Kaitlyn Martinez, 13 year old student created Backpacks 4 Kids AZ in the summer of 2015. Now as of November 10, 2016 Backpacks 4 Kids AZ is an official 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.
Backpacks 4 Kids AZ collects school supplies and backpacks for children whose families cannot afford them and now we are expanding our efforts in making “Love Bundles” for kids entering foster care.
August 2016 Kaitlyn Martinez was awarded a grant of $1000.00, she is going to use this grant to expand her efforts and create Love Bundles for kids entering fostering care. http://daisybuttonbelieves.com/grantwinners/
How to help:
Donate hygiene products, toys, blankets, or backpacks to one of our donation sites so we can help the children who have been displaced due to neglect, abuse, abandonment.
Donate school supplies to be given to local students -Many low income families are already struggling and unfortunately cannot afford to buy the school supplies their children need. Host a supply drive to benefit Backpacks4 Kids AZ http://www.backpacks4kidsaz.com/
At age 5, Zoe Terry created her own organization called Zoe’s Dolls to inspire and motivate girls of color to love themselves. She promotes positive body image by holding her “Love the Skin I’m In” Creative Expressions Contest, where she encourages girls to submit a poem or video on why they love themselves. Since launching Zoe’s Dolls, she has donated more than 2,000 dolls of color to girls in need. When Zoe was younger, her mom would teach her the spirit of giving by asking her to give away one of her toys at Christmas time. Right before Zoe’s 6th birthday, she told her mom that she didn’t want to give a toy away at Christmas anymore. Zoe exclaimed that instead of giving a toy away at Christmas, she wanted to do something totally different. Zoe said that for her birthday she wanted to give little brown dolls to little brown girls who did not have dolls to play and that was all she wanted for her birthday! This was the start of Zoe’s Dolls!
It was also important for Zoe to give away little brown dolls to little brown girls, because when she was in Kindergarten she was bullied because of how she looked and teased because of her “puffy” and “kinky” hair. Zoe wanted other little brown girls not to feel like she felt when she was teased. She wanted little brown girls to know that their image was beautiful.
Torrin & Robbie Thorpe
Most 13 year olds like to take a break from friends and school to watch movies and play video games but when Torrin Thorp was required to spend a lot of time in the hospital for Asthma, that became the only thing he could do for a while. Thorp began to look forward to and rely on the entertainment there to get through some painful, challenging procedures. His brother Robbie Thorp also went through surgery around the same time and had a similar experience. Being at the hospital so often they would both quickly reach the bottom of the movie and video game options and wished for more of a selection. Thorp wanted to take action to change this and encourage the friends he made that were still in the hospital too. In 2015, Thorp started the “The Helping Hand.”He has collected and donated almost 2,000 DVD’s and Movies, donated over 650 movies, TV’s and DVD players to Crossroads RI. is now expanding his outreach to “Blessing Bags” for the homeless and their dogs.
Torrin is a 1,000 grant recipient from Daisy Button Believes
Robbie (19) was RI’s Prudential Spirit of Community Bronze Medal winner this year. He is also the New England Epilepsy Ambassador, having traveled to DC twice to participate in the Teens Speak Up/Speak Out conference. He is mentor for teens with chronic illnesses and co-chairs the RI Walk for Epilepsy. http://www.valleybreeze.com/2015-12-09/cumberland-lincoln-area/thorp-brothers-give-back#.WBzo94WcFMs
Hailey Richman: My name is Hailey, I am 8 years old. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease. I have been caring for my grandmother since I was 4 years old. I created Kid Caregivers for kids who are caregivers. A caregiver is someone who takes care of a loved one who needs help. I want other kids to know that they are not alone; there are many of us out there! Please visit my blog to get support, tips and ideas about caregiving. If you have a question please share it and together we can find a solution!
KidCaregivers.com was created to provide support and encouragement for children who are providing care for a sick, elderly or disabled family member. This forum hopes to offer ideas, suggestions and tips to make life a bit easier for kids. If a child has a question about caregiving or just needs a place to share their feelings, we are here for them!
Come visit Hailey’s Blog: www.kidcaregivers.com
PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a 501(c)3 organization that provides puzzles to nursing homes, veterans facilities, and other facilities that care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Puzzles To Remember was founded in 2008 by Max Wallack, who recognized the calming effect of puzzles and many other benefits on people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Max graduated from Boston University, Summa Cum Laude, in 2015, and is now a medical school student.
Since 2011, Puzzles To Remember’s Assistant Director, Hailey Richman, age 8, has been distributing puzzles to nursing facilities in the New York area. Hailey spends time doing the puzzles with nursing home residents. She always brightens their days. If you have puzzles that you would like to donate, please contact us at PuzzlesToRemember@gmail.com and we will find a location near you where you can bring your puzzles. We can also provide you with a donation letter so that you can claim the value of your puzzles as a tax deduction. http://www.puzzlestoremember.org/
Mariah Smith was born and abandoned on Christmas Eve 22 years ago, from Homeless to Helper Mariah is the founder of a rapidly growing Homeless ministry. Mariah started this organization in October 2011 when she was 17 and has already distributed over 110,000 blankets and lunches to people living on the streets, as well as coats, hats, gloves, clothes, shoes, backpacks, tents, toiletries and anything else they need she always finds a way to get it for them. Mariah has numerous speaking engagements at schools, businesses, organizations, and every Sunday she speaks at a different church encouraging THOUSANDS to join her on her mission to help as many people as she can. Five nights a week Mariah distributes 50 blankets and lunches along with all the other desperately needed items to people living on the streets not fortunate enough to get into shelters.
