the junior board at Camelot for the past two years and this year I am honored to be the secretary. I would say I found my joy drive to volunteer from Camelot, so I began volunteering at the local zoo and other community events whenever I had the chance. To be honest, I haven’t talked much about adoption until 2018, and even then up until really this year, I only covered it on the awareness side. This was limited to the most surface level, but quarantine allowed me to view the inequities and apply them to the current state of society. 

Q: how long have you participated in pageants? 

A: [Her first competition was within] The Miss America Organization,  which has relabeled us as a scholarship competition to emphasize the importance of academic success. My aunt has been a volunteer within this organization for the longest time, so I was involved with their youth mentorship programs at a young age and started competing until I was twelve going on thirteen.

Q: What awards or titles have you received that you’re most proud of and how old were you when you received them?

A: Within my time competing, I have held four local titles, and right now, I am Miss Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Outstanding Teen. To be honest, it has been quite the journey of competing. Two summers ago, I was the second runner up to Miss Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Teen- which is one of my biggest goals. I was really hoping to win the state title this year but due to COVID-19 things looked a little different. The best part about this organization is the scholarships that are awarded. I am super excited to say that I have won thousands of dollars in money and in-kind scholarships from colleges in Pennsylvania.

Q: What is the largest pageant you have participated in?

A: As I mentioned before, I have only held local titles, so that makes the state pageant the biggest competition I’ve competed at. However, I am really hoping to win the state title which enables me to compete at the national competition with 50 other contestants!

Q: How are you managing quarantine, especially when you were unable to participate in your usual events?

A: COVID-19 quarantine has definitely thrown many curveballs. Specifically, my state competition did not happen this past summer and has all been postponed until next year which was very disappointing to me, but I have come to accept it. While my competitions have been postponed, it hasn’t prevented me from doing my personal work with my own nonprofit, joining social media organizations, and maintaining the work I have done within organizations in the community. Quarantine has really allowed me to expand my impact, hold unconventional fundraisers, and educate myself. I have been learning about the system of our society and identifying and fixing my own biases. Quarantine has given me the time to do that and I’m really thankful for a time for self-growth and the opportunity to make impacts outside of the “pageant” world.

Q: What can you tell me about your nonprofit?

A: Over Thanksgiving break in 2019, I began the process of forming a nonprofit and officially established an international nonprofit organization on December 31. Since then, I have served as President and Founder leading the organization’s mission to support and connect the adoption community through donation drives, advocacy, and global outreaches. Throughout quarantine, I established connections with adoptees, national organizations, foster homes, adoption agencies, and orphanages overseas to expand my organization’s impact. Although I created the platform in 2018, the official work began this year. In this year alone, we held three donation drives, started a YouTube channel, and optimized our presence through online platforms all in efforts to positively impact the adoption community.