Marietta teen working to make humanitarian trip come to fruition

Photo by Michele Newbanks Hannah Lovejoy packs her bike before taking her rolling florist shop through downtown Marietta Friday morning.

MARIETTA — A Marietta teen this summer is raising money for a humanitarian trip to Tonga.

Hannah Lovejoy, 15, Friday rode a bike around downtown Marietta selling flowers for the trip, which she hopes to take next summer.

The trip is part of the Humanitarian Experience for Youth, a nonprofit organization offering humanitarian missions to youth 16- to 19-years old.

Lovejoy said she was looking into a humanitarian trip and when she saw the group’s website. She knew she found the one.

“I was looking at kids there and you can see some of the kids you’ll be able to help,” Lovejoy said. “Those touched me the most.”

While there were many options on where to serve, Tonga was the place where she decided to go for the two-week trip. Tonga is an archipelago of 171 islands in the South Pacific Ocean, south of Samoa and east of Brisbane, Australia.

“While I’m there, I’ll have the opportunity to help build a school for the area where I’m going,” Lovejoy said.

Some of the other options were Brazil, Paraguay, Guatemala and Cambodia.

She said she won’t be able to register for any specific week until October and then the trip will be held anytime from the end of May until the beginning of August.

Along with helping to improve the lives of people around the world, the Salt Lake City, Utah-based organization has youth volunteers participating in church services and Bible study during the trip.

This isn’t the only fundraiser Lovejoy is holding to raise the $3,000 needed for the expedition. She’s been raising money the past few weeks by selling chocolate-covered pretzels and strawberries, babysitting, cleaning and painting.

“Any jobs people need me to do,” she said.

She got the flowers to sell from Passiflora Studios in Marietta.

“I did a previous fundraiser and I’m friends with (owner) Caroline Waller,” she said.

Waller’s studio made the bike she rode on Friday.

“The bike was originally from an ice cream factory in New York,” Waller said. “They used it to deliver stuff in the factory.”

During her bike trek around downtown, Lovejoy sold all 20 of her bouquets, which were donated by Passiflora.

“She picked a couple from her sister’s garden,” Waller said. “The others came from the Passiflora cutting garden.”

She said she was impressed with Lovejoy’s mission trip and was happy to help.

“I’m proud of her, having the motivation to do that and help other people,” Waller said. “That’s a major trip. It’s going to be life changing for her.”

Waller isn’t the only one supporting Lovejoy in her mission. So are Lovejoy’s parents, Peter and Kim Lovejoy.

“They are completely supportive of me,” Lovejoy said. “They’ve been helping me find ways and giving me jobs to do to help raise money.”

The 10th grader at Veritas Classical Academy in Marietta seems to have service in her blood. She wants to become a nurse after she graduates from college.

“One of my top options is (Brigham Young University) in Utah,” she said. “I hope to become a nurse either in labor and delivery or in the (newborn intensive care unit).”

It’s support from friends and family that gave Lovejoy the confidence to go by herself on a mission to Tonga.

“I have the ability to help, so I thought it would be great to go and help, since I have so many people helping me out,” she said.

To help Hannah raise money for her humanitarian trip, contact her at lovejoyhannah16@gmail.com.

Michele Newbanks can be contacted at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.