I am helping the homeless because I want them to know that someone truly cares. I hope that what we are doing brings awareness to something so tragic…..being homeless.
We welcome everyone who wants to help us, there are so many different things that you can do to get the people around you involved, adults can go to their places of employment and ask if they could put a drop box there, teens can go to their principal and ask to have a blanket collection, or a collection of other items that they so desperately need like gloves and back packs. We also have a Facebook page BLANKETS FOR THE HOMELESS HAMPTON ROADS that you could “Like” and “Share” to help us spread the word.
We will come and pick up any items donated and distribute them. We are also asking that everyone make a “Blessing Box” to keep in their car with five non-perishable lunches, blankets, clothes, hats, gloves, toiletries, and other desperately needed items so you can immediately help someone in need. You can make a difference! We all can!
“The only thing that keeps you from getting success is yourself. If you don’t go after it, if you don’t take a step forward, you’re just taking two steps back because you’re really not doing anything.”
— Remmi Smith, 14, of Tulsa, who has published a cookbook and has a line of Italian salad dressing at some local supermarkets.
Cook Time with Remmi started out with my mom and I having some fun and filming me cooking in our kitchen. We put up a website and started airing the segments. Concerned about the childhood obesity epidemic we wanted kids to see that cooking is fun. Eventually a local cable channel started airing the cooking segments multiple times a week. This led to a second cooking series,”The Culinary Kid” and we partnered with Oklahoma State University Arts Program (OSUIT) to create a show where Remmi learned cooking methods that are similar to the ones the students at the OSUIT Culinary Program learn.
Things were pretty low key until 2012, I was named “Student Ambassador for Health and Wellness” for Sodexo Education. This led to my first contract, and in June I got my first paycheck! As the ambassador, I get to work with Sodexo’s 500 executive chefs giving them a kids perspective on nutrition. My recipes are served in all of Sodexo’s schools in North America. I am the face of their “Fresh Pick” Program and I have created 3 cooking series for them which airs daily in the cafeterias in front of 3.5 million students! I am also the face of their cooking contest called “Future Chefs http://cooktimewithremmi.com
Teenage Success Story Living Her Dreams by Clay Clark, Founder and CEO of Thrive15.com
During her 14 years on Earth, Remmi Smith has achieved more than most people do in their entire lifetime. As the host of her own healthy cooking show, Cook Time with Remmi, she inspires children all over the country to live in wellness. Remmi’s Italian salad dressing is sold at Whole Foods Market and other specialty stores. She has also authored a cookbook, Global Cooking for Kids, which features healthy recipes from around the world. Remmi is the Student Ambassador for Sodexo, who serves her recipes in over 4,000 schools across the country. Remmi has partnered with national non-profit No Kid Hungry2 to help feed children in need.
Twelve-year-old Lily Born saw her grandfather, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, struggle to use a regular cup, spilling his drink in the process. Inspired to find a solution, Lily used moldable plastic to develop a prototype that was more stable and comfortable to use. The Kangaroo Cup can be used by individuals who suffer from muscular control issues, as well as young children. With the help of her father, she launched a crowdsourcing campaign and eventually raised enough funds to help bring the Kangaroo Cup to market. She launched product directly to the market on the crowdfunding sites Indiegogo and Kickstarter, where she successfully pre-sold more than 10,000 cups. She was chosen as a member of the Independent Youth Teen Network, Selected as Business Insider’s Top 11-year-old in Tech, and was honored as a “Young Wonder” in CNN’s Heroes Tribute. She is the youngest member of the Catalyze Chicago’s Hardware Incubator. www.imagiroo.com
Lily was invited to the White House https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/03/20/meet-exhibitors-2015-white-house-science-fair-1
The Kangaroo Cup is simply a better mug for anyone. Fewer spills on the keyboard at the office, fewer messes at home. Who wants to chase guests around with coasters? http://www.amazon.com/Imagiroo-K01-Kangaroo-Cup-White/dp/B00WRDS1HM/ref=cm_cr_pr_pl_footer_top?&ie=UTF8
Niki Singh is a 10-year old (4th grader) Indian American girl who has been dealing with bullying, self confidence and self worth issues. To this end, she has written a song entitled, ” My Reflection.” The song is about the importance of inner strength/self confidence (inner beauty) and less about about outward appearance. She wrote this song as she was talking to herself in the mirror. The words are truly empowering for other kids and frankly for a 10 year old, surprising in terms of her ability to express her feeling so eloquently in a lyrical form. She wrote the entire song from lyrics to melody to the arrangement. Her goal for this song, and one of the reasons she went to a studio to record it, is to help other kids realize they are not the only ones who feel insecure at times or feel “down.” Niki’s quote,” Papa, if one kid who is feeling down, listens to this song and starts to smile, I will feel like this song is worth something.” Her goal is to spread that message and encourage kids to focus on who they are inside.
