The most innovative solutions to the world’s biggest problems don’t always have to come from grown-ups.
In fact, sometimes the biggest ideas come from the smallest humans.
Around the world, child philanthropists are proving just how easy it is to spread goodness through simple, creative acts
They’re helping the homeless, starting nationwide anti-bullying campaigns, garnering support for the environment from celebrities, and raising millions in the wake of natural disasters — and still finding a way to finish their homework on time.
These little problem-solvers are working to make a better world and showing exactly what it means to be a Global Citizen.
1) Addisyn Goss
After reconnecting with her grandfather for the first time in 2015, 10-year-old Addisyn Goss learned that he had been homeless for many years. His struggles inspired her to take action and create the organization, “Snuggle Sacks,” which makes survival kits for people experiencing homelessness in Flint, Michigan.
In two years alone, Goss, along with her two siblings, has delivered about 1,700 kits, which include toiletries, snacks, and warm blankets for men, women and children in need. Every month, Goss hand-delivers around 100 homemade snacks to people living on the streets, as well as to local soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and YMCAs.
2) Shanneil Turner
When Shanneil Turner was 15-years-old she wanted to try out for her high school basketball team, but couldn’t afford to buy athletic shoes. That’s when The Boys and Girls Club stepped in and provided her with a scholarship to buy a pair of sneakers.
Touched by the donation, Turner raised $11,000 through community efforts and grants to give other student athletes the same kind of opportunity she was given. Her program, “Shanneil’s Locker,” provides footwear vouchers to dozens of children in Vacaville, California.
3) Jaylen Arnold
Elementary school was difficult for Jaylen Arnold, who has Asperger's Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and motor and vocal tics associated with Tourette’s Syndrome. But when Arnold turned nine, he decided to become “a loud voice for kids” who confront bullying.
His educational awareness campaign, “Jaylen’s Challenge,” provides anti-bully wristbands, books, and posters to teachers across the country to spread a message of tolerance.
Since 2009, Arnold has also stood up in front of crowds to talk about the importance of being open-minded and accepting.
In the past, celebrities including Ellen Degeneres and Leonardo DiCaprio have donated to his cause. Most recently, Arnold received the Princess Diana Legacy Award for his efforts as a humanitarian.
4) Olivia Bouler
After the BP oil spill in 2010, 11-year-old Olivia Bouler wanted to do something about the debris and waste that washed up near her grandparents’ house on the shores of the Gulf coastline. Within the same year, she raised $200,000 for recovery efforts by selling her paintings of birds.
Bouler drew and donated over 500 original drawings, and AOL distributed thousands of prints on her behalf. In 2011, she was named an “Artist Inspiring Conservation” by the National Audubon Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation. Some proceeds from her book of drawings — which lay out the plight of birds after the crisis — have gone back to Audubon.
5) Talia Leman
Talia Leman launched her first charity in 2005 to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Ten years old at the time, she then organized children across the country to raise money and support for those affected, raising more than $10 million for the Hurricane Katrina foundation.
Shortly after, she went on to found RandomKid, a nonprofit that provides resources for young people who want to do good deeds. Her organization was the winner of a 2010 United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Intercultural Innovations Award and has helped fund a water pump for an African village, as well as an initiative to provided crutches and artificial limbs to Haitian earthquake victims.