What makes a young person motivated to help others?  Some students have an innate ability to lean into stewardship, and there's one in Londonderry, New Hampshire, who is determined to leave her mark.

Megan Plaza, a 14-year-old freshman at Londonderry High School, has founded "The Suitcase Project" for children in New Hampshire in the foster care system.

Megan currently holds the title of Miss Stratham’s Teen under the Miss America Scholarship program, and aims to market her new non-profit endeavor to anyone who will help with her project.

In a recent conversation, Plaza says "the average foster child in New Hampshire moves 15 times before the age of 18."  Often these children have nothing to put their sole possessions in, and use trash bags or a box to move from one place to another.


As this innovative high schooler informed me,

The goal of The Suitcase Project is to supply every youth in the New Hampshire foster care system with a suitcase or duffel bag, enabling them to carry their belongings from place to place in a way that provides a greater sense of self-esteem, dignity, and belonging.

The hope is for every foster child to be adopted, but often the system places them from one home to another in varying circumstances.

The Suitcase Project has its first event this Saturday, January 6, at the Londonderry High School.  You are invited to bring a new or gently-used suitcase or duffel bag to the high school lobby between 9am-12noon.

Megan Plaza
Megan Plaza

Megan says she's learning so much about starting a non-profit, and has a board of directors including a social worker, guidance counselor, 4th grade teacher, bank executive, and state/local town employee.  This is a down-home roots project for a cause she is passionate about after befriending neighborhood foster children who were adopted.  They felt lucky. That made Megan think about how lucky she was, and how many children and teens struggle.

To find out more, check out The Suitcase Project on Facebook, Instagram, or at their website.  Will you help? Share this post or donate a suitcase.

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Gallery Credit: Megan

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