Niki also has a non profit organization she started “Just Be Me.” The goal of the organization is to help foster awareness and provide support to younger kids (grade school and middle school) to help them understand the importance of self worth and identity… celebrating both what binds us together and what differentiates us…
From a very young age, Rachel Parent has shown a true compassion for the protection of animals, the less fortunate, and elderly. She attended a small school that encouraged caring for others by sharing her innate talents for singing and the playing guitar with the York Region Police choir.
When Rachel was 12 years old, she received an assignment to give a speech for all the students at her School, on a topic that would be of interest to her. Rachel struggled to decide among the many topics that she was passionate about, ranging from GMOs and Animal Cruelty, to Poverty in Canada, and Global Deforestation. Eventually she decided on GMOs, as she felt it represented the most opportunity to change many lives, to better everyone’s health, and help improve our overburdened health care system.
During her research in preparation for her speech, Rachel came to understand how deeply GMOs are affecting the entire planet, from humans to bees, the earth, and kids’ futures. It was clear that the situation was urgent and needed immediate attention. She won a medal for her speech.
Not long after, when California began working on awareness in anticipation of their GMO Labeling Proposition 37, she recognized it as a perfect opportunity to not only offer support to California, but also to alert Canadian children about the urgency of the GMO problem here at home. This prompted her to organize a GMO Kids Right to Know rally in Toronto, where she gave a speech for a live audience that was documented in a video was posted to YouTube.
Since then, she has participated in various health and food-related events, travelled to Brazil’s Amazon forest and Northern areas of South America to witness the devastation to sensitive ecological areas caused by GM soy agriculture, presented to large audiences in company with the likes of Jeffrey Smith from the Institute for Responsible Technology, and even helped bake a massive 48” fresh apple pie (made without GMO Ingredients) which she brought to St. James Park to share with those less fortunate.
When not educating people about GMOs, Rachel volunteers in youth organizations around the world, works in her organic garden, enjoys horseback riding, formulating natural cosmetics, and working at an animal sanctuary rescue camp, where she helps take care of tigers, monkeys and lemurs. http://www.kidsrighttoknow.com/
James Hicks is 10 years old, and got involved with Beagle Freedom Project after seeing one of their first videos. He’s against animal testing, so he donated his saved up allowance to give to BFP, and got his mom to buy only cruelty-free products. He has two beagles, Buster and Scooter who he loves very much. http://www.beaglefreedomproject.org
Beagle Freedom Project began in December 2010 when Shannon Keith received information that beagles who were used for animal experiments in a research lab were to be given a chance at freedom. Our mission is rescuing and finding homes for beagles used in laboratory research.
Beagles are the most popular breed for lab use because of their friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving, people-pleasing personalities. The research industry says they adapt well to living in a cage, and are inexpensive to feed. Research beagles are usually obtained directly from commercial breeders who specifically breed dogs to sell to scientific institutions.
Since I was 5 years old, I have wanted to so something to help the poor. I wanted to do this because I don’t want to see kids suffer. I am going to give people food and things so they can find a way to help themselves. Whenever I work, I will give some of my money to help. I have the liberty to help the poor, you have the liberty too and together we can all male a difference in the world. I need all kids and adults to help me to make a difference. Thank you, Joshua
Stomp Out Hunger:
Joshua’s Heart Foundation was born out of a five year-old’s simple wish to feed the hungry. Since then, the Foundation has distributed over 895,000 pounds of food to those in need. With one in six Americans facing hunger today, there’s still plenty of work to be done. By getting involved in Joshua’s Heart Foundation, you play a vital role in fulfilling our mission. http://joshuasheart.org/
Joshua’s Heart Foundation values:
We believe that a community effort is vital for the success of our mission to end hunger. We collaborate and build relationships based on trust and honest communication to accomplish our vision of a hunger-free community. With local action, you can have a global impact.
With close to 50 million Americans struggling to get enough to eat, it’s important to increase awareness about these issues. We send out transparent and accurate messages about our cause, highlighting the urgent needs of those struggling with hunger. Help support the Joshua’s Heart Foundation cause by using social media to share our vision and stories.
We are working hard to mobilize support for hunger relief programs and activities. The majority of our work force is composed of volunteers. Solidarity and collaboration are key to our success.
It’s important to teach future generations not to make the same mistakes we did. We work on early childhood and youth education programs to break the cycle of poverty.
We rely on the generosity of the American people to carry out our charitable work. We assess and evaluate how resources are used achieve our mission on a regular basis. Our efficient and transparent accountability has granted us the public’s trust in our work and stewardship.
My name is Annaleise Rebekah Carr, and I am a 16 year old marathon swimmer from Walsh, Ontario in Norfolk County. On August 19, 2012, I became the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario, with the goal of raising money and awareness for Camp Trillium.
I’ve been swimming competitively since I was 4 years old. I’ve competed at long and short course provincials, as well as open water provincials, and also at the provincial lifeguard games as a member of the Town of Tillsonburg Lifesaving Club and in triathlons. I’m not very tall (4’10”), but huge in heart! Camp Trillium has been close to my heart since I visited their camp at Rainbow Lake in the summer of 2011, as part of the North Shore Swimmers, completing a 10 km open water swim and 10 km run through Norfolk County. We raised around $15,000 for Camp Trillium, and my visit there has been forever etched in my memory.
