by Jennifer Shakeel
KIDS CAN and DO Make a DIFFERENCE! Each and every day kids are learning ways to make a difference in the world that they live in. At my son's school, the sign outside of the schools says "Be the change you want to see in the world." One of the most popular clubs at the school is the Junior Optimist club. To me, that is just awesome. This gave us here at more4kids.info the idea of putting together the names of a few inspirational kids that have and are being the change they want to see in the world.
The first child is Tyler Page who started a charity through KidsHelpingKids. He was inspired to save the life of a child he would never meet in Ghana. After seeing an Oprah show where the topic was child trafficking, Tyler decided that he had to do something so that children like him were not bought and sold for physical labor. He had been learning in school about Positive Action, which is where children reach out and help others by picking up trash, paying it forward, and doing other activities in their community to make it better. Tyler figured out that he could save the life of 1 child for $240 a year (or $20 a month). He decided to have a car wash. This was so successful he decided to raise his goal from one child to 200 children. He is asking for us all to pitch in and donate to his charity. This can be done at the link above.
The next child I want to talk about is a young lady by the name of Stephanie. In June 2000 Stephanie ( a then 8 year old) started a charity called "Kids Making a Difference." Stephanie was inspired after reading an article about an injured baby manatee in her local paper. She knew that she had to do something to help manatee. She started by making manatee pins and selling them to her friends and family to help raise money to increase the public awareness about manatees. The wonderful thing was that not only did she raise money, and increase awareness, she also got other kids excited and they wanted to join in. That is how Kids Making a Difference was created. Today Stephanie is 17, and she still heads up the charity. It is an organization run by kids for kids:
Through the organization, kids are supporting kids with ideas and materials to impact their communities. Under dedicated adult supervision, these kids are making a positive impact on their communities by participating in city street cleanup programs; fostering and collecting needed items for homeless pets, along with fundraising for the preservation of endangered wildlife. They have come to the aid of animal shelters hit by natural disasters. These kids are helping to preserve our environment with recycling efforts, public education and coming to the aid of animals in need. While "Saving our World One Animal at a Time," these kids are growing to be young adults of great compassion and inner strength.
I would have to do nothing but write everyday about the amazing children that are making a huge difference in the world around them, but I wanted to close this article with one more story of another child who is doing something amazing.
The next youngster that I want to mention is Kyle Freas. He is now a 19 year old young man from Texas who started "Youth Together." He started the organization when he was 16 years old, which encourages elementary school students to help homeless, abused and critically ill children. The charity works with local nonprofit organizations to develop kid friendly service opportunities in Texas and New Mexico. So far Kyle's program has gotten more than 50,000 elementary school kids to get involved and make a difference in their community.
This isn't to say that only children who have started a charity to make a difference are the only inspiration children out there. There are also the children that get involved in the causes they feel strongly about. There is a group of children in Iowa working with Kids Against Hunger that shipped containers of food to Romania, Ethiopia and Guatemala. Those children range in the age from 7 up to 18 years old. These are children who are working together to make a difference in the lives of people they will never meet but have a connection to. To date, Kids Against Hunger (nationwide) have shipped more than 30 million meals. In Iowa alone they have done more than 200,000 meals and sent them overseas.
Children are surprising. Their concern is genuine and sincere. If given the chance they will change the world that we all live in. Support them however you can, whether it is driving them to that meeting for the club they want to join, or helping them figure out how to raise money for a cause that is near and dear to them.
Our son gives his allowance (that he saves) for the year to help protect abused kids. Our daughter is involved in an animal rights club at school that helps take care of abused animals. Encourage your child to be involved. Let them be the change they want to see in the world.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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