Inspirational Teen Raises Money for Afghanistan Children

Trust in Education

Trust in Education – Briana Grether – Photo by: Eric Wight

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — In today’s society, it is common for teens to be encouraged by their parents, teachers or school organisations to venture out and do something to help the less fortunate. A new wave of altruistic teens is sweeping the US with their creative projects and fresh approach to fundraising. Thus, Fashion Globe is doing its part in recognising one Bay Area teen who is taking this trend to the next level.

Briana Grether, a beautiful, smart and compassionate senior who recently graduated from Acalanes High School in Lafayette, California. Grether has a passion for helping others, and for most of her high school years, devoted free-time volunteering and organising fundraising events to help raise money and awareness for Trust in Education (TIE), a charity founded in 2005 by Budd MacKenzie. Trust in Education’s mission statement:

We are a nonprofit that harnesses the power of volunteers and donations to ease suffering and enhance the quality of life for Afghan children, women and families; and aim to provide educational, economic and health care assistance to villages in Afghanistan.

Trust in Education

Trust in Education – Budd MacKenzie with the Afghanistan children

What inspired Briana Grether to become a humanitarian at such a young age?

When Briana Grether was in fifth grade, she accompanied her father (a biology professor at UCLA), on a research trip to Nicaragua. While there, she saw something that gripped at her heart; the poverty that overwhelmed the beautiful country with lush rainforest and exotic wildlife. Poor, dirt-covered children in rags, pulled at her sleeves, trying to sell her packets of gum for the equivalent of a couple of cents. And again, in seventh grade, she took another trip with her father to Uganda that changed her life. It impacted her in such a way that she wanted to reach out and help others in need. As Grether explains:

“I have memories of small, bare-footed children playing tag; especially, this one particular girl with a tattered blue dress. She had a square shaped area of fabric missing from her dress that exposed her left buttock. Those images were imprinted in my memory and have inspired me to do whatever I can to help the underprivileged. I strongly believe that everyone deserves to have an education, especially children.”

In 2011, Briana Grether’s sophomore year, she joined the SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Education) club at Acalanes High School. Through SAGE, she was then introduced to the TIE organisation. And, from there, started her mission with them to help raise money and spread awareness within the community about the situation in Afghanistan. Since Grether had such dedication and commitment, she was elected president of the SAGE club during her junior year, and re-elected again during her senior year (2012-2014).

Creative Fundraising Projects for TIE

Briana Grether’s other passion is her love for music. She loves listening to songs that have mixes of classical, jazz, blues or rock in them; preferably, something acoustic with heart and soul. Her musical talents include playing the guitar, piano and singing, to name a few. Grether successfully organised two benefit concerts which showcased musically talented students from Acalanes High School to raise funding for Trust in Education. Grether comments:

“Music has always been my biggest passion in life, so a benefit concert just seemed like a great way to bring my two passions together. I have been involved in the Acalanes Choir all of high school, and knew many of the performers who were excited to get on stage at any opportunity; and I also had connections necessary to make the event possible. The two concerts consisted of 25-30 performers who were some of the most talented singers, musicians and performers from school. There were choral, jazz, pop, funk, rock and other types of music played at the benefit to show music appreciation and celebrate the fact that we have been so fortunate to be brought up in this community, where freedom of expression is taken for granted, and we can count on receiving the highest quality of education possible.”

Trust in Education

Trust in Education – Afghanistan School Children

“In fact, in between acts, my vice-president and I spoke about the conditions in Afghanistan and what our club, SAGE, has done to help. Before the intermission at the end of the first act, Budd MacKenzie gave a speech about what TIE had done recently and also about what local schools and clubs, including SAGE, have done to support TIE. SAGE raised over $2,000 at the 2013 benefit concert, and slightly less at this year’s benefit concert. At the end of last year, we raised around $3,600, and this year, it was closer to $3,000.”

Aside from the concerts, Briana Grether also organised multiple car washes, speaking events at Acalanes High School (with TIE founder Budd MacKenzie and novelist Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner), clothing drives and events where SAGE members, along with others, helped build solar cookers and water pasteurisation indicators for the Afghan Refugees. Grether also inspired other SAGE members to carry out great projects as well. For example, William Goldie conducted an online project in which he raised over $20,000 for the construction and shipment of Raspberry Pi computers; and Matthew Armstrong, another member who created an indoor ladder ball game for the school children in Afghanistan.

Briana Grether is a breath of fresh air. She exudes this sense of calmness and maturity not seen in many teens of her age. What makes this teenager extraordinary is her dedication and immeasurable drive to go above and beyond to help raise funding and awareness for TIE. Her vision to create a better world for these Afghanistan villages, especially for the children, makes her a remarkable teen and a true inspiration for others. Children are our future leaders, inventors and heroes. They help shape our world for a better tomorrow. So it is instrumental to have young role-models like Briana Grether, to help motivate and inspire other youths to step outside the box and broaden their scope in helping others.

Though, Briana Grether’s high school years have come to a close, she will continue her humanitarian work at Pomona College in Claremont, California in the autunm. She hopes to start her own club in college so that she can continue to make a difference with Trust in Education.

Click here to view the 2013 SAGE Benefit Concert.

Courtesy of: Briana Grether and Trust in Education | Photography by: Eric Wight and Trust in Education | Website:
Tiffany Le About the author

Wardrobe consultant and fashion writer who owns a Bay Area luxe tailoring boutique. Believes in karma, human rights and being earth-friendly. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a degree in Fashion Design from San Francisco Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; and inspires others to be confident and beautiful from inside out.


  1. Wow, what an inspirational story!