Rising Star: Palyce Berrian

This ambitious teen deftly juggles her theater dreams with her philanthropic endeavors.

Palyce Berrian has a lot on her plate. The last few months have been a balancing act, with near daily rehearsals at the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts, where she attended high school, and hours spent applying to college musical theater programs. On top of all that, she still had to factor in homework. Somehow, the recent graduate has made time for community service, too.

It really clicked in seventh grade when Berrian was elected to the Georgia Department of Education Middle School Advisory Board. Tasked with starting a community project, Berrian felt called to focus on hygienic products and toiletry items since they can’t be purchased on federal assistance. “People have to decide between getting dinner and diapers, and that’s a hard decision because [mothers] need both,” she says. “I thought, if there’s any way that I could help alleviate one
of those problems, then I would do it.”

The initiative was dubbed “Palyce Gives H.O.P.E.” (Hygiene and Other Personal-care Essentials), and with the help of social media and her neighbors, Berrian procured donations for shelters and food pantries. This evolved into her work with the Period Project, an organization that advocates for accessible and affordable menstrual hygiene products. She hosts period drives and “period parties,” where guests organize the supplies before donating the bundles to shelters.

Looking forward, Berrian, who also won US American Teen in the US American Miss National Scholarship Pageant, plans to pursue the performing arts and one day reach Broadway. Community service will always be a part of her, however. In fact, it was theater—the gathering around for a common goal—that first inspired her passion for community involvement. She hopes to incorporate her love of theater with her philanthropic dreams and plans to enlist fellow college classmates. “I think it would be a great idea to help other people who love theater get out in their community and serve,” she says.