On Sunday, August 19, 2012, I finished crossing Lake Ontario, following the traditional Marilyn Bell route from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Marilyn Bell Park near the CNE in Toronto (considered one of the most difficult open water swims in the world). I became the youngest person to complete the swim, as well as the youngest person to join the “24 Hour Club,” which includes all swimmers who do a marathon swim for 24 hours or longer. My crossing took an incredible 26 hours and 41 minutes through grueling and wild conditions.
My world record swim has raised more awareness to Camp Trillium and childhood cancer. My original goal was to raise $30,000; I’ve now raised well over $400,000! I continue to raise funds for children’s charities (including being an ambassador for Camp Trillium and Canadian Tire Jumpstart) as I do presentations about my swim and compete in other endurance sports. My goal is to continue raising more funds for this camp so that more kids and their families can attend while they suffer the anguish of their battle with cancer. http://annaleisecarr.com/
Over eight months worth of planning, hundreds of hours of hard physical training, amassing a team of dedicated crewmates, approaching sponsors and collecting donations — and finally, swimming for twenty-seven hours across the cold, rough waters of Lake Ontario. Why would a fourteen-year-old girl take on such a challenge? For Annaleise Carr, the motivation came not from a desire for glory. Her ultimate quest was to raise money for her new friends at Camp Trillium, a charity that provides a camping experience for kids with cancer. What kept her going through the cold water, the exhaustion, and the terrifying night swim was the thought of those kids and their families that she was helping. In August of 2012, she became the youngest person to cross Lake Ontario, breaking the record set more than fifty years earlier by Marilyn Bell.
Readers will meet an extraordinary fourteen-year-old girl in this book. As she tells her story, it becomes clear how idealism and an intense desire to help others can lead a young teen to almost unimaginable achievements. Annaleise is proud member of The Writers’ Union of Canada
For more than nine years, through kids’ classes and summer camps at NJ Bergen-County based HealthBarn USA; at our elementary and middle school “Try it, you’ll like it!” school assemblies from New York to California; in national appearances such as the Rachael Ray Show and CNN’s House Call with Sanjay Gupta and on networks like PBS and Nickelodeon; speaking engagements from parent teacher organizations to major medical conventions; and through our website, columns and articles, we have been committed to helping families raise their nutrition literacy through hands-on learning about where our food comes from, and why fresh tastes best and is best for our bodies, minds and souls.
As a result of 9 years of empowering 40,000 kids and families to eat and live healthier, our founder, Stacey Antine wrote Appetite for Life: The Thumbs-Up, No-Yucks Guide to Getting Your Kid to be a Great Eater, HarperOne, an imprint of Harper Collins, fall 2012 nationwide in hardcover (soft cover will be on sale fall 2013) and as an eBook. We know parents need proven how-to tools (including 100 kid-tested, familiy friendly recipes) to get their families living healthy and Appetite for Life serves it up simply and with a lot of fun. Click here to hear what moms and kids have to say about the HealthBarn way.
HealthBarn USA has emerged as a major force for positive change in the lives of children and their families. Not convinced? Watch kids in action Being a Farmer, Being a Chef, and Being Green – and you will see for yourself why HealthBarn USA is the place to be for having fun while learning to be healthy! http://www.healthbarnusa.com/
Stacey Antine is a registered dietitian who holds a Master’s of Science in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics from New York University. Alarmed by the long list of lifestyle diseases (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc.) faced by children today, she founded HealthBarn USA to connect children to natural foods and where they come from. Expanding her commitment to help families eat healthier, she started HealthBarn Foundation and it’s first project Healing Meals, a food gifting program for children with cancer and serious blood disorders.
KIDS ADVISORY COUNCIL:
Jamie, former President and the originator of KAC. Jamie feels that it is important to keep your inside healthy so that you can do all the activities that other kids can do. He’s now attending Bergen Academies. We’re very proud of him and look forward to his guest appearances at the Barn.
Carson,President, age 11-the council has officially elected Carson the president of KAC for his seasoned leadership. His smile and excitement for what’s happening at HealthBarn USA and for making new friends is contagious! He loves learning and building things, so constructing a rain barrel for the garden was one of his favorite activities in addition to cooking and eating all of the recipes. At home, he likes to help his mom cook his favorite recipes and is active by being super busy. He’s excited about being on the Council to come up with new ideas to get kids motivated about being healthy because it’s fun.
Ben, Executive Chef, age 9 began his cooking career at HealthBarn USA when he was only three years old as a Seedling. He came back to the Barn when he was 9 years old as a Young Harvester and summer camper. Ben is blazing new trails as he develops exciting healthy recipes that continue to get double thumbs up from his peers. He thinks of HealthBarn as a second home. His favorite activity is cooking and harvesting from the garden. His top garden picks are zucchini, lettuce, and herbs and his favorite HealthBarn USA recipe is the Chocolate Chickpea Chippers. He says that when he makes the chippers for his family at home they don’t even know that there are chickpeas in them which he thinks is really cool. Ben wants to inform other kids how important living a healthy life-style is and how easy and tasty eating healthy can be.
