Will Garrett Snider have time to blow out his birthday candles on Jan. 11?
He is 16, going on 17 — and going fast and furious in a lane all his own.
The Haverford School junior is a study in philanthropy, managing to juggle the demands of education and the time to give back to the community.
But then, he was raised in an atmosphere where fundraising was an important part of Jewish character development.
The son of local entrepreneur Lindy Snider (“Lindi Skin” skin care products developed for cancer victims) and Scott Getlin, and grandson of sports/entertainment mogul Ed Snider and Myrna Snider, Garrett is a young force of nature — which is how he started doing mitzvot to begin with.
He was 10 when Hurricane Katrina hit and he began campaigning friends and family to send canned goods to the New Orleans area ravaged by the storm.
Rather than receive video games for his birthday, the youngster gamely asked others to package their gifts with a New Orleans label.
"Every birthday since, I’ve requested, rather than presents for me, that people send donations” to chosen charities, he says.
In the past 7 years, Garrrett has raised some $100,00 for those charities. He picks a different one each year: “I like so many causes, I can’t pick just one.”
They’re all helped by the burgeoning Garrett Snider Foundation. Two close to his heart: The Petit Family Foundation and Mission Kids, the latter co-founded by Montco District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. “I’m chairman of their auction committee. I do a lot with child advocacy groups.”
Taking a stand — the puck stops here — was something he learned from Grandpop Ed, a major philanthropist. But to do good you have to do something yourself, reasons Garrett: “I had to do something to step out of my grandfather’s shadow.”
The shadow of his own smile these days falls upon many grateful charities. But going out on his own doesn’t mean he’s left his famous Flyers-founder grandpop behind.
“I admire him to no end,” says Garrett. “There is no better person to follow when it comes to work ethic than my grandfather. He’s a whirlwind — a good whirlwind.”
And, like Ed, Garrett says he believes in setting the standard rather than following it: “You can’t live up to the Joneses next door; you need to be the Joneses.”
It takes jones to do that at 16. And this Bryn Mawr braveheart may have his eyes on a family tradition of attending the University of Pennsylvania, where he would like to study business.
Already a textbook definition of a self-starter, Garrett has made book on standing out as a stand-up guy.
“I’ve just written a book although I don’t have a title for it yet.”
For the teen who believes that starting here, starting now is the best way to approach life, his self-described big mouth (“You need to have a big mouth to speak up for yourself”) comes with some tongue-in-cheek.
“My book? Let’s call it a satirical self-help memoir.”