Good People Doing Good Things — Today’s Youth

We hear a lot about “young people today”, much of it negative.  But today’s good people are all youths who have started their own charities doing a variety of different things to help others.  If these are indicative of most young people today, I’d say the future is in pretty good hands!

I can only give a brief snippet about each of these young people and their endeavors, but I will provide a link to each one’s charity so you can find out more about them if you wish.


EVERY CHILD NOW

Every Child Now is a youth-run organization focusing on holistic development aid and empowerment projects worldwide. This nonprofit was spearheaded by two brothers, Vishal and Ishan Villay, and a small group of their peers at just 13 years old, after an inspiring trip to India.

Vishal is now 18 years old and has been recognized nationally and internationally for his work. Since the conception of Every Child Now, the charity has raised $100 000, and distributed over 35, 000 units of “basic supplies,” which are a range of resources across education, food, healthcare, shelter, and water sectors. Every Child Now has grown into a national organization and also works domestically to promote and protect children’s rights in the Villay’s home country of Canada.


HALIFAX TO BEIRUT WITH LOVE

After the recent explosion in Beirut, Halifax local Jaden Lawen decided to launch Halifax to Beirut With Love, at just 17 years old. This Canadian-Lebanse citizen spent every summer in Beirut as he was growing up. Unfortunately, he received multiple notices and photographs of his close friends in the hospital following the explosion. Upon hearing the stories of their injuries and their trauma, Jaden hoped to travel to Beirut to provide on-the-ground assistance in whatever way possible. Unfortunately, due to the current global climate amidst a pandemic, this was not an option, and so Halifax to Beirut with Love was born.

In just a few short months, the Jaden raised over $17,000 dollars for the Red Cross relief efforts.


VANILLA FEEDS TOMORROW

14-year-old William Cabaniss states that he has always been troubled thinking about how people can go hungry and that citizens of his community may be starving. Especially in the height of the pandemic, William became increasingly concerned about the unmet demand for food security resources and food hampers from the local food bank. When he thought about something that he could do to raise money to help support the food banks and shelters in the area, he thought about his talents and love of baking. “I love the added taste that comes from vanilla extract. When I bake, I like to add a touch of vanilla extract even if it is not called for”, he states on his website. And so, Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow was founded. William did some research and learned how to make premium vanilla extract at home using Madagascar vanilla beans. In his first few days of selling his homemade extract, he raised thousands of dollars and has continued to grow his operation since the beginning of the pandemic.


BALL4GOOD

After spending 20% of a 7th-grade history class on a service project, Adom Appiah decided to launch and continue his work through the charity Ball4good officially. This nonprofit aims to support various community charities and organizations through organized, charitable sports events. Adom and his team would host large sports events, and admissions fees are donated to various charities chosen by the Adom, and the community. After receiving national recognition for his work, Adom had attracted major celebrities’ attention. And now, many famous coaches and players have partnered with the charity to draw extra guests and funds to all of his events!

Adom is also the author of Kids Can Change the World, a book inspiring youth to follow their passions.


CONAN FUND

After losing his father to suicide in 2018, 16-year-old Jacob Grosberg decided to start The Conan Fund. The charity is a mental health advocacy agency that aims to raise awareness and raise funds for mental health organizations that provide resources to adults and children in urgent need of support. Since Grosberg started The Conan Fund in honor of his late father, he has raised over $12 000 and funded the help of over 60,000 people in need of mental health resources. Many national and international organizations have recognized Jacob for his work.


BE THE CHANGE COLORING CO.

Lauryn Hong, Ella Matlock, Sofia Migliazza, and Erin Rogers.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started to take over the world, four high school students, Lauryn Hong, Ella Matlock, Sofia Migliazza, and Erin Rogers, from Long Beach, decided they were going to use their creative talents to serve their community. Together, they drew and developed coloring books for kids that explained best practices for staying safe during the pandemic and being kind to one another. Each customer is given a chance to choose the charity they would like the proceeds from each book sale to go to. However, each book is focused on a different issue and has another suggested organization beneficiary.


CHELSEA’S CHARITY

While not technically yet a teenager, 10-year-old Chelsea deserved a feature, without question. A firm believer in the benefits of art therapy, Chelsea decided that instead of presents for her 10th birthday, she would ask guests to donate art supplies to build art therapy boxes, which she would distribute to children going through difficult times. Chelsea knows that creative expression is an excellent way to assist in healing from grief and promote self-expression. So even after her birthday was over, Chelsea knew that she needed to keep making these kits to make art therapy accessible for everyone. After Chelsea’s Charity became an official nonprofit, Chelsea has fundraised, assembled, and distributed thousands of art therapy kits to children in the El Paso area and taught free art classes herself.

*Note:  I featured Chelsea last year in another good people post, but I am including her here, for I felt a re-visit was in order.


NOAHS ARK PROJECT

14-year-old Noah enlisted his father, Mark, to found Noah’s Ark Project after being distressed by the prevalence of homelessness on vacation. Together, they set out to acquire sleeping bags out of an emergency fabric designed by NASA for first responders to provide instant warmth. It was imperative to Noah that the sleeping bags were easily portable and lightweight and would provide adequate protection from inclement weather for those without a permanent shelter. Noah’s Ark has continued to grow exponentially and has garnered plenty of media attention. Thousands of sleeping bags have been distributed to homeless US citizens, including a large population of homeless veterans since the project began.

