Good People Doing Good Things — Young People

The news from the past week has been the stuff that nightmares are made of, and I think we are all ready for some good news for a change, a heartwarming story or two, yes?  As always, I have been out digging for good people, and as always, I found some!  I always like it when I find young people who at an early age have discovered the joy of helping others, and so tonight I’ve decided to highlight a few such youths …

Max Bobholz, from Green Bay, Wisconsin, was only 12 years old when he came up with the idea to create a charity to provide baseball equipment to children in Africa.Max-Bobholz.jpgWhile watching the 2012 Little League World Series on his television, a profile of the Ugandan team describing how the players sometimes lacked shoes and often shared bats and baseballs gave Max an idea. He thought about all of the extra bats, balls and equipment that he and his friends had in their garages and homes.

Max’ parents weren’t too keen on the idea at first, but they realized he was serious when that year he told them that all he wanted for Christmas was their help in turning his idea into reality.  With their help, he founded Angels at Bat and, thus far, he has donated over 10,000 pieces of equipment to kids in need in Kenya and Nigeria! Along with this, Max has traveled to Africa several times to donate equipment and the trips double as opportunities for Max and others to teach baseball to children who’ve never played it.

His charity has grown to include six branches in other towns around the USA, and Angels at Bat was recognized as the primary source of baseball equipment for the entire country of Kenya by the President of Kenya’s Little League.  Last year, Max started college at the University of Wisconsin, but he says he will still be continuing his work with Angels at Bat, that he intends it to last “beyond college and beyond my lifetime.”

Recently, Max, now age 18, was honored by CNN as one of 5 Young Wonders, for his amazing spirit of giving and service.

Sonika Menon’s family has always made a really big deal over birthdays.  Awareness that other kids weren’t so lucky came to Sonika when she was 14, growing up in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.  Sonika formed the Birthday Giving Program, a nonprofit that brings birthday parties to kids and families in need, but it goes even beyond that.  I’m going to let Sonika’s personal message from the Birthday Giving Program’s website tell you a bit about it all …

Sonika-MenonMy name is Sonika Menon and I am the founder of The Birthday Giving Program, a 501c3 organization. My cousin, Rinna Talwar, is the founder of the Senior Citizen Division. We decided to start this program to help those who aren’t able to afford a family member’s birthday. While watching our own parents go all out on our birthdays, we realized that there are many who are less fortunate than us. Through this program, we found out that we could make a difference one person at a time.    

We serve children, teenagers, mentally/physically challenged adults, and senior citizens. Teenagers and adults are neglected by many other charities because they are harder to provide for, but The Birthday Giving Program has decided to take on this challenge. Our program currently supports the northwest suburbs in Chicago, Illinois.    

These birthday bags are able to teach children the importance of giving to others. Adults receive the privilege of knowing that people love and care for them no matter what challenges they face. Eventually, both children and adults realize their potential to have an impact on the lives of others.    

For a single parent, the cost of a birthday can prove to be burdensome. Birthdays can prove to play a significant role in a child and adult’s life. They give children and adults the confidence, respect, and love they need to commemorate their existence in the world.   

I am going into 10th grade this year. In high school, I am planning to create a club to help recruit more volunteers. Rinna Talwar is going into 9th grade and is hoping to bring The Birthday Giving Program to her school through Student Council. After consulting with directors of various organizations, The Birthday Giving Program expanded to provide achievement parties as well as welcome boxes while still continuing the birthday giving concept. Our goal is to provide for as many people as possible and the sky’s the limit! 

Katie Stagliano was just nine years old when she planted a cabbage seed in a garden outside her house. She cared for it every day by watering it, weeding it and giving it plant food.  It grew to be HUGE! Forty pounds huge!Katie-Stagliano.jpgKatie wanted to do something special with this very unique cabbage.  With her mom’s help, she decided to donate it to a local soup kitchen to help feed the hungry in her community of Summerville, South Carolina.

When she arrived to make her donation, she saw a long line of people waiting for food. Then, Katie served her cabbage to the guests. As the many people thanked her, she knew she could and should do more to help.

With the help of her parents and school, Katie’s Krops was born. Katie’s Krops plants gardens to grow food that is donated to local soup kitchens to feed the hungry.

Katie-StaglianoKatie’s dream is to end hunger around the world.  So, after she created several gardens in her community, she decided to do more.  She wanted to help other kids create gardens in their communities. There are now over 100 Katie’s Krops gardens growing across the United States! All of the gardens are led by kids between the ages of 9 and 16. They have donated thousands and thousands of pounds of fresh produce to people in need!

Too often today we hear only the negative side, and more than once I’ve heard that the problem with today’s kids are that they are lazy, not being raised right, selfish, etc. Max, Sonika, and Katie are just three examples of the good things young people are doing to make the world a little better place.  Let’s try to focus more on the good, and less on the not-so-good, shall we?

