6 Kids who are Changing the World
Inspiration all over the place.
At ONE, we strongly believe in the power of one voice to make a difference. The voice of just one person can inspire hundreds and thousands to take action—even when that voice belongs to someone very young.
Kids have a sense of hopeful thinking about the world. What’s especially inspiring is when kids find ways to act upon their hopeful thinking and change the world themselves. We’ve put together a short list of people who prove that you can never be too young to make your voice heard— that when you set your mind to something, you can make a real difference.
This summer, the story of this eight-year-old boy went completely viral; you may have even seen it on Snapchat. Two years ago, Christian McPhilamy saw a commercial for St. Jude’s Hospital and wanted to find a way to help kids going through a hard time. He decided to make the commitment to grow his hair out and donate it to the Children With Hair Loss Foundation in order to make a wig for a child with cancer. The promise took him two whole years. He was often called a girl and was even offered money several times to cut his hair. But he was determined to achieve his goal to help out a child in need. Staff from St. Jude’s praised him as a “little hero,” many major news sources shared his story, and the family received an outpouring of support and appreciation, showing that even the youngest of us can have a voice that will be heard by many. Christian’s story has brought smiles to thousands of people, demonstrating how one small act of kindness can go a long way.
This nine year old is building homeless shelters. Yes, you read that right. Don’t believe it? Watch this video of her power tool skills. Hailey Fort lives in Kitsap County, Washington, and considers the county’s homeless people her friends. She hopes to build 12 mobile personal shelters this year and grow 250 pounds of fruits and vegetables for the homeless. Last year, she donated 128 pounds of food to the homeless shelter from her personal garden. Her decision to do so was simple: “I saw a poor man on the street and I wanted to help him. So I asked my mom and she said yes.” Her family receives the majority of the supplies for these shelters through donations, along with some support from their community. Hailey’s mom has said “the biggest thing people should know is that they can do this too.”
Mary Grace Henry
Meet Mary Grace Henry, who is 18 years old and has hand-made and sold enough hair accessories to pay for 66 girls living in extreme poverty in Uganda and Kenya to go to 4 years of secondary school. After learning about how girls in other countries can become child brides and how many cultures place little value on girls’ education, she decided to fight it in her own creative way. She calls her organization Reverse the Course and donates all of its profits to combating gender inequality. This year, Mary Grace even received a two-year $35,000 grant from a World of Children Award that will support her work on the ground in Africa by funding educational workshops and programs for girls in impoverished areas. She told the World of Children Awards her advice to other children who want to make a change: “When you see a need, act. Dream big, but start small, taking little steps.”
One night, young Will Lourcey saw a man on the street with a sign that read “Need a meal” on the way home from his baseball game. At just 7 years old, Will realized that there are many people less fortunate than him and felt that he could do something about this problem. He wanted to fight hunger in his community of Forth Worth and raise awareness to other people about the problem of hunger. He started volunteering and raising money in his community, creating the organization FROGs, or Friends Reaching Our Goals. Will has inspired many in his community to join his efforts. Today, FROGs has provided over 175,000 meals for the hungry through the Tarrant Area Food Bank, helped pack 50,000 backpacks with food for hungry children through Backpacks for Kids program, and helped serve over 10,000 families through the Mobile Food Pantry. His hope is that his story will encourage other kids to “be doers, not watchers.”
Alanna Wall has a passion for nail polish and glitter. But she also has a passion for making others happy. At 12 years old, she started PolishedGirlz, a group that would go visit hospitals and treatment centers to paint nails for the girls with illnesses and special needs. Alanna loved painting nails and coming up with new designs and decided to use that to make other girls feel special. She now has a wide volunteer base and has expanded to multiple states. Alanna found a passion that she was able to share to brighten the day of others, and she has inspired hundreds to join her along the way.
This cute nine-year-old boy was inspired by a pro surfer to make some changes in the world. Winter Vincent realizes that clean drinking water is not a reality for everyone, but that it should be. He got involved in Hurley’s Waves for Water Program and was tremendously supported by his community in his efforts. With the help of donors, artists, sponsors and local businesses, Winter raised enough money to buy 50 water filtration systems, providing clean water for up to 5,000 people! He chose to help people in Indonesia, because that’s where he loved to go surfing. He even learned how to assemble these water filters and showed people in the villages of Indonesia how to put them together. Of his project, Winter said: “No one said you can’t have fun and help along the way.”
…Color us impressed.
Finally, here are a few words of advice from our favorite Kid President:
Take a step towards big change today. Join ONE campus at your school.