The other day, I was inspired by a little girl where I live who had organized a collection drive for our local food pantry to seek out other kids who are working to make their world a better place, starting with their communities and transcending from there. I wrote about these superstars here.
This morning, I was out walking the dog and made it a point to pick up a rogue plastic water bottle I saw lying in a gutter. I thought of Jahkil as I spotted it and how he had included bottled water in the backpacks he prepared for a homeless population. I thought of Levi as I picked it up and how he had spearheaded a trash pick-up initiative where he lived. I thought of Ryan as I recycled it and his commitment to keeping the oceans free of such trash by properly disposing of it. I thought of Mari as I thought about access to clean water in general. Then, I thought of Ella and her bringing brightness into the lives of other kids as I remembered a photo of a rainbow a friend had shared that had uplifted me the other day.
My friend Shannon shared a photo of this some kids’ chalk-tivism, as she so delightfully called it. Many kids where I live have also taken to decorating our sidewalks with inspirational messages of love and support, hop scotch patterns for walkers and just general representations of light and love during tough times. The rain may wash the messages away every now and then, but the resiliency of kids shines through when new, brighter messages pop up after each storm.
I was really appreciative when Ryan let me know about a few other kids who are doing amazing things in their community and I wanted to share them with you, too. I’ve also discovered some other kids who are working for change and have a few suggestions for children that are sure to help teach them how and nourish their inherent desire to be kind, brave and compassionate in their own lives. Today and every day, let’s give it up for the kids and the promise and inspiration they possess.
Khloe and Khloe Kares. From leadership workshops to global outreach, Khloe is doing her part to help combat homelessness. Kare Bag Days are a great way for local community groups to help out those who are less fortunate, Khloe will send over a list of items needed for particular population, the community group will procure the items, and then Khloe and her team join the community group to help fill and distribute them to those in need. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her activism.
Sammie and Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project. When Sammie first heard about the idea of a buddy bench, a symbolic bench where a lonely or shy kid can sit, signifying to other kids that they want to be asked to play, she jumped into action in securing one for her own school. And she didn’t stop there. Her mother told her about a company that made benches out of plastic caps and lids and Sammie was committed to collecting as many as would be needed to build a bench. Word spread about the heart behind the project and the goal, and Sammie was able to collect bottle caps from people who donated all over the country and several other countries, too. Needless to say, Sammie not only succeeded in getting that bench she sought out to get for her community, but her efforts snowballed and resulted in 75 benches in her home state, too.
Ruby and Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents. When I was a senior in high school, I spent nearly every Sunday at a local nursing home, where my role was to be a friendly visitor to the residents. Me and two others would serve juice and ice cream from room to room and stop in for a chat. You realized how just that made such a difference in the residents’ lives. Ruby is taking it to the next level. She is a tireless advocate for those living in nursing homes, providing small items to improve their quality of life, especially those with limited financial means; since 2019, she has raised over $300k for her cause. Did we mention she and her team of youth activists have also created a pet food pantry for residents and iPad kiosks to support off-premises connections? That’s just the start of the incredible fruit of their kindness-driven labor.
Karter and Popcorn and Books. Who doesn’t love popcorn and books? 8-year-old Karter enjoys them both so much that he was inspired to start his own popcorn business AND start a reading challenge to read 50 books a month. He shares reviews of the books he’s read, encourages kids to find books that interest them or pique their curiosity so that they will keep up the habit of reading and he also collects books to donate to kids who don’t have access to many if any.
“Come With Me” by Holly M. McGee and illustrated by Pascal Lemaître. Speaking of books…kids are perceptive. How do you explain the more challenging parts of life, that either directly or indirectly effect them? This book does a great job in helping make sense of the outside world and also show parents and caregivers how they can support their children in their role in making the world a better place.
The Paper Bag Artist. To end this post on a sweet note, to show how even the smallest gestures can make a big impact. A family business where I live has a talented employee, whose job is a vital one. He’s a little boy who decorates the paper bags that hold the purchases. He does the drawing and his parent writes out his explanation, in his own words. You never know if you’ll luck out and get one. If you’ll have “a dog that is happy with tiny hands,” or “a banana drinking juice” or “a grinch that ‘taked’ a picture.” The drawings never match the description, but isn’t that the point? Seeing things through a child’s eyes makes us look at things differently.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay connected, stay inspired, stay curious and stay hopeful.