Sofia Weidknecht – Colorado Interview by Inspiring Teens Photographer Jennifer Denton Photography Issue 39 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: In late March, 2020, Sofia Weidknecht and her younger sister Kate decided on their own that they would start a GoFundMe page for the Denver Public School Food Security Fund. Some children in the DPS system rely on this meal as their one and only hot meal of the day so when Covid hit, the girls knew they had to help. With the backing of their dance company, in less than a month, the girls were able to raise over $10,000 dollars to feed hundreds of DPS kids.
Congratulations on your success with the GoFundMe Page. What led to the GoFundMe page you started for Denver Public School Food Security Fund? I have family in the Denver Public School system, and I knew that there are a lot of families that rely on the school system to get breakfasts and lunches. I was concerned about how kids would get their food when we were on COVID lockdown and didn’t know how they would stay healthy through the quarantine season. My sister and I brainstormed and with the help of our dance company, we managed to raise over $10,000 for these kids in need!
How did you get people to know about it and to donate to it? When we first started it, we asked family and friends from our dance company to donate a few dollars to help us get started. As we began to gain leverage, we put links on our social media profiles and got a ton of donations through that. Eventually, we had the opportunity to go on our local TV news station and that is what blew our GoFund me up. We got hundreds of donations over the span of two weeks and really made me and my sister realize how easy it was to make an impact on people’s lives.
Tell us about the National Charity League. What do you do it in and what do you love about it? National Charity League is a super fun organization where you have the opportunity to give back to your community in so many different ways through so many different charities. My personal favorite charity is Meals on Wheels, and I love that one because it gives me a chance to drive around the city of Denver and give back to people who really need it. The people receiving the food are so thankful and it’s so cool to see your impact first-hand.
That's exciting you started your own business in 8th grade. Tell us more about it. What was the hardest part about starting it and how did you advertise? Do you still have it? The business that I created was called The Babysitting Bag, and it was a backpack that was easy to carry around to babysitting jobs with toys, coloring books, as well as first aid things like bandaids, antiseptic wipes, and instructions for CPR. The most challenging part of the whole experience was writing an entire business plan for my product. My product was completely unique which made it hard to answer some of the questions about competitors but through school advertisements, I ended up almost selling out. I stopped making more products after the end of 8th grade, however, I do have a couple of backpacks in my room that I haven’t gotten around to selling yet!
Your dance experiences sound super exciting. Tell us more about your opportunities. One of the most memorable opportunities I had last year was performing for the Special Olympics in Denver. This wasn’t one of our bigger performances, and it was in a gymnasium. We performed right before the basketball game started and I will never forget the faces of the people we performed for. They watched every move, and it was so quiet, we could hear a pin drop. After we finished, they gave us the biggest round of applause we could ask for. After the performance, we made posters and went around to the games cheering them on, and it was overall a super rewarding performance to be able to put those smiles on people's faces.
Look for Sofia in issue 39 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!