MEET THE WINNERS

A yearbook of the winners of the Barron Prize

2019 WINNERS

2019 Winners Announcement
The 2019 winners were featured on Forbes.com and Mother Nature Network.

Addison Barrett LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

Gorilla Heroes

Age at Winning Prize

11

Home State

Maryland

Additional Media Coverage

Tenderly – 10/03/19
The Washington Post – 09/23/19
Addison Barrett founded Gorilla Heroes to raise awareness and funds to protect endangered mountain gorillas. She has helped raise more than $7,000 for conservation groups such as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and The Ellen Fund. She raises money by selling Goodies for Gorillas (homemade cookies and lemonade), organizing an annual Gorilla Gala, and designing and selling t-shirts. In her project’s early days, she encouraged giving by taking a pie in the face — over 100 times! — for each donation made. Today, she creates custom gorilla canvases to thank donors.

Addison began her work as a first grader after reading a book at school about mountain gorillas. That night, she created a “Save the Gorillas!” poster and began brainstorming ways to excite other kids about gorilla conservation. She has led her school’s Green Team in creating a hands-on gorilla conservation station at schoolwide STEM events. Her annual Gorilla Gala features gorilla-themed interactive games, an information booth, and a virtual reality gorilla experience. It also includes a raffle, with prizes such as tickets to King Kong Alive on Broadway and a painting created by a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. Addison’s latest social media campaign, the Gorilla High-Five Challenge, asks gorilla lovers around the world to post selfies giving an air high five. She has received photos from people in nearly twenty countries and has compiled them into short videos. “I’ve learned there are people everywhere who are determined and kind and willing to help gorillas,” says Addison. “My hope is that at least one person who I have touched might also take action to help gorillas.”

Adom Appiah

Ball for Good

Age at Winning Prize

15

Home State

South Carolina

Additional Media Coverage

WBTW – 09/27/19
WSPA-TV – 09/27/19
Adom Appiah founded Ball4Good, a non-profit that supports communities through sports. In the past three years, he has inspired and led numerous volunteers — many of them youth — in raising more than $70,000 for 16 local non-profits. His group has supported the Boys and Girls Club, the Children’s Advocacy Center, Miracle Hill Ministries, Brothers Restoring Urban Hope, Cancer Association of Spartanburg, and Project Hope Foundation, among others. Ball4Good’s signature annual event, the Celebrity Basketball Games, draws sold-out crowds to watch community leaders take on Adom and his peers. The 2019 games raised more than $30,000 for children. Adom has also rallied his school’s sports teams to fundraise for local non-profits and has collected new sports equipment for children in need.

Adom began Ball4Good in 2016, inspired by a teacher who allocated class time each day for students to work on creating service projects. He decided to put his passion for sports toward a good cause – and to actually turn his school project into a non-profit. With the help of his mentor family and community, Adom began building Ball4Good as he studied for the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee. His story of those intense months became a book titled Kids Can Change the World, with 50% of royalties donated to non-profits that serve children. He has since written two additional books. Returning to the National Spelling Bee in 2018, Adom was chosen to represent the Bee’s core values in an address at the opening ceremony. “The most memorable part of Ball4Good is the opportunity to play with and talk to other kids about the importance of working hard,” says Adom. “I encourage them to tap into their passion and talents and use them for good.”

Anna Du LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

Deep Plastics Initiative

Age at Winning Prize

13

Home State

Massachusetts

Additional Media Coverage

Anna Du invented a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that detects microplastics on the ocean floor. She has also created the Deep Plastics Initiative campaign (DPI) to educate others about preventing and cleaning up ocean plastics pollution. Through her DPI presentations around the world, Anna is inspiring young people to use science to tackle world problems. She is also encouraging scientists to work together in an open-source manner to develop innovative technologies. She has written a children’s book, Microplastics and Me, and has raised more than $7,000 to distribute it free to kids and libraries in high-need communities.

Anna began her work after continually picking up plastic bags and bottles along local beaches. She knew that microplastics pose an even bigger problem, since the tiny, toxic particles become almost indistinguishable from minute organisms like phytoplankton. This makes them easily absorbed into the food chain, as well as extremely difficult to identify and clean up. A lover of both oceans and engineering, Anna set out to help, testing prototypes in her backyard and persevering through countless setbacks. Her invention’s detection system uses an infrared camera and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology to illuminate microplastics on the ocean floor. Her work has earned her accolades at top national science fairs and recently caught the attention of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s microplastics team. “When I first started doing science fairs, I had no idea that a young girl without lots of money and just a little advanced engineering knowledge could make a difference in the world,” says Anna. “I’ve learned that I truly love working on a problem that’s so much larger than me.”

