A high school junior, Abby is tackling hunger issues in a direct and innovative way. Through Abby’s Sustainable Hunger Initiative, she’s working to break the cycle of food insecurity, poor nutrition and hunger with hundreds of pounds of regularly donated garden harvests and nutrition education. Abby recruits volunteers for bi-monthly workdays, coordinates onsite tasting demonstrations, collaborates with community partners, and plans community nutrition education activities; scavenger hunts and events. Over 3 years, Abby has helped double the project’s garden space, raised $50,000+ in funds, and impacted thousands of youth, schools, community and civic groups.Learn More About Abby's Cause
Zoe has seen first-hand the the impact plastics have on our oceans. Three years ago, she started organizing monthly clean-ups to help eliminate plastics in her community. From there, she joined the Talent Zero Waste Team and helped that group convince their City Council to ban plastic to-go items. Continuing to spread her message, Zoe has presented at local elementary schools, resulting in two schools switching from single-use plastic to metal dining utensils. Zoe’s efforts go beyond her town to make a difference. She wrote “Coral’s Quest,” a children’s book about a hammerhead shark who educates humans on how plastic hurts the ocean, and she’s been invited to attend the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp. Her goal is to establish Zero Waste Teams in more communities.Learn More About Zoe's Cause
After learning how the homeless population in her community needed items as simple as toothpaste, Emma decided to take action. She created Emma’s Homeless Helper Project, an initiative focused on giving homeless youth and families the basic supplies they need. With the help of donors, Emma collects hygiene and non-perishable food items, plus clothing items like socks and hats, then bundles them into care “kits.” These packages are then donated to domestic violence programs and homeless shelters. To date, Emma’s Homeless Helper Project has donated close to 500 hygiene kits, 100 food kits, and 300 pairs of socks. As her efforts grow, Emma is looking to set up donation boxes in her community and begin purchasing items in bulk. One day, she’d like to have a storefront to serve the homeless directly.Learn More About Emma's Cause
At age 10, Kenzie felt it was only fair that everyone have access to healthy meals, so she started her nonprofit, the Make a Difference Food Pantry. Now 15, she has expanded the organization to include a fixed food-distribution site; mobile feeding programs for the elderly and children; and outreach pantries to help more North Carolinians in need. She also established Kenzie’s Kids Summer Feed Program, which involves cooking and delivering 400 hot meals every Friday. Her Mobile Disaster Feeding Program served those affected by Hurricanes Matthew, Harvey and Florence. To her, “It’s not just about the food, but how you make people feel.” Since opening the nonprofit in 2014, she and her team have provided just short of two million meals, because it’s only fair that everyone have access to hot meals.Learn More About Mackenzie's Cause
After hearing that a family friend with an intellectual disability had been defrauded, Paige wanted to help teach vulnerable people in her community how to protect themselves and their money from scammers and ill-intentioned strangers. She decided a board game would be a fun way to teach basic financial literacy, so she created the SuperConsumers Financial Literacy Project. To date, she has presented her game to over 150 teens and adults with intellectual disabilities in her local school district, and she has been interviewed about the project on two local news stations. Building on this momentum, she plans to work with a local nonprofit to develop a new curriculum and donate more of her board games to special education classes and community organizations.Learn More About Paige's Cause
When Aaliyah was growing up, she always shared her stuffed animals and blankets with the foster kids who stayed in her home. She noticed that the gesture gave them comfort, and she wanted to share that with other foster kids in her community. Aaliyah started Furries 4 Fosters, which allows her to collect new stuffed animals and blankets for foster kids. This has prompted an ongoing partnership with Cedar Valley Angels and other nonprofits to help distribute tote bags filled with comfort items and ensure every child gets a warm and fuzzy gift for the holidays. Since starting Furries 4 Fosters, Aaliyah has also donated hundreds of blankets to the Allen Hospital Child Protection Center and local DHS offices.Learn More About Aaliyah's Cause
As a way to improve his hometown, Chris founded Kinston Teens, a nonprofit organization designed to empower youth through service and civic engagement. Chris and the Kinston Teens work to revitalize their city by adopting and cleaning up streets, creating gardens out of vacant lots and finding ways for others to get involved in their mission. Chris continues to advocate new ways that local teens can help good happen to lead them toward a more positive and rewarding path, ultimately creating ambassadors for their community.