Good People Doing Good Things — Little Things

With the exception of the first story, today’s ‘good people’ are all doing small things but … boy, sometimes those little things sure can mean a lot!


For more than 20 years, the nonprofit Students Rising Above (SRA) has provided low-income, first-generation college students with financial assistance, internships, career counseling and more.

Now, the nonprofit has announced another incredible milestone. Anonymous donors have stepped forward with a gift that will change the lives of approximately 400 graduates – providing up to $8 million to pay off their college debt.

Elizabeth Devaney, CEO at SRA, informed the students with a surprise announcement on a Zoom video call.

“What I want to share with you tonight is that anonymous SRA donors have presented us with a remarkable gift. It’s intent is to eliminate student loan debt for you.”

Students like Dr. Zachary Tabb, who graduated medical school two years ago and owes around $160,000, is now going to be debt-free.

“It’s life changing. I’ve had debt … really my entire adult life. And so, it’s just something that everywhere you go, it follows you … So… this has been nice in that way where I can sort of look broader in terms of what I do next.”

Law school graduate Kimberly Armstrong owes nearly $300,000 in student loans.

“It’s a shock. It’s amazing. It’s a relief, though. Once you start kind of setting in, there’s this weight that, comes off of you. Literally, it’s a weight lifted.”

What a wonderful group of anonymous people!!!


Ms, Ingeborg is a teacher of the Bavinck school in Haarlem in the Netherlands. The school had closed early due to the coronavirus pandemic, like all schools around the world.

“It was all up and running that the school closed. It all hit me like this. The children were no longer in school. And I miss them so much.”

One day while browsing Pinterest, she saw a knitted doll. Without any lessons, she decided she was going to knit a doll for each of her 23 students!dollsThe teacher clothed the dolls to each student’s preference. The girls who wore cardigans to school, she made cardigans for on their doll. The boys that wore sweaters, had sweaters. She even included details like freckles and glasses.

When the students came to the school one by one to collect their belongings, she gave out the dolls to the children, who were really excited to see them in person.

Ms. Ingeborg even made a doll of herself!teacher-dollHer students loved the dolls so much, Ms. Ingeborg says she plans to make them each year for her students.


Josh Crowell, who delivers mail on routes near Concord, New Hampshire, has been delivering hand-written notes with a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card to homes with graduation signs on their lawns.

So far, Crowell has handed out at least 25 gift cards.

“$5 isn’t much, but it’s something so that the kids can get out of the house and go get a doughnut and an iced coffee.  I’m not very well-off myself, but I look at it as, if I put a smile on somebody’s face, then I will do it.”

postal-workerNo, $5 isn’t much, but on a mail carrier’s salary, it’s a lot … and it’s the thought, the caring, that counts most.  He’s received many thank-you notes from seniors responding to his gift cards. One of the thank-you cards read …

“This year has not been easy for most, but I think being able to make someone’s day is important. … Thank you for being an essential worker, it means a lot.”

Thumbs up to Mr. Crowell!


Chelsea Phaire is ten years old and lives in Danbury, Connecticut.  Chelsea’s parents helped her launch “Chelsea’s Charity”  on her birthday in August 2019, when she asked party guests to donate art supplies instead of getting her birthday gifts. Says Chelsea’s mom, Candace …

“Since she was seven, she was begging me and her dad to start a charity. She was so persistent, every couple of months she would ask, ‘Are we starting Chelsea’s Charity yet?’ When she was turning 10, she asked us again, and we decided it was time to go for it.”

Chelsea-PhaireThrough her charity, Chelsea Phaire has sent more than 1,500 art kits — which include markers, crayons, paper, coloring books, and colored pencils — to homeless shelters and foster care homes art kits to give the children something uplifting to do when they’re feeling down.

I was thinking about this, thinking that I’ve never considered that particular need, and it came to me … it takes a kid to understand what kids most need!

After her birthday, Chelsea used the donations to send out her first 40 art kits to a homeless shelter in New York.  Before the pandemic, Chelsea traveled with her mom across the country to meet the kids in-person and taught them some of her favorite drawing techniques.  Now that Chelsea is unable to physically interact with the kids, she is mailing the art kits. Since March, when schools began to close, Chelsea has sent over 1,500 kits to schools, shelters, and foster homes in 12 states across the U.S.


A few weeks ago, as an addition to my ‘good people’ post, I added a “good critter stories” section and noted that from time to time I might find critters helping others, whether it be humans or other critters.  I was touched today by this crow who appeared to be helping a hedgehog cross the street …


Lately, I’ve taken inventory of myself and found myself lacking. Each week when I write these good people posts, they lift my spirits, but they also make me feel that all I’m doing is writing about those who are out there actually doing good things.  I no longer volunteer my time at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen as I once did, I haven’t rescued a stray critter for several years now … well, I really can’t seem to do much. Quite frankly, it has been a source of some depression for me, feeling next to useless in this world.  I was discussing this with our friend David the other night, and he posited that perhaps it’s enough that I shine the light on these good people, and maybe I motivate some of my readers to do some small acts to help others.  I like to think he’s right. Think of these people doing little things … let’s all try to find some little thing we can do to bring a ray of light into someone else’s life, shall we?