Children around the globe have started charities to help those in need. They are inspiring others to give and make a difference. Before the age of 18, these children are raising thousands, sometimes even millions, of dollars to make changes in the world.
Aid for Hunger
Katie’s Krops started when Katie Stagliano grew a 40-pound cabbage from a seed as part of a third-grade school project. She donated it to a soup kitchen. From there, she started a vegetable garden and donated the produce to feed the needy. Katie’s Krops now has many gardens and sponsor grants for youth-run gardens throughout the United States. Seventeen-year-old Amy Carlton started Teens Fighting Hunger when she found out in school at that time, there were more than 12 million kids going hungry each month. Carlton turned her hobby of making earrings into a way to raise awareness and funds to feed children in Oregon. Other children joined her efforts and starting making crafts to sell. Today, Teens Fighting Hunger sells handmade products online and at fundraising events to feed kids all over the state. Hoops of Hope is a basketball shoot-a-thon fundraiser. The funds go to help feed and care for children whose caretakers died from AIDS. Austin Gutwein founded the charity at age 9 after watching a video on African children losing their parents to AIDS. Hundreds of shoot-a-thons are held all over the United States, and millions of dollars have been raised.
Assistance for the Abused
Sixteen-year-old Cheryl Perera of Canada could not let go of the images stuck in her brain after she did a school project on exploited children. Perera jumped into the fight against sex trafficking and went to her family’s homeland of Sri Lanka to witness it for herself. After involving herself in many government meetings and an undercover sting operation, Cheryl returned to Canada and started OneChild. The organization raises awareness and funds to educate and eradicate the global sexual exploitation of children. Free The Children was started by seventh-grader Craig Kielburger after he was disturbed by child slavery in India. Free the Children now is an international organization that funds campaigns to end childhood slavery along with educating children in remote villages. Named for her aunt Victoria, Nadia Campbell's charity to raise awareness of elder abuse is called The Victorian Hands Foundation (TVHF). As a senior in high school, Campbell was distraught after watching a documentary on the elderly population being abused and neglected. She started TVHF to educate youth and adult volunteers on how to spend time with and care for elderly people.
People in Need
Sixteen-year-old Olivia Stinson and her cousin took a holiday church outreach and turned it into PEN Pals Book Club and Support Group. PEN, Peers Engaged and Networking, originated from the girls participating in a Christmas party for children with parents in jail. The organization pairs children with other children who have incarcerated parents. The peers communicate about books and provide encouragement one another. Maddy Beckmann has been bundling up children in the St. Louis area since she was in the third grade. Beckmann started and runs Coat-A-Kid, which gathers and distributes gently worn coats as well as new scarves, gloves and hats to local children. A memory of a homeless man eating out of a waste can on a chilly day drove Taylor Hannah to start The Ladybug Foundation at age 8. The foundation collects spare change from businesses, holds luncheons and hosts other fundraising events to shelter and feed the homeless.
Help for the Sick
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was formed to help fight cancer, and Alexandra “Alex” Scott raised $2,000 with her brother at the first stand. Alex lost her battle with cancer at age 8 but her legacy lives on. Children across the United States hold their own stands and donate the proceeds to Alex’s Lemonade Stand to fight childhood cancer. Jen Rubino was sitting in the hospital feeling down. After being diagnosed with a connective tissue and bone disease, Rubino had been in and out of the hospital, undergoing more than 20 surgeries. During this particular stay, a hospital volunteer made her a card. It made such a difference to Jen that she started Cards for Hospitalized Kids (CFHK) at age 16. The organization recruits volunteers, including famous athletes and celebrities, to make cards for hospitalized children. CFHK distributes the cards. Risha Shukla started the Kids Who Care Foundation after she had to have islet cell transplants. Kids Who Care has a mission to cheer children up during hospitals stays by sending “smile packs” with board games, DVDs, books and get-well cards made by youth volunteers.