31 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Young People

    • WELCOME to the world of blogging! I hope you’ll find value and inspiration here. I do a ‘good people’ post only on Wednesday mornings, and the rest of the time my blog is fairly political. This morning, I will have another good people that focuses on young people doing good things, so I hope you’ll visit. And if I can help you in any way, I will be happy to do so! I will check out your blog shortly. Thanks again for dropping by!

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  1. Thank you, Jill, for the stories of Max, Kate, and Sonika, and all the other folks over the years who have appeared on your Good People pages. Please keep them coming.
    Are there any chances you could interview some of these kids, or put videos of them talking about their projects? I know how busy you are, but just maybe you can make something happen to make these kids feel even better about themselves than they already do.


  2. This is true hope. It’s time we stop seeing debates solely comprised of my age and beyond people talking about the future and what needs to be done. Young people need to be fully involved. Actually let’s stop our generation making the mess even worse and just let the young take over now.

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  3. These stories open up a world of questions and wonder for me. First, how many more of these examples of humane approach to life are there that only participants know about? Is this the tip of the iceberg and is the rest of it buried under the murky waters of greed and corruption we experience daily? Do these lives, exposed the the light of observation move others to no only “admire” for a moment or two but to change their own ways and attitudes towards “those who are not like us” or at they like those ripples a small fish makes when jumping after a fly in the middle of a lake’s surface? If what these children do demonstrate more of what is wrong with the system than the help they give, then why is an inanimate, mindless thing called “the system” permitted to rule over ostensibly intelligent and perhaps even sentient and self-aware creatures with a modicum of education? These children’s efforts only stand out because of the evil (yes, it is evil) we are living in, are attuned to and all ranting and bitching about, are actually quite comfortable with. What does that say about those “adults” who deny their children the rights to vote, to make power choices within the system unless and until such “rights” can be used by the system, i.e., if a kid is given the right to vote at 16, then that kid is old enough to go into the military and shipped “overseas” to participate in wars of extinction. So, I think, “we” tolerate the oddball who does good things as long as it’s only the very few and there’s no danger of it becoming a civilization-changing power event. My opinion, based on reading of man’s history and 70 years of observation is that hardly any adult wants to see drastic changes to the system, much less see the system implode because of the risks involved. So we praise the do-gooders as long as they are within a controllable environment. Those who get out of control we demonize, jail, torture and kill. That’s history.

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    • This is, indeed, the tip of the iceberg! I found 5, these three plus two others, inside of two minutes! They are out there, little noticed, but just going about the business of being ‘good people’, of seeing something or someone who needs help, and enlisting their parents or others to help them help others. And you are right, in that their efforts stand out because of the contrast to the ‘evil’ that we see on an hourly basis in our world. But, I still find it uplifting to know that not everyone has succumbed to that evil, not everyone is willing to accept it as “the norm”.


    • My pleasure! In today’s world, we are bombarded with bad, the ugly, every day. Once a week, I try to balance that out by highlighting ‘the good’. It shows us that there is still hope for the human species after all … maybe. 😉


  4. I love all of these charitable ventures by kids. Their efforts come from an idealism that should be what socialism is all about – helping each other. Unfortunately, it takes kids to show the purity of the idea, because once adults get involved it becomes corrupted by control, power and weapons to protect against / overpower rivals. These kids have the innocence of pure intent. Long may it continue. I have a lot of hope in the upcoming generation. They are disenfranchised and discontent in the current political systems, run by adults that don’t care about the right things. I hope with all my heart that as they hit the adult world of work, that they don’t find themselves molded into the materialistic trinket reward systems that will enslave them for the majority of their life (if they let it). It is easy to say, but most readers here will know just how hard it is to fight against an unfair system and come out a better person, healthy and happy… The fight has great adversity for those who try to take it on.
    I truly hope the kids know how to band together and ignore the adult system, overthrow it, and find a better way to govern themselves. Time will tell. ❤️

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    • Yes, I wonder … how many kids from past generations started out with that idealistic notion of doing good, of changing the world for the better, and became disillusioned and jaded as they entered the adult world of “dog eat dog”, ultimately giving in to the lures of our capitalistic society. Shiny things are sometimes hard to resist. Let us hope, though, that this generation on the brink of adulthood have seen enough, with their friends being shot to death in the “safe” haven of their schools, seeing kids just like them being locked into cages and mistreated … perhaps this will be the generation that finally says, “ENOUGH!!!”

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  5. Jill, kudos to Katie, Sonika and Max. And, you for sharing.

    As for the recent tragedies that are so hard to fathom, I am reminded of the wisdom of Mister Rodgers in these troubles – watch the helpers, the EMTs, nurses, doctors, police, firefighters and civilians, who aid those in need, and console those in grief or shock. Keith

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