Starting with a mission to save the sea turtle, Katelyn and Makayla are all in on saving the environment, especially when it comes to water. The dynamic duo engages underserved youth through outdoor activities and environmental service projects which model leadership and promote outreach, all while having fun. The majority of their educational and service efforts are run through the Love A Sea Turtle foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to marine and ocean conservation awareness by engaging students in leadership development and environmental stewardship.
When Tommy was nine years old, he lost his grandmother, Mimi, to ovarian cancer and saw the impact it made on his family first hand. After a small book sale he created to raise funds for cancer research, his mission grew with more activities and advocacy. For six years, Tommy hosted an annual softball tournament to help raise awareness and funds for the fight to cure cancer. In that time, he led his community and raised over $41,000 with the goal that no other family should go through the impact of losing a loved one to cancer.
After being treated at Blank Children’s Hospital, Austin and his sister Avary decided to give back. The pair created “Fizzle Bath Bombs by Avary and Austin,” donating all profits to the hospital to benefit the kids being treated. They raised over $500 in 2017 alone!
Nicole has a passion for STEM and agriculture, and providing kids with the material and experiences needed to learn about them. In addition to working with Future Farmers of America and Camp Invention, she started “Beyond the Bell,” an after-school program for elementary students that teaches about the link between agriculture and STEM through hands-on learning projects.
Jessica dedicates her time and energy to the Unified Club at her school, which promotes inclusion of students with disabilities through shared sports experiences. She is involved with many of the Unified sports teams, traveling to other schools to play with the students. Jessica also volunteers with the adult Special Olympics program, where she hopes to one day coach an adult team. Her work has kept her inspired to continue working toward her goal of attending college to become a special education teacher.
As a volunteer with Infant Crisis Services, Ellie noticed a shortage of crucial supplies and went into action. She organized a drive that yielded more than $1,000 worth of diapers, formula and other critically needed items for families. As a result, Ellie was invited to sit on the organization’s Tween Board and will help conduct their fundraising activities. Ellie was also named one of Oklahoma’s top youth volunteers for 2017.
Brie bakes cookies to raise money for a variety of charities doing good in her community through her self-run nonprofit, Cookies Because. She has baked over 6,000 cookies to raise money for supply backpacks for the homeless, supporting Alzheimer’s research and stocking supplies for local animal shelters. For her next fundraiser, Brie wants to donate to the Children’s Hospital Foundation. A sweet way to make an impact.
After growing up playing violin and piano, Autumn decided she wanted to help other kids change their lives through music. As Miss Tennessee’s Outstanding Teen in 2017, she used her leadership platform to lobby for the importance of music education in schools and to raise money for the Joy of Music, a nonprofit organization offering music lessons. A classical violinist, Autumn has been with the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra since she was just six years old.
When she was in the ninth grade, Sofia founded the Beckley, West Virginia Rock-a-Thon to support the West Virginia Alzheimer’s Association, which held its third annual event in 2017. Sofia became passionate about the cause after her grandfather developed Alzheimer’s while she was in middle school. The Rock-a-Thon uses rocking chairs rather than having a dance-a-thon event, to allow more people in the community to participate in the fun. Sofia’s first two Rock-a-Thon events raised $35,000.
After taking a writing workshop, Katie realized that many kids may not have the opportunity to find their voice through creative writing. Katie developed a summer workshop called Kids Tales for underserved kids ages 8 to 12 to offer guidance on creative writing and to empower and inspire. The young writers spend a week writing and editing their own short stories, which are then published in an anthology and placed on Amazon. By the time she was a high school senior, Katie grew Kids Tales to involve more than 120 teens, serving seven states and five other countries, making a global impact.
