Typically, when you read or watch the latest news you can end up walking away feeling like there isn’t much good happening in the world. We’re happy to report that this is definitely not the case! There are countless inspiring and amazing things taking place all around us, but unfortunately they don’t often make it into the news or else they’re buried so deep, they easily get overlooked. Today we’d like to give an overdue spotlight to some amazing small adults who’ve been up to tremendous good this past year – the 14 most inspirational kids of 2014. Hopefully they inspire you and your kids!
Certainly you’ve seen this amazing young woman in the news – Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan. As a child, she became an advocate for girls’ education, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her. On October 9, 2012, a gunman shot Malala when she was traveling home from school. She survived, and has continued to speak out on the importance of education. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. In 2014, she was nominated again and won, becoming the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She has a non-profit called Malala’s Fund that seeks to improve education and empower girls all over the world.
Robby Novak, age 10, is Kid President and if you don’t follow him on Facebook, you definitely should because he’s not only inspiring, he’s very funny and bound to make you smile! His brother-in-law says this about him, “He’s full of life and ideas. Robby has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) a brittle bone condition which has resulted in him having over 70 breaks since birth. What’s inspiring about Robby isn’t his condition, but the fact that his condition doesn’t define who he is. In spite of all he’s been through he not only keeps going – he dances. We’re doing this because we believe kids can change the world. We also believe grown ups can change the world. It just takes all of us working together.”
Inspired by SuperMax Wilford, a seven-year-old superhero fighting brain cancer, MaxLove Project is a 100% volunteer-powered, grassroots nonprofit organization founded to help SuperKids thrive against cancer and life-threatening conditions. A little backstory about how much we love MaxLove…SuperMax’s mom bought him a Twilight Turtle when he was having trouble sleeping in the hospital. The turtle not only helped him sleep better, he also felt like the green light helped him heal. It was so touching to us, we’ve been working with MaxLove for the past few years to empower other children battling cancer with Twilight Turtles of their own. Working with them has been an unimaginably inspiring journey! Check out our latest collaboration, Super Max the Turtle!
While other kids his age are playing video games, 10-year-old Jonas Corona is helping the homeless. When he was 4 years old, Corona’s family took him to Skid Row in Los Angeles to feed homeless people, according to the “Today” show. Two years later, he was inspired to do more to help kids without food or shelter. Corona was too young to volunteer at shelters or missions, so he founded his own nonprofit, Love in the Mirror, to help homeless children and disadvantaged youth.
In 2008 Katie brought home a tiny cabbage seedling home from school as part of the Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program. She tended to her cabbage and cared for it until it grew to an amazing 40 pounds. Knowing her cabbage was special she donated to a soup kitchen where it helped to feed over 275 people. Moved by the experience of seeing how many people could benefit from the donation of fresh produce to soup kitchens, Katie decided to start vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to help feed people in need. Katie now has numerous gardens and has donated thousands of pounds of fresh produce to organizations that help people in need through her organization Katie’s Krops.
Haile Thomas is an 8th grader whose mission is to engage, inspire, motivate and educate her peers about healthy eating, cooking and living (she comes up with the most amazing healthy recipes!). Haile is the founder and program director of the HAPPY Organization, and serves on several advisory boards, including the Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Chop Chop Magazine, and the Tucson Village Farm. She is one of 8 young chefs featured on Rachael vs. Guy Kids-Cook-Off on Food Network, and serves as Youth Ambassador for Hip Hop Public Health and the WAT-AAH Brand.
When she was just 4 years old, Mikaila’s family encouraged her to make a product for a children’s business competition. Now at age 9, she’s a social entrepreneur, bee ambassador, educator and student and when not at her lemonade stand telling all the digestive benefits of flaxseed, you can find Mikaila leading workshops on how to save the honeybees, and participating in social entrepreneurship panels. Her award-winning BeeSweet Lemonade is buzzing off the shelves of the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, and available at a growing number of restaurants, food trailers and natural food delivery companies and 20% of her profits go to charity.
Maya Penn is a 14 year-old philanthropist, environmental activist, entrepreneur, eco-designer, inspirational speaker, artist, animator, coder, illustrator, and writer. She’s the CEO of Maya’s Ideas, a company she started in 2008 when she was just 8 years old and she creates eco-friendly clothing and accessories that are sold all over the world. As if that wasn’t enough, she also has her own non-profit called Maya’s Ideas 4 The Planet.
At just 13, Ashima is one of the top rock climbers in the world. In July 2014, she became the second female in the world to scale a V14. Like every other teenager, she likes cake and dislikes homework, but she sees everything as a problem she has to solve. A young girl with a big message – all of us are rock climbers everyday facing our own v14’s. Just climb through it.
Kenneth Shinozuka is the 15 year-old winner of the 2014 Google Science Fair award for creating a sensor that Alzheimer’s patients wear so that their caregivers know when they’ve gotten out of bed. What an amazing achievement! Kenneth’s goal is to study engineering and neuroscience to understand the brain and find a cure for Alzheimers.
Trisha Prabhu is a 14-year-old student at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois. From a young age, she has been fascinated with the inner workings of the brain. In 2013, Trisha heard about young girl’s suicide due to bullying on the Internet and set out to find a long-term solution to cyber-bullying. Her research led her to create the product Rethink, which won her a spot as a Google Science Fair 2014 Global Finalist. Rethink gives adolescents who are trying to post an offensive message on social media a second chance to reconsider their decision.
Five-year-old Jayla Newson, the kindergartner behind “Jayla’s Little Helping Hands,”decorates book bags and fills them up with items like toothpaste and a toothbrush, lotion and small snacks. Then she hands them out to homeless people. She came up with the idea after seeing a young girl and her mother living on the street and now she delivers her bags to a local shelter for homeless kids, where many children arrive in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing.
While visiting the beach with her family to see sea lions, 8-year-old Senna noticed something amiss with the pups — they were too skinny, starving and dying. Upset but determined to help, she created a fundraiser and traveled to speak at events to raise awareness about the issue. Her message is simple — if something in life is sour, do your best to make it sweeter through action and positivity.
After helping his father provide clean water in Mozambique, Ethan King realized there was another need for kids in Africa. “I brought along my soccer ball, and I was going to be playing with some kids in the villages, wanted to get some pickup games going. I set it down, I had like five kids playing with me, and the next thing I know, 50 kids are playing and there was dust flying everywhere,” said Ethan, “but when I looked over and saw the balls the kids were used to using was like trash bags wrapped up with twine.” King started started the international non-profit, “Charity Ball.”
Inspired? We certainly are – and these kids were just the tip of an iceberg of awesomeness! We had an extremely difficult time choosing who to feature because there were so many stories to feature.
These kids’ accomplishments (and others you know of!) should be supported and rewarded, so please do what you can to encourage them further by sharing their stories, following them on social media, donating to their organizations, sending them a card, whatever you can!
We live in such a beautiful world full of possibilities and these kids are proof! Let us know in the comments which inspirational kids of 2014 were most impactful to you – could be from our list or from anywhere else. Let’s keep spreading the positivity!