They say kids today are up to no good, but we beg to differ. Tons of kids are doing a lot of good in the world, on scales from small to large, from their local communities to the international businesses they start to take a bite out of social inequality, climate change and more. Meet five under-18s who’ve decided to do something about the environment, animal welfare and more.
Evan is just 10 years old, and he really likes cats. A lot. He hasn’t just adopted rescue cats of his own with his family and doesn’t just spend a ton of time at City Kitties in Philadelphia socializing with the cats. He also donates all his allowance to the organization, and fundraises every year, sending his proceeds along with a letter updating him on the progress of his feline friends at home. In 2012, he raised $110 for City Kitties, which may not sound like a lot, but every bit counts when you’re running a shelter, and it’s clear that Evan has a big heart and a lot of potential as an animal welfare advocate.
Jason Li decided as a sophomore in high school to open up a somewhat unique recycling business. iReTron allows members to cash in unwanted electronics when they upgrade, sending in their old models along with any accessories. The company wipes and restores the devices it receives, sending them back into the market for re-use, which keeps electronics out of the waste stream. It considers recycling the “last resort” option, encouraging a more sustainable approach to the handling and disposing of electronic devices.
Austin Hay wanted to build a tree house, but he thought it would be kind of silly when he’d be going off to college soon, so he thought: “why not build a tree house on wheels?” With the support of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, he built himself his own tiny house (and dorm room) on a trailer that he can tow anywhere. Hay’s project highlights the fact that such products are possible for people of all ages, and that they offer lots of living opportunities and configurations. As a young member of the tiny house movement, he’s setting quite an example for his peers!
Flossy Biss knew the family farm was in trouble when her father left and her mother had difficulty keeping up with all the responsibilities needed to keep a farm fully operational. But she also didn’t want to give up on school. Her solution? Become a teen farmer and keep going to school. As part of the next generation of British farmers, she’s working with animals, managing the farm and studying for her GCSEs, all at the same time. She says she started the project to prove to her father that she could handle it, but she’s also started to develop a real passion for farming.
Allison Boyer cares passionately about primates and is especially concerned about orangutan conservation. Her solution? Purse parties, which have raised thousands of dollars for conservation efforts to keep these animals in the wild and provide shelter for those who need some TLC after being orphaned or injured. She’s taken advantage of the popularity of consignment and gently used items, selling donated used vintage and high-end purses on eBay as well as during public events. Boyer points out that this model is easy for teens to replicate across the country to raise funds for a variety of causes; sounds like a challenge to me.
Photo credit: Vancouver Public Library