Lauren, Expert Taste Tester, age 9, has been coming to summer camp for 3 years along with her brother Robert. She really enjoys cooking and tasting different types of food from different cultures. She especially likes Japanese food and lists salmon sushi as one of her favorite foods “ever.” Lauren loves acting and singing and for the past couple of years has participated in a youth performance troupe for a local community theater. For exercise, she enjoys running, basketball and tennis. Lauren has learned so much at HealthBarn USA. She is now a label reader and thinks it is important for kids to know what they are eating, especially if you can’t pronounce the ingredients then you shouldn’t be eating it. Lauren enjoys spending time in the HealthBarn USA garden and looks forward to many summer camp days to come!
Fifteen-year-old Winter Vinecki began making waves in the sport of triathlon at a very young age. Racing since the age of five, her competitive spirit has compelled her to be the best. By the age of nine, she found herself competing in an Olympic Distance triathlon; a distance usually reserved for seasoned adult triathletes. Winter initially had thoughts of racing as a means of bringing light to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. This all changed one spring morning, though. In May of 2008, Winter experienced personal hardship that would prove to be the defining moment in her life and career as an athlete. After a series of medical tests, her dad, Michael, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of prostate cancer. The grim prognosis was met not only with sadness but also with determination. Winter vowed to do everything in her power to put an end to prostate cancer and help find a cure so that other families wouldn’t have to endure the personal hardships that her family was going through. Thus, Team Winter, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, became her true cause in which to race for. It has become a vessel for funding prostate cancer research and raising prostate cancer awareness on a global scale. Winter has helped raise nearly $500,000 for prostate cancer awareness and research.
After the passing of her dad in 2009, Winter traveled almost every weekend to races in which she, her three brothers and her mom, Dr. Dawn Estelle, spread the word about Team Winter and prostate cancer awareness. She spent three years as the IronKids Ambassador introducing kids to the sport of triathlon and encouraging kids to lead an active, positive and healthy lifestyle. She encourages kids to not only race for themselves but to race for cause. Each first place trophy she received was sent to a person affected by prostate cancer as a means of support and a gesture of goodwill. While most kids cherish their trophies, she cherishes the people she gives them to. Winter has an intense interest in helping find solutions to today’s growing obesity epidemic and speaks in schools across North America about “Fueling Your Body for Success”. She is a motivational speaker to all ages around the world and her talk on “No Limits” has reached many hospitals and corporations. She has received such prestigious awards as the Annika Sorentstam Inspiration Award and Massachusetts General Hospital “The One Hundred’ award in 2014.
“I founded Team Winter at age 9 after my dad was diagnosed at age 40 with a very aggressive form of Prostate Cancer. He passed away in 2009 before he even reached his 41st birthday.” ~Winter
After achieving two National triathlon titles in 2010 and 2011, Winter set her goals much higher. On November 10, 2103, Winter realized her dream and set a world record, not for her personal glory but to honor her dad and the 1 in 6 men affected by prostate cancer. Winter became the youngest person to run a marathon on all seven continents! In doing so, she also set a world record for the youngest person to run a marathon in Antarctica and with her mom, became the first mother/daughter to run a marathon on all seven continents. Winter captured her first marathon overall female win on what is claimed to be, “The Toughest Marathon in the World,” the Inca Trail Marathon. Winter ran the entire Inca Trail, including three mountain peaks reaching over 14,000 feet, in just 9 hours 18 minutes, setting a course record.
Winter continues to stay strong in triathlon and captured the 2013 age-group Regional title in XTERRA. In her first season of obstacle course racing with Spartan Race, she captured a 19 & under world championship victory and is a top elite women contender. Winter’s next goal is making the 2018 Winter Olympics in aerial skiing. She lives and trains year round in Park City, Utah at the Utah Olympic Park She is the current 2014 Jr. National Champion in aerials and took 5th at the 2014 Jr. World Freestyle Championships in Italy. Winter continues to seek avenues in breaking age and gender barriers in endurance sports. Winter is currently a Junior at the prestigious Stanford University Online High School.
TGIF! Turn Grease into Fuel
In 2008, when I was a mere 5th grade student, I came across the increasingly devastating issue of climate change. I found out that the main cause of this global problem was human consumption of fossil fuels. We were burning so much coal and oil that our world was, and is, literally heating up. Of course, as a young girl in this big world, I was absolutely horrified. After further research, I discovered that the consequences of climate change were huge – melting ice caps resulting in rising sea levels, countless species such as polar bears forced into extinction. But what did this mean for me? I live in a small coastal town in RI called Westerly, five minutes away from the ocean. If global warming was allowed to continue at its current rate, parts of my own town and many other regions could be eventually submerged underwater! Well, that decided it. I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to try and stop this rising problem.
My next step was to rally my classmates to action. I got together with a group of my friends and we formed a community service team dedicated to helping the community and environment at the same time. We called ourselves the Jr. WIN (Westerly Innovations Network) Team, a name modeled after the original community service team initiated by my older brother. We sat down at a round table, figuring out what we wished to accomplish.
