The 10 kids in this story are making a difference in their communities in unique ways. Some are working to prevent cruelty to animals, others got involved in social activism and some are helping those less fortunate. They serve as an inspiration to youth and are just some of the many young people out there working to make a difference in the world around them.
1. Lou Wegner, now 24, Kids Against Animal Cruelty
When Lou Wegner was just a teenager, he founded Kids Against Animal Cruelty. Wegner started the educational foundation for animal rights when he was just 14. At the time, he had recently learned that millions of animals are put to sleep if they’re not adopted. Now in his early 20s, Wegner is National Youth Ambassador for the American Humane Association and is a spokesperson for the ASPCA among other accolades.
2. Isabella Rivera, 11, Kids for Animals
Isabella Rivera knows what life is like for stray animals. Throughout her early childhood in Puerto Rico, she was surrounded by thousands of stray dogs and a million stray cats. To combat this issue, Rivera founded “Kids for Animals,” as a way to educate people about animal welfare. She has managed to collect thousands of pounds of pet food and has even reached out to the governor of Puerto Rico (who signed an executive order to allow American veterinarians to do a spay and neuter campaign in the country).
3. Ayna Agarwal, 17, SPOT Globally
Ayna Agarwal was nine when she was on vacation with her family in India. It was there she witnessed a car run over a puppy and not bother to stop. At that point, he realized she wanted to help animals. At first, Agarwal was turned away due to not being old enough. She later founded SPOT Globally, an organization that educates communities about stray animal hazards.
4. Carter and Olivia, 11 and 10, One More Generation
Georgia elementary school aged students Carter and Olivia had adopted cheetahs in South Africa over the past few years when they got word that they were close to being extinct. The siblings knew they had to figure out something so they started their own nonprofit organization to help educate kids and adults about endangered animals. One More Generation, or OMG, Olivia and Carter wanted to preserve species at least “one more generation,” and beyond that.
5. Tova Love Kaplan, 14, social activist
High school student Tova is national youth director for Constituting America and has traveled to D.C. to speak with the deputy secretary of education on September 17th, Constitution Day. She was also student organizer of March for Our Lives’ student walkout at her high school. Tova has recently established the first student chapter of Bake Sale for Justice, a group that sells baked goods for social justice.
6. Ella Casano, 12, teddy bear IV bag inventor
For kids in the hospital, Ella Casano has designed the “Medi Teddy.” The contraption is a stuffed animal that hides the IV bag for anxious kids. Casano herself has a rare disease and had hoped to raise $5,000 for the project. The money would allow about 500 Medi Teddys. However, Casano’s GoFundMe page has raised over $20,000—it looks like Casano will be making many more Medi Teddys in the coming weeks!
7. Khloe Thompson, 9, Khloe Kares
The school age Khloe launched her organization to help her neighbors know they are loved and cared for, no matter what their situation is. Khloe Kares offers community outreach, a leadership series and even a global outreach—in 2016, Khloe raised $12,000 for a water pump and bathroom in rural Ghana.
8. Ella Tryon, then 6, Help Me Color a Rainbow
When Ella Tyron was 6 years old, she found herself in a hospital. She was sad she was unable to color due to the pediatric ward lacking crayons. Soon after, Help Me Color a Rainbow was born. Ella created the nonprofit to donate crayon boxes to hospitals across the country.
9. Elizabeth Klosky, 18, NY is a Great Place to Bee
Elizabeth Klosky’s nonprofit stemmed from her Girl Scout Gold Award project. Her father and she had kept bees in their yard when she realized how important they were for the environment. NY is a Great Place to Bee works to protect bees as well as educate children about the buzzy insect’s importance.
10. Sidney Keys III, 11, Books n Bros
Sidney always loved to read but could never find books featuring kids like him. He ended up starting the book club Books n Bros, for 8 through 12 year old boys in the St. Louis area. Sidney started his book club to raise awareness about African American literature and to improve literacy.