Sweet sixteen parties: we’re all about them and we’re not ashamed to admit it.

Turning the big 1-6 only happens once and Invisible Children supporter Elizabeth found a way to make it count. How, you ask? Elizabeth used her milestone 16th birthday as a way to show her abundance of passion for IC. The party itself may have been a surprise, but Elizabeth’s friends and family knew of her mad love for IC and in the planning process, encouraged the party guests to make a donation to Invisible Children rather than present her with a gift…even though we can assume Elizabeth wouldn’t have said no to a puppy.

Masquerade Ball invitation

The cherry on top was that we were invited to attend her Surprise Sweet Sixteen Masquerade Ball (even though we were planning on crashing it anyways – yeah, we’re not above that) and our IC Clubs Coordinator Angela was able to re-live her high school experience and accept the donation in person.

Elizabeth (left) with IC staffer Angela

Elizabeth (left) with IC staffer Angela

We are beyond honored by Elizabeth’s generosity and even more impressed with her extensive activism history. She attends one of IC’s most ardent Schools for Schools participators. Don’t believe the “most ardent” part? Because of their outstanding fundraising efforts during our Frontline Tour in 2011, students from this local San Diego high school won a trip to Uganda to tour our office and programs firsthand. Elizabeth’s work with IC isn’t exclusive to her school, as she recently joined the thousands of other red shirts on Pennsylvania Ave during MOVE:DC.

Invisible Children is all about the human connection – so is Elizabeth’s family. Her brother flew in from college for her birthday event. Elizabeth and her grandpa hit up the dance floor alongside Elizabeth’s closest friends she’s had since elementary school when ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ came on (a nod to the family’s Alabama roots.) And Elizabeth was able to honor the memory of her grandmother when she was presented with a sentimental family heirloom. But she tells us the most treasured moment from the night was being able to celebrate together with all the people she cares most about: friends, family, and now IC (believe us, Angela still won’t stop talking about it.)

“A motto in our family is the greatest present is someone’s presence.”

It’s unrealistic to hope MTV would start featuring only humanitarians like Elizabeth on their show My Super Sweet 16 (this is us dropping hints), so instead we’re doing our part to tip our hat to the beautiful birthday girl. What we have learned from this: when you combine IC and a party, it is guaranteed to be an unforgettable night.

Have a story of how you’re representing IC in your everyday life? E-mail [email protected] and tell us your tale.