What could we, eight ten-year-olds, do to help solve this issue? We already knew that global warming could be slowed down by replacing fossil fuels with alternative energies, such as biodiesel. Following this, we visited the Energy Solutions Expo at the University of RI, where we found that biodiesel could be produced from waste cooking oil. But what finally brought us to a revelation was an article in the local paper. The article was about a local charity in our area called the WARM (Westerly Area Rest and Meals) Center, which had initiated a campaign titled “One Dollar Makes A Difference”, in which residents donated $1 each week to go towards emergency heating assistance. We were astonished by this realization – people in our own community were struggling to heat their homes in our harsh New England winters. Surely, we thought, we could help these needy families. And then, a solution came to us. This solution became Project TGIF – Turn Grease Into Fuel.
Project TGIF is an innovative system that collects grease, converts it into biodiesel, and then distributes the fuel to local families for emergency heating assistance. To make this project work, we partnered with many companies, such as grease collectors, biodiesel refiners, biofuel distributors and charities that help us identify the needy families. We raised awareness of global warming by handing out 6,300 flyers, 4,500 kitchen calendars, airing a PSA with COX Media and making presentations. Then, we lobbied our Town Council to set up a grease receptacle at the transfer station where residents could recycle their oil. To date, we have set up 10 public receptacles in 6 towns/cities and 2 states. We asked local restaurants to donate their grease to the program. So far, we have 120 restaurants and counting participating. We even drafted and helped introduce a bill in RI, which mandates that all businesses must recycle their grease (the bill was signed into law in July, 2011 and went into effect on Jan 1, 2012). Our project is a win-win situation. The environment wins because we’re using biodiesel, a clean-burning alternative to petroleum-based diesel, to heat homes. By the EPA’s calculations, we’ve offset 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Finally, the needy families win because they’re being provided with heat. We have donated 21,000 gallons of Bioheat (approximately $81,000) to six local charities, allowing 210 families to stay warm in the winter.
Additionally, in December 2012 we launched a campaign titled You Eat, We Donate to help rebuild our local beach after the devastating Hurricane Sandy with the help of several of our corporate sponsors (such as Prudential and Build-A-Bear workshop). In the campaign, we pledged to donate $20 to the Bring Back the Beach fund in our town for every receipt we received from customers dining at TGIF participating restaurants. The response was overwhelming, and we were able to donate $11,000 to the fund in January 2013. So far project TGIF has participants in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts; we plan on expanding project TGIF to all six New England states in the next 5 years.
My success story proves that a simple passion – in my case, the environment – can go a long way. I really believe that youth are the changemakers, the leaders of today and tomorrow. I started my project with my friends when I was in 5th grade. So I want to challenge you all to find what is it that you’re passionate about, that makes you excited and motivates you. It can be anything, whether it is volunteering, sports, reading, anything! I challenge you to go out and do it. Use your energy for good. Who knows, you might even change the world!
For more information visit http://www.w-i-n.ws/index_files/Page391.htm
One More Generation (OMG) was founded by two elementary students here in Fayetteville, GA. The founders are Carter (now 13) and his Sister Olivia (now 11.5), who are both extremely passionate about animals and conservation. They have been adopting Cheetahs in South Africa over the past few years and when they heard that Cheetahs, along with so many other species were close to extinction, they knew they had to act.
Olivia and Carter started their own nonprofit in an effort to help educate kids and adults about the plight of endangered species so they can save them for at least One More Generation… and beyond. One More Generation (OMG) was formed in late 2009 and officially filed with the state of GA as a nonprofit in January of 2010. OMG was granted their 501(c)(3) status by the IRS in May of 2010.
Shortly after starting their organization the Gulf oil spill happened (April 2010). Olivia and her brother came home from school and watched with their parents the first images of seabirds and sea turtles being pulled out of the Gulf caked in oil. Olivia immediately started to cry and she looked at her parents and asked, “What are we going to do about this problem?”
So they picked up the phone and contacted the four largest agencies involved with the animal rescue efforts. Each of the agencies gave them a list of badly needed animal rescue supplies. The two kids spent the next four months going from church to church, and from school to school giving presentations and asking for help collecting the supplies.
Then in late August of that year (on Olivia’s eighth birthday) the two kids headed to the Gulf to deliver the supplies. They spent 5-daysin the region and worked with the Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Rescue Center who gladly accepted the collected supplies. The center had 146 sea turtles, several sharks and even a dolphin, all of which needed their care. The kids had a blast working at the center and meeting all the dedicated staff and volunteers who worked so hard to save these animals.
In Feb of 2011, on Carter’s 10th birthday, we launched our Plastic Awareness Coalition and we set out to get like minded local organizations to sign on with us so we would have enough clout to request meetings with local officials without being looked at as a mere kids group. Then, realizing that the wheels of change within the political arena turned slow, Carter and Olivia asked if we could somehow reach out to kids to share with them all that we had learned. After all, if we all care so much after learning about the problem, surely their peers would do the same.
So in March of 2010, we developed our Plastic Awareness Week curriculum. We partnered with several teachers who helped us write the curriculum and then we set out to test the program in Olivia and Carter’s school. The school was kind enough to let us use them, as our testing grounds and the program was a huge success. All the kids and their families got involved and everyone learned a ton of information about the issue and we even included helpful and easy ways each student and their families could make subtle changes in their daily lives, which would make a huge impact on the environment.