Charlie Abrams and Jeremy Clark LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

Affected Generation

Ages at Winning Prize

15 and 14

Home State

Oregon

Additional Media Coverage

PDX Parent – Oct 2019
Charlie Abrams and Jeremy Clark co-founded Affected Generation, a youth-led non-profit working to fight climate change, help implement effective climate policy, and create environmental films. For the past three years, they have worked on the front end of Oregon’s Clean Energy Jobs bill (CEJ), which would force the state’s largest polluters to pay for every ton of carbon they produce. Funds raised from this would be reinvested into the state’s renewable energy programs. The boys have petitioned, testified, and marched for CEJ, which at first seemed certain to fail. They’ve organized and led lobby days that have produced the state’s largest ever turnouts for an environmental bill. They’re currently making an in-depth climate documentary about the history of the bill and are thrilled it’s expected to pass next legislative session.

Charlie and Jeremy recently mobilized their peers in support of other climate policy — Resolution #5727, which would incorporate climate change curriculum into the Portland Public Schools. After no action on a similar resolution the boys passed years ago, they organized the first ever Portland School Strike for Climate. Inspired by the Fridays for Future movement (started by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg), the boys led 3,000 students as they walked out of class and marched for nearly two miles to the school district office. Since first joining forces in fourth grade, Charlie and Jeremy have built partnerships with Renew Oregon, Oregon Environmental Council, and Schools for Climate Action, among dozens of others. These groups are supporting the boys in producing a documentary film called “One State” that will highlight inspiring climate change work being done around the world. “Passing a bill or successfully organizing an event leaves an impact on us,” say Charlie and Jeremy. “But it’s people telling us how we’ve changed them that motivates us in the fight for our future.”

Emma Angeletti LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

back2earth

Age at Winning Prize

17

Home State

Florida

Emma Angeletti co-founded back2earth, an environmental non-profit that works to reduce the amount of food waste in landfills. She and her three siblings have developed a large-scale free composting service in Miami, collecting food waste and transforming it into compost. Working “to grow gardens, not landfills,” they donate the compost to local farmers and anyone who wants to start their own garden. In just three years, Emma and her team have diverted nearly 15,000 pounds of food waste from landfills and produced more than 5,000 pounds of compost. They have also prevented the emission of approximately 180,000 pounds of methane – an especially potent greenhouse gas emitted in massive amounts from landfills as food waste decomposes.

Emma’s team regularly collects food waste from several drop-off locations, which were established with the support of city government. Her group also provides a back2earth bucket to any interested resident. Every Saturday, the team collects filled buckets from over 100 homes, replacing each with a clean bucket. Emma does her pick-ups by bike, pulling a cart with her two dogs close behind. She also serves as Head of Research for back2earth and is experimenting to create the most effective compost. As leader of the group’s KIDS program, she frequently teaches children and adults about composting and how it helps the environment. “I’ve learned that humans are defined by the actions they take when given the tools to make a difference,” says Emma. “And I’ve learned that what matters isn’t the number of people my message reaches, but how deeply it becomes etched in their minds, hearts, and ideologies.”

Garyk Brixi

Developed Life-Saving Relief Food

Age at Winning Prize

18

Home State

Maryland

Garyk Brixi has worked for five years to develop better life-saving relief food for starving children in developing countries. He has formulated low-cost nutritious foods that could be produced using local crops near communities in need. Volunteering in Malawi, Garyk witnessed the obstacles facing community health practitioners. He learned of expensive relief foods shipped long distances, resource shortages, and the challenges of delivering treatment to children whose lives depend on it.

Garyk reasoned that local manufacturers could compete with international suppliers to deliver lower cost relief food to more children — while supporting agricultural development in their communities. Determined to test his idea, he dove into rigorous self-study, drawing on research in public health, international development, and computer science. He persevered as he hit dead ends and learned to ignore naysayers. When he finally created models for locally produced treatments that cut in half the ingredient cost of what’s currently used, he put his work to the test. With support from leading treatment developers at Valid Nutrition, two batches of his relief food were produced in Kenya that met United Nations’ standards. Garyk is continuing to volunteer with Valid Nutrition, a non-governmental organization, to launch production of novel treatments in Malawi. “My work does not end here,” says Garyk. “I’ll continue striving to make nutritious food more readily available to starving children around the world.”

Grace Callwood

The We Cancerve Movement

Age at Winning Prize

14

Home State

Maryland

Additional Media Coverage

Cecil Daily – 09/27/19
Grace Callwood founded The We Cancerve Movement, a non-profit that creates ways for youth to help other children who are homeless, sick, and in foster care. Her group has donated more than $15,000 in cash grants and another $50,000 in products to youth-serving organizations across Maryland, Delaware, and Ohio. Grace began her work at age 7 following her diagnosis with Stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Unable to attend school because of chemotherapy, she donated her new back-to-school clothes to young girls whose family had lost everything in a fire. When she heard of their delight in receiving the gift, she decided to do more to help children in difficult situations.

