5 Inspirational Kids Making the World a Better Place

Education campaigner and youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot three times in the head at point-blank range in 2012 by a Taliban hitman, showed the world that one child can make a positive difference in the world.

Luckily she is not alone. There are lots of kids taking steps big and small to address some of the world’s problems, inspiring hope for our future along the way. Here are five of them.

1) Maya Penn: Eco-friendly Entrepreneur, Cartoonist, Designer

“No matter how big my company gets, I will always use eco-friendly materials. No matter what.”

Maya has an eco-friendly fashion line, a nonprofit organization called Maya’s Ideas for the Planet, and two children’s books with environmental messages. Plus, an animated series about pollinators in the works, too —in it, bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are superheroes.

She just turned 15.

Here’s Maya:

2) Olivia Bouler: Eco-Activist, Author and Artist

“We are houseguests on our planet, and we have definitely, definitely not been very clean houseguests. Now it’s time for us to clean up.”

When the devastating Gulf oil spill happened back in 2010, then 11-year-old Olivia Bouler wept.

She had spent many vacations there with her cousins and grandparents who live in Louisiana and Alabama. Knowing birds were going to suffer inspired her to take action.

So she reached out to the Audubon Society, describing herself as “11 years old and willing to help.” And help she did.

Olivia offered up 500 of her bird drawings to those who donated to wildlife recovery efforts, raising over $200,000 in the process, and has received lots of recognition for her conservation efforts, including being named ASPCA Kid of the Year and a Champion of Change by the White House.

She released a children’s book, Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf, with proceeds going to Audubon, and continues to activate those around her.

Follow her on Facebook; you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s Olivia:

3) Shubham Banerjee: Entrepreneur, Inventor

“You’re never too young to start a company.”

If it’s a company that can potentially help a lot of people, even better.

Shubham is 13-years-old, and he’s working on an invention that would enable more blind people to read — a machine that prints Braille, a touch-based writing system for the visually impaired, which has won numerous awards and enthusiastic support from the blind community.

He built the first model using a Lego robotics kit for a school science fair after learning that Braille printers cost way more than the average household can afford.

Intel Corp. executives were so impressed with Shubham’s printer that in November they invested in his startup, and claim he’s the youngest entrepreneur to receive venture capital.

So Shubham launched his own company called Braigo Labs, a “humanely optimized technology company” working on developing low-cost Braille printers. The name “Braigo” combines Braille and Lego, and the company aims to have a prototype ready for organizations servicing the blind to test this summer, and it hopes to have one of its printers on the market later this year.

Here’s Shubham:

4) Winter Vincent: Humanitarian Surfer

Winter Vincent is a 9-year-old surfer and Waves for Water ambassador. Last October, Winter traveled to the Mentawai Islands with Waves for Water, an organization working to provide clean water to communities in need around the world, to help implement 50 water filtration systems, providing clean water for up to 5,000 inhabitants in the process.

Funding for the clean water systems was raised by Winter and the students of Manly Village Public School, born from a speech given by Winter entitled “Kids Can Make a Difference.”

Now that’s one rad little surfer.

Here’s Winter:

5) Mary Grace Henry: Social Entrepreneur

“Educating a girl can reverse the course of her life and change the course of a community …and a country.”

Teen entrepreneur Mary Grace Henry of Harrison, N.Y., has designed and sold enough headbands to pay for 45 girls living in extreme poverty the gift of an education.

She’s the founder of Reverse The Course, a headband-making business that donates 100 percent of its profits toward educational opportunities for girls, primarily in Uganda and Kenya.

Reverse The Course’s mission is to provide education for disenfranchised girls and develop business training and mentoring programs for girls, empowering them to become agents of positive change in their communities.

In November, Henry was honored with a World of Children Award for her efforts.

Here’s Mary Grace:

What kids say and do can make a difference. Just ask Vidal Chastanet.

If you’re looking for more stories about young do-gooders, check out the new book, “Kids Who Are Changing the World,” filled with inspiring stories of 45 kids from around the world who are taking significant steps to make the world a better place.

For all you frustrated environmentalists out there; here’s Maya’s advice:

You don’t have to have a ton of confidence to do everything you want to do. Go ahead and be afraid. Change will definitely come.

Ahh, from the mouths of babes.

Do you know a young person doing great work to help people or the planet? Share their story in the comments.

Photo Credit: Winter4Water/Vimeo from Winter Vincent

51 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 years ago

They are all so awesome Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 years ago

Wonderful article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 years ago

Great article, great videos great children Just made my day greater Thank you for caring and sharing

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.3 years ago

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Ann Cox
Ann Cox4 years ago

Olivia at 10 made a difference:
http://m.gazette.net/article/20141224/NEWS/141229635/0/derwood-fourth-grader-gives-to-ugandan-elementary-school-students&template=gazette

(Sorry for posting 3 times but working off my mobile as I am traveling!)

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