For more info on what Olivia & Carter are developing go to http://onemoregeneration.org/
Founded in 2004, the mission of The Kids Who Care Foundation is: ~Bring joy and cheer to kids with major surgeries/medical conditions with various KWCF programs: Smile Pack, and Traveling Variety Show
~Provide resources and support groups for children with Pancreatitis as well as their families.
Risha Shukla then a 7 year old who underwent an Auto Islet Cell transplant in March 2004 for chronic pancreatitis, understands very well the challenges of being in the hospital room and staring at the bare white walls.
The Kids Who Care Foundation, a 501c3 tax deductible non-profit foundation, was founded by Risha with the help of her parents to cheer up and support other children with pancreatitis and other chronic medical conditions. Kids Who Care’s mission is to brighten the hospital stays of kids having major surgeries. Kids Who Care volunteers send out “smile packs” to children in the hospital and Ronald McDonald Homes nationally to brighten the days of hospitalized children. A “smile pack” box contains a giant “card quilt” consisting of twenty get-well cards made by caring youths. It also includes books/DVDs, toys, board games, and more to entertain patients in the hospital, bring a smile to their face, and make their hospital rooms bright and cheerful! Kids Who Care’s traveling variety show is also a big hit. Caring youths show off their talents to entertain children with special medical conditions by doing magic tricks, puppet shows, dancing, singing, and more. Risha also makes presentations at schools to educate kids on pancreatitis and diabetes, and teaches kids to be compassionate towards children with chronic medical conditions. Pancreatitis is a very painful, rare disease in children for which there is no cure. KWCF’s online pancreatitis support group provides information on pancreatitis to create awareness and a support network for kids.
Kids Who Care Club is headed by youths under the direction of caring adult volunteers, and entire families can contribute to help bring a smile! So please help Risha and Kids Who Care Foundation make a difference.
Risha and Rhea’s story teaches us all that there is always time for valuing and helping other people within our communities when one has the drive and wisdom to persevere. She is proof that dedication, altruism, love of community, and spiriting help for those who are fighting medical battles, all are goals that we can attain if we just say, “Yes! I Can Bring A Smile.” Risha has been fortunate to not only make a difference in other people’s lives but has received many recognitions. This is a grand honor not only for Risha, who is extremely humbled and overwhelmed by all of this attention, but for all of us who are part of the family of volunteers for the Kids Who Care Foundation, we are very proud to have such an aspiring young co-founder as our leader.
Carter N.Bowman, 15yrs.old in Pennsylvania and Founder of the Carter N. Bowman Foundation
Helping Kids To Be Just Kids
In so many instances, the costs of medical treatments can be a real hardship on families, especially when it is necessary to be away from home for many weeks or months depending on what type of care is needed. The University of Pennsylvania Proton Radiation Therapy Center is one of the most advanced treatment centers in the world and specializes in treating children and teens with brain tumors. Patients come from around the country and the world for specialized treatments. However, the daily treatments that last six to eight weeks often require families to relocate away from home for an extended period of time and to incur additional living expenses without insurance coverage for these costs.
Many organizations focus on raising money to donate to research activities to find a cure to many health issues. These efforts are wonderful and very much needed but I’m looking to do something different with my efforts. The Carter N. Bowman Foundation is focused on providing kids and their families the opportunity to enjoy activities, at no cost to them, while undergoing extended cancer treatments away from home. The real goal is giving kids the chance to take a break from the grueling routine of treatments, testing and appointments and provide a stress-free way to let them just be kids! By working with the staff at the proton therapy center to recommend eligible patients, they and their families could receive free tickets to visit the Philadelphia Zoo, go to a professional sporting event, receive tickets to visit a museum or art gallery, spend a day at an amusement park or enjoy a nice family meal without worrying about the cost. The list of opportunities is practically endless!
My name is Carter Bowman and I am the founder of the Carter N. Bowman Foundation. I’m a freshman at Central York High School in York, PA. My foundation is a non-profit organization designed for the sole purpose of helping kids. I am working to raise money to help kids have some enjoyable times while having treatments at the proton radiation treatment center in Philadelphia. .
I’d like to share a little bit about my history and why I started this foundation. In October of 2011 I took a very hard hit while playing quarterback for my middle school football team and I immediately came out of the game. Later that night I went to the emergency room to find out whether or not I had a concussion. The doctors there told me that I did not have a concussion but I did have an abnormality on the right side of my brain and suggested I see a neurosurgeon the next day. After having an MRI and talking with my doctors, it was decided I would need surgery, which ended up being on my thirteenth birthday. During the surgery they discovered that I did have a brain tumor, but it was not able to be completely removed. Unfortunately there was a need for an additional surgery within a few weeks, which was two days before Christmas, and a third surgery was needed a week later. Within eight weeks I had three brain surgeries, which took a toll on my energy levels. Luckily I did not have any lingering physical problems from any of the surgeries. I missed many weeks of school during this time but was able to keep up with my schoolwork with the help of a tutor. Learn more here: http://carternbowman.org
JT Lewis, 13yrs old in Newtown Connecticut and Founder of Newtown Helps Rwanda
In 1994 over 1,000,000 Rwandan Tutsi’s were killed by their neighboring Hutus within 100 days. Over 1,000,000 children were orphaned in one of the world’s worst tragedies in history.
