A Sachem student recently turned her birthday into something special for sick children.
Joyanna Sora, a junior at Sachem High School East in Farmingville, requested guests to donate children's items -- ranging from board games to coloring books -- in lieu of birthday gifts last month in celebration of her sweet 16 party at The Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station.
The wide array of toys and games went to the NewYork-Presbyterian Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children's Health in Manhattan.
"It was enough to fill my grandmother's [Ford] Explorer; I was so amazed by everyone's generosity," said Sora, 16. Of her incentive to help local kids, she said: "I was able to have a really nice party, but some kids don't have a chance to do that."
To select a hospital, Sora said she researched local hospitals to determine which would be a good fit and took a tour of the facility before her party. She then included a letter in her party invitations inviting attendees to donate a gift to one of four age groups: infants, toddlers, adolescents or preteens.
Sora is a member of Sachem East's National Honor Society, student government and leadership club. She also teaches Sunday school to preschoolers at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Lake Ronkonkoma.