Six months later, Grace founded We Cancerve. She created Books & Buddies to donate a new book and stuffed animal to children in pediatric hospitals. Her La Magnifique Boutique provides free clothing for teen girls at a foster care group home. Much of her work supports children living at Anna’s House, a homeless shelter for families, where she has arranged mentors, holiday gifts, and field trips to professional football games. Since 2015, she has run Camp Happy at the shelter, a free, four-week summer camp that engages more than 100 children in art, nature, and STEM activities. Each camper is paired with one of 50 junior camp counselors who provide individual support and attention. “I’ve realized I can dream big and accomplish a lot at a young age,” says Grace. “I’ve learned that I just have to go for it and believe in my vision and team. There’s no age limit on service.”

Jamie Margolin LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

Zero Hour

Age at Winning Prize

17

Home State

Washington

Jamie Margolin founded Zero Hour, an international youth climate justice movement. Her non-profit provides training, resources, and entry points for young people who want to take concrete action around climate change and environmental justice. Her 2018 Youth Climate March brought hundreds of young people to Washington, D.C. for a week of meetings, lobbying, and a march on the National Mall. The event inspired 25 sister youth marches around the world and the formation of nearly thirty Zero Hour sister chapters across several continents. Jamie recently organized the 2019 Youth Climate Summit in Miami. Her debut book, Youth To Power: Your Voice and How To Use It, will hit bookstores in 2020.

Jamie’s inspiration began with the first Women’s March soon after President Trump’s inauguration. It deepened that summer during a month-long course at Princeton University, where she was surrounded by politically-engaged high schoolers. Returning to Seattle, she found the city covered in thick smog from extreme wildfires raging in Canada, exacerbated by climate change. She decided it was time to act. She rallied friends on both coasts to join her in starting a youth climate justice movement that the media and national leaders couldn’t ignore. Jamie has done just that. Her work has garnered coverage by The New York Times, CNN, and Rolling Stone magazine, among other media outlets. She has also earned the respect of partners such as the Sierra Club and Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is that real change doesn’t necessarily happen with what is flashy,” says Jamie. “I’m most proud of our behind-the-scenes work and of building a movement that is run by young women of color.”

Joseph Goldstein LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

Kids for the Boundary Waters

Age at Winning Prize

18

Home State

Illinois

Additional Media Coverage

Joseph Goldstein founded Kids for the Boundary Waters to lead young people in protecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). The area is under imminent threat from sulfide-ore copper mines proposed right along the edge of the wilderness. The tailings from this mine will leach sulfuric acid and other heavy metals into the pristine watershed, irreparably damaging the Boundary Waters, Quetico Provincial Park, and Voyageurs National Park.

Joseph first fell in love with the Boundary Waters as a six-year-old on a weeklong canoe trip. His family has returned every summer – and some winters – for the past 12 years. At age 13, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Facing three years of chemotherapy and confinement, he decided to take what he was learning about fighting cancer and use it to fight for the Boundary Waters. He wrote blogs and countless letters, made phone calls, and when treatment allowed, traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers. Soon after taking his last chemotherapy pill in 2018, Joseph officially launched Kids for the Boundary Waters. His non-profit teaches young people how to advocate – how to write letters, make phone calls, and follow-up with decision makers. He recently organized the group’s second Fly-In, when 80 kids traveled to the nation’s capital for several days of trainings, meetings, and lobbying. “I’ve learned that this work is all about the small steps forward,” says Joseph. “Change happens when you suit up and show up, over and over and over. It may not be enormous, instantaneous change, but many small steps over a long period of time add up.”

Katherine McPhie and Milan Narula

Open Sesame Coding for Kids

Ages at Winning Prize

17 and 16

Home State

California

Katherine McPhie and Milan Narula co-founded Open Sesame Coding for Kids to teach computer programming skills to children in homeless and domestic violence shelters. They have recruited more than 120 high school and college students to work one-on-one with marginalized children in kindergarten through eighth grade. So far, they have helped more than 100 children learn computer skills and coding, many for the first time. The girls have written grants to raise nearly $30,000 to purchase Chromebooks and other materials. Open Sesame’s name stems from the Arabian Nights folktale, in which Ali Baba’s brother is trapped and dies in a cave because he doesn’t know the secret code that would have freed him. Katherine and Milan want to empower all children with the code of computing as a way to open doors to opportunity.

The two friends first joined forces in 2017 while volunteering at a homeless shelter. Convinced that kids living there could use coding skills to move past poverty, they piloted A Month of Code for children at a domestic violence shelter. Unsