Sophia Is The Drop, We Are The Ripples

Sofia Tam and Erin Terzieff met September 2005 at Carver Elementary School in San Marino, California where, as a 10-year old, Sofia displayed a budding passion for Human Rights, Social Justice, and the Environment.   During the course of the school year, Sofia and her friends, with Erin’s facilitation, became more involved in extending their lessons outside of the classroom and into the real world. As a result, Sofia challenged Erin to travel to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) with her grandfather Wayne Tam to visit the Mingalar Parahita School and Orphanage. 

Erin took the challenge, and it was there that she learned about the situation of Burmese children living in conflict and crisis.  Shortly thereafter, she began working with BMWEC, a community-based organization focused on educating Burmese migrant children living in Mae Sot, Thailand on the Thai-Burma border.

As Sofia continued on through middle and high school, she advocated, fundraised, and hosted special events to support the Burmese migrant schools in Mae Sot. She spent her summers on the border along with her family, Robert, Julie, William and Emma, and Erin, working at the schools and beginning to build the foundation for what would become All You Need Is Love.

Sofia’s light was so strong, it shone brightly even during the darkest times. Although confronted with brain cancer in her junior year, she was undeterred by her adversities, committed to graduating from high school, continue working with her NCL philanthropies, and serving the migrant children. She chose to volunteer in Mae Sot with her family even as she was undergoing treatments.  Just three weeks before she passed away in August 2013, Sofia, with the help of her siblings William and Emma and a cast of friends and family, hosted a fundraiser that kept seven Burmese Migrant schools from closing, and she accomplished all of this by the age of 18.

2014 Memorial trip to Mae Sot the Summer after Sofia passed
Sofia’s Mom & Sister (Julie & Emma Tam) & Erin Terzieff at the Sofia Tam Memorial Park
Children at Education Garden listening to a story about Sofia
Children at Education Garden listening to a story about Sofia

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