In December of 2012 JT Lewis lost his little brother, Jesse Lewis in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. Reeling from this personal tragedy he had the opportunity to Skype with orphan genocide survivors who had heard about the shooting and wanted to reach out to JT. During the Skype call they told him that they were so sorry about what had happened to his brother and they shared their personal experiences of heartbreak where they watched many of their family members die. They told JT that through gratitude, forgiveness and compassion they have healed and are now leading lives filled with hope and joy. This started JT on his own healing journey and inspired him to give back to the people from around the globe that had reached out to him in love.
Knowing that these now young adults had no hope of going to college, JT set out to raise money to make their dreams come true. Several months after he began fundraising he was able to Skype back to the same group and announce that he had raised enough money to send one of them to college for a year. He has made the personal commitment to send this person to college for the remaining 3 years and hopes to do more.
Nicholas Lowinger: I was inspired to start Gotta Have Sole Foundation because at a very young age I saw children in homeless shelters in Rhode Island who didn’t have shoes or had shoes that were used and falling apart. Some had to share footwear with a family member and missed school because it wasn’t their turn to wear the shoes that day, and others had sores on their feet from wearing shoes that didn’t fit them properly. I was devastated by this and wanted to help the children however I could. I started donating my gently used clothing and footwear but often didn’t have the correct sizes for the children. I knew that the only shoes that would fit them best would be new, correctly sized ones and hoped someday I would be able to donate these.
Several years later as a community service project for a religious coming-of-age ceremony, which took place in 2010, I started Gotta Have Sole Foundation so I could finally donate new footwear to homeless children. I am proud to say that even though this ceremony has long since passed, I continue this endeavor and have donated new footwear to over 7000 children in homeless shelters in 12 states throughout the United States. My goal is to reach as many children living in homeless shelters in the US as I can.
It has always been my hope that the children will feel more confident about themselves because they have new shoes to call their own and that they will have the same opportunities afforded to them as their peers. http://www.gottahavesole.org/ghs/
If you would like more information about Gotta Have Sole Foundation, Inc., or would like to make a product donation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing or calling me at the contact information below. Monetary donations can be made securely on our web site by pressing the DONATE button which takes you to PayPal. For your records, our 501(c)(3) number is 27-1992301. Additionally, please follow Gotta Have Sole Foundation, Inc., on Facebook to see our progress! https://www.facebook.com/GottaHaveSoleFoundation
Alyssa’s Bedtime Stories is a non-profit organization that brings happiness to underprivileged children by giving them books to read and pajamas to keep them warm. Places receiving Alyssa’s Books & Pajamas are Milagro House, Clare House, Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County, and many more.
Books open the doors of our imagination. For children without a home, reading is more than just a pastime; it’s a window into a better world.
When Alyssa Deraco was just 10 years old, she wanted to share her own love for reading while helping those less fortunate. When she began collecting used books and donating them to local organizations that help these children, Alyssa’s Bedtime Stories was born.
Four years later, Alyssa’s Bedtime Stories is still helping underprivileged and homeless children. Since 2009, we’ve given more than 10,000 books and more than 3,000 pairs of pajamas to children in need. But our mission is far from over…because as long as there are children that need comfort, affection and love, we’ll be there to bring joy into their lives.
As a registered 501(c)3 organization in the state of Pennsylvania, Alyssa’s Bedtime Stories relies on private donations to operate. If you would like to make a difference for children in need, please come to one of our events or visit our website at www.alyssasbedtimestories.org https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alyssas-Bedtime-Stories/328700110561272?fref=ts
Backpacks for New Beginnings (BP4NB) is a non-profit charity founded in 2009 by West Roxbury brothers Jackson and Tristan Kelley, currently ages 14 and 12. The brothers run the charity out of their home with the help of their parents and younger sister, Violet. In the Fall, Tristan will be in the 6th grade at the Holy Name Parish School, and Jackson will be in the 9th grade at Xaverian Brothers High School.
BP4NB is dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged children including those in foster care, group homes and those who are homeless, by providing them with new backpacks filled with school supplies. When a child receives a new backpack filled with school supplies, it allows them to feel special, fit in with others, and start the school year prepared. Over the past 5 summers BP4NB has donated over 2300 new backpacks filled with school supplies, including over 800 this summer, to needy children in the Boston area.
100% of all donations are used to buy new backpacks and school supplies which are purchased on sale and in bulk in order to make donations go farther. All operating costs (stamps, printing, government fees, etc.) are funded by the Kelley Family.
Organizations receiving donations from BP4NB:
• Department of Children and Families (DCF)
• Beethoven and Ohrenberger Boston Public Schools
• Italian Home for Children
• Family Services of Greater Boston
• Home for Little Wanderers
• Home Suites Inn (homeless shelter in Waltham)
• Brockton Public Schools
• Casserly House
• St Thomas Aquinas Church
Donations may be mailed or dropped off to BP4NB at:
Backpacks for New Beginnings
61 Wren Street
West Roxbury, MA 02132
OR dropped off at Mt. Washington Bank or Wicked Sharp,
both located on Center Street in West Roxbury, Checks should be made payable to Backpacks for New Beginnings
Check us out on Facebook at: FACEBOOK.COM/BACKPACKSFORNEWBEGINNINGS