Author photo

By Tanya Joham
staff writer 

Teens With a Purpose


March 19, 2022

Emma Denny

From left to right: Layla Lujan, Trinity Madden and Emma Denny.

I had the privilege of speaking with a trio of 17-year-old girls who throw negative teen stereotypes out the window. You may already have heard of some of them - it's hard to hide bright stars of promise in a small town like ours.

Layla Lujan, along with her brother Milo, was named 2021 Citizen of the Year by the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and Tehachapi News, in part for starting and working in the Sunday Soup For the Soul soup kitchen at The Shed restaurant since 2018. Trinity Madden and Emma Denny have excelled on the Lady Warrior Cheer Squad. And Trinity has competed in (and won some) local and national beauty pageants.

Layla, Emma and Trinity are best friends. Together, they created an organization called Teens With a Purpose. Their goal is to get people to volunteer for various projects. Last month for example, they collected over 165 Valentine cards to be distributed to kids in the foster care system.

"We don't only want [to involve] people from the high school. We want to get younger kids involved and their parents involved," said Trinity. "I mean, you start in the community, which is the core, and then you can spread that to other communities and better our state."

Emma mentioned that a rising star in Teens With a Purpose is a 9-year-old girl named Samantha Baker. Teens With a Purpose enabled Samantha to start her own Helping Hands project within the organization. Her initial desire was to "give the homeless money." But since that presented difficulties, she decided instead to collect essential items like canned goods, warm clothing and personal care items to give the Mission of Kern County.

Teens With a Purpose's current project is a popcorn fundraiser to benefit SAVE, a suicide prevention organization and a cause dear to all three girls. The fundraiser will continue through March 27. They will also be hosting a project-related event on March 20 at The Shed, located at 333 E. Tehachapi Blvd. For more information, visit their website: By visiting the website, you can get involved in existing projects or even come up with your own!


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