How One Los Angeles Teen is Helping Fight Childhood Cancer

How One Los Angeles Teen is Helping Fight Childhood Cancer

Volunteering isn't about checking a box on a college application (although it can definitely help with that too!). It's about stepping up and using your energy and skills to make a positive difference in the world. To all the teens who have ever volunteered their time and talents, baked up a storm and brainstormed creative ways to get involved on behalf of kids battling cancer, we thank you!

With that, we turned to 10th grader Sophia Lehmann who has been involved with Cookies for Kids' Cancer since she was four years old. Sophia has exclusively hosted and planned her last three bake sales. To date she has raised over $8,700 to help fund pediatric cancer research! We checked in with Sophia for a little insight on inspiration, top tips and more.

Tell us about your first bake sale experience.

It was 2012 ... we baked, made signs, offered cookies and cupcakes for a donation and ate a lot (haha!). My mom’s friends’ kids were there too so it was a lot of fun with everyone together. As I got older, I started understanding more about what Cookies for Kids' Cancer does and how important its mission is.

We hear you are inspired by Milk Bar's Christina Tosi!

At that first bake sale in 2012, my mom worked with a lot of chefs and asked several of them if they would like to donate baked goods. One of those chefs was Christina Tosi. I remember trying her compost cookies from Milk Bar and immediately becoming a fan. First I loved her for her cookies, and then I started watching MasterChef Junior. As a judge, she was always so nice, fun, and cared about the kid chefs. I finally got to meet Christina a few times - first, when we went to a fundraiser for Cookies for Kids' Cancer called Family Fun Day. I was so excited to meet her in person - she was so friendly and kind. Another time, she invited me to the finale of MasterChef Junior. It was so thoughtful of her and amazing to be there. I was so inspired by her that I started to bake all the time. I even dressed up like her for “Dress Like Your Role Model Day” in elementary school! One holiday my parents got me a cake baking and decorating class at Milk Bar. I was excited to find out she is on the Board of Directors for Cookies for Kids' Cancer!


Give us your best bake sale tip.

Bake with color! Use sprinkles, frosting, candy...make it colorful and beautiful. Also, come up with some timely themes. For instance, last year I held a bake sale around Valentine’s Day and we used lots of pink, red, and hearts on everything. This year, my bake sale was on St. Patrick’s Day, think lots of green and four-leaf-clovers!

Favorite thing to bake?

I have a few favorites: chocolate chip cookies which are my top choice and always easy to make, banana bread, which quickly disappears in my house, and pies and crumbles for the holidays.

Talk to us about getting friends involved.

I tell and text all my friends about the bake sale. I also post on social media. Some of my friends bake, donate treats, or make signs. Others help me at the sale by selling and getting people to stop by. They also tell their friends to come by. Many just come to the bake sale to make donations then enjoy their treats.

Why is it important for you to raise funds for pediatric cancer research?

We have a family friend whose son had cancer and thankfully he is doing really well now. Also, a good friend had a benign brain tumor that was not cancerous but it was still very serious and she is now doing great too. Through both of these situations, I saw how hard and stressful it was for both the kids and the families.

I think we should all help each other. If everyone did something to help, it would make such a difference in someone’s life. Even just one thing. It doesn’t have to be big either. Having a bake sale is such a simple way to help someone. And you also make people happy with all the treats!

The work that Cookies does is SO important. I can imagine that for any kid who has cancer, all they want is to find a treatment that works so that they can get better. With every bake sale, we are helping to raise funds that go directly toward developing improved treatments to help kids. If people all around the world host bake sales, we can truly make a difference.

Thank you Sophia!...Any last insights?

This year, we reached out to amazing local bakeries and chefs to see if they wanted to donate and many said yes. Often, when they hear the mission of Cookies for Kids' Cancer, they want to help too! We had cookies and cake from Milk Bar, cupcakes from SusieCakes, and amazing donations from Levain Bakery, Gjusta, Sidecar Doughnuts and more.

Also, I want to thank Frankie’s on the Park, which is one of my favorite clothing shops, for letting me host my most recent bake sale there. In the past I have had bake sales at Pink Chicken as well. It's great to see local businesses support teens and kids who want to help other teens and kids!

It's easy, and fun, to Be A Good Cookie! Ps. You can also send cookies from - when you do, 100% of the proceeds help to fund pediatric cancer research and you can spread awareness at the same time. My favorites are Chunky Chocolate Chip and Snickerdoodle


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1 comment

  • What an outstanding young woman, Sophia Lehmann! May you continue to inspire and spread goodness and much needed help to those in need.
    Way to go Sophia!

    Marta Felcman

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