When she was just seven years old, Allie started Tulsa YouthWorks, a free five-week summer program for low-income kids with activities, service projects and meals, which she funded by selling candy bars and writing grants. Eight years later, Tulsa YouthWorks had grown to include a 10-week summer program, after-school program and “Pizza Factory,” which helps kids to develop their own business plans and raise money for college while making pizza.
As a 17-year-old high school senior, Evan founded Step Up To The Plate. His mission was to provide baseball equipment to underserved kids in his local community and around the world.
After noticing that people with special needs didn’t have the same access to extracurricular activities, Kaleb founded Dancing Away the Stigma (DATS) to raise money for Camp Courageous, a year-round camp for Iowans of all ages with special needs. He hopes to make DATS an official nonprofit and bring dance to more special-needs curricula.
After fasting for 36 hours for medical reasons, Quinn realized how difficult it was to experience true hunger. She decided to create Hunger Heroes to help raise funds for kids in her community without adequate food, especially during the summer months. Hunger Heroes raised money and depends on donations and volunteers from the community to complete the mission.
During the Christmas season, Ava makes toys for low-income kindergarten students at Council Bluffs Elementary School. When Ava learned that some young children do not receive gifts during the holidays, she decided to make gifts so that all children received something. Determined to make a difference, Ava began spending her evenings after school creating different homemade toys and jewelry to give as gifts to local children, such as those in the care of Children’s Square U.S.A.
Lia is the founder of the Hopeful Hearts Club, a group that throws birthday parties and hosts other special events for kids at Hope House, the homeless shelter in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Since its founding, the Hopeful Hearts Club has grown so much that Lia lost count of all its members. Lia was named Manitowoc’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year at 13 years old, becoming the youngest person to ever receive a key to the city, and was named a “Hometown Hero” by the Wisconsin State Assembly.
Since she was six years old, Raegan has been helping people and communities affected by natural disasters. To raise money, she makes bracelets and gives them to stores, asking for donations in return, and uses the funds raised to buy supplies to send to families in need. She’s sent supplies to communities across the United States since 2011, spreading much-needed hope and positivity.
As the founding members of Project Playback, Juli, Jason and Colby help patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by collecting donated MP3 players, then working with patients to provide them with playlists based on their musical interests. Through the power of music, these three remarkable teens create personal connections with an older generation, bringing them peace and happiness, and making a lasting impact on the community as a whole.
In a community with one of America’s highest incarceration rates, Ryan is planting seeds of change. As an educational coordinator and the youngest board member of Teens Grow Greens, Ryan helps inner-city kids develop skills through hands-on experience in personal responsibility, healthy living, leadership and entrepreneurship. Through this work, Ryan empowers teenagers, helps them find their voice and provides them with the opportunity to grow.
Ally, Mackenzie, and Yelfy run two charitable programs: Dresses for Hope and Exchange for Change. Dresses for Hope allows students to choose a dress at no cost, and Exchange for Change lets girls swap out their old dresses for something new. In 2016, the girls collected more than 400 dress donations to offer the local students a variety of styles.
Katie is the founder of Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps., a service organization in Oklahoma City made up of high school trumpet players who use their musical gifts to honor military veterans. In the past year, Katie has received national print and social media exposure, launching her organization to the next level. She now has 125 volunteers in 30 states. She continues to be very involved in her community, having volunteered over 300 hours in 2015, serving her own organization and others.
Bundles of Hope is a nonprofit organization that helps kids through their first night in foster care by providing them with a backpack full of basic necessities. There are over 400,000 kids in the United States in foster care today. The goal of this organization is to make sure that each and every one of them knows that they’re not alone, that there is hope and that there will be a better tomorrow.
Parker founded the nonprofit youth community theater group Kids On Stage in 2015. The group’s mission is to bring to life great stories with great storytellers, both on stage and in the community. They inspire kids to do their best through collaboration and accountability, as well as through a commitment to community.