Brooke saw some of her 1st-grade classmates go hungry, she would give them her lunch money. When she asked her mom for more money her mom asked, “why?” Brooke’s answer came from the heart – She just wanted to help. Out of Brooke’s compassion rose the Thomas Promise Foundation. Thomas Promise provides backpacks full of food complete with 3 meals and snacks for underprivileged children in Pasco County. The meals help feed children through the weekend when they would otherwise go without. Today 19 Pasco schools and over 1,000 children benefit from this program. Now 11 years old, Brooke volunteers at the food pantry daily and inspires her classmates to do the same. To the world, she might just be another kid but to us, she is a hero!
13-year-old Sally Campbell out of Zephyrhills, FL. began working as a volunteer and later became a junior board member for an organization known as S.O.C.K.S. (Students Organizing Cancer Krazy Socks) in 2014. Sally reached out to her friends, school, and community for support and as a result, she has aided S.O.C.K.S. in collecting around 7,000 pairs of socks for cancer patients across the U.S. and raising over $3,600 towards cancer research. “I feel that as a young person in today’s world, one of the most important things that I can do is to show other young people they can make a difference!” Campbell said. Campbell has also helped with various events in her community through organizations like St. Joseph’s Children’s Christmas in July, Love One Another, and Relay for Life. With the help of her friends, she has hosted dinners for cancer patients and their families and entertains with singing, dancing and storytelling. Businesses and schools, as well as other young people from across the country, have reached out to Sally to find out how they can host sock drives. “Socks are super fun and pretty much everyone needs them at some point.” Campbell said.
Spokane, WA: Daisy Button Believes issued its third grant to 8-year-old Violet Humble as a way of rewarding kids making a big difference in the world. Humble, who struggles with chronic immune troubles and a heart condition was inspired to give back to the homeless in her community as a way of taking her mind off the trips her family would make to the hospital. She would have to pass the bridges in her community to and from and if she was excited about having food with her to give those in need, it took her mind off the next surgery or strand of tests. She began doing fundraisers, asking businesses for donations and got involved with local non-profits. To date, she has handed out about 10,000 pounds of food, 5,000 toiletries, 70 pairs of shoes, and close to 1,000 snack bags. With the money from the grant, Humble will form her own 501c3 called V.O.L.T – Violets Outreach of Love and Togetherness.
San Diego, CA: Kaila Mellos is a one-in-a-million kid in more ways than one. In 2009, she was diagnosed with Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis (CRMO), a painful auto-inflammatory bone disease. This diagnosis is rare – 1 in a million. After seeing there was little support for CRMO and the kids affected, Mellos took action and created Kaila’s Komfort, which recently became a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. “Most of us with CRMO never meet another person with this disease, so it can be lonely,” said Mellos. “Other kids don’t understand what we are going through because one minute we can be perfectly fine; the next we can barely walk (or can’t walk at all) because of pain. I didn’t want other kids to feel the way I did when I was diagnosed – lonely and afraid. So, I decided to start sending fun care packages filled with items that would help relieve pain, provide a distraction, help make treatment easier and less painful, and also let them know they are part of a larger community of awesome kids!” Kaila’s Komfort has sent care packages to 161 kids with CRMO since she started in 2015.
Parker, CO: Daisy Button Believes issued its fifth $1000 grant to 18-year-old Nicole Steiner from Colorado. A year ago, Steiner noticed a lot of kids in her school struggling with stress and anxiety. She had always used writing and drawing as a way to get her own emotions out and decided it would likely work for many of her classmates too. She began collecting journals and handing them out with the reminder that they don’t need to keep their emotions bottled up inside. Getting their thoughts and feelings out onto paper was a safe and healthy way of moving through them. In a few months, she had collected over 500 journals and was able to hand them out to all nine High School counseling offices in her district. She founded a charity called A Journal for You and has been recognized in local and national media for her efforts.
Phoenix, AZ: Kaitlyn Martinez, just 13 years old, created Backpacks 4 Kids last year after one of her friends failed a writing assignment because she did not have pencils and paper at home and was too embarrassed to tell the teacher. It made her start wondering how many other kids are failing for the same reason. With some help from her mom, she created a Facebook page and then asked her school, church, and friends if she could set up donation boxes. After one summer of her school supply drive, she collected enough to fill 175 backpacks. This year she was able to turn her idea – Backpacks 4 Kids AZ ™ into a non-profit organization.
Rhode Island: Most 13-year-olds like to take a break from friends and school to watch movies and play video games but when Torrin Thorp was required to spend a lot of time in the hospital for Asthma, that became the only thing he could do for a while. Thorp began to look forward to and rely on the entertainment there to get through some painful, challenging procedures. His brother also went through surgery around the same time and had a similar experience. Being at the hospital so often they would both quickly reach the bottom of the movie and video game options and wished for more of a selection. Thorp wanted to take action to change this and encourage the friends he made that were still in the hospital too. In 2015, Thorp started the “The Helping Hand.”He has collected and donated almost 2,000 DVD’s and Movies and is now expanding his outreach to “Blessing Bags” for the homeless as well.
Ada, Oklahoma: Happy, warm and safe on their way to their local state fair, sisters Maddie and Morgan Manning noticed a homeless person nearby who didn’t appear to feel any of those things. Feeling confident they had been given so much so they could give to others, they set out with huge hearts and skilled hands to try and serve those less fortunate in their community. In the last two years that single tug at their heartstrings has led to them creating and donating 491 blankets, 230 scarves, 581 hats, and 102 pairs of socks. More warmth and hope that they ever imagined possible.
Folsom, CA: When 13-year-old Lleyton Rutz first got involved with BrickDreams ™ it was because his Dad, a tennis pro, has collected tons of tennis ball tubes. He was looking for something positive to do with them and discovered BrickDreams needed cans to distribute their legos in. Over time and many hours of service, Lleyton grew to love the mission and the difference he could see it making for so many kids. In fact, he loved it so much that he didn’t even need to think twice when he was asked to run BrickDreams!
Maryland: It’s not rare to find a 5 YO that wants to be a superhero when they grow up but what about one that already is? Tyler Stallings took his dream to help others from cape to change last year. With the help of his Mom, Stallings wrote a book about a super kid who travels the world. He used proceeds from the sale of his book to advocate for a cause very near to his heroic heart = Veterans. In 2016 he held two Give Back to Veterans days and collected over $3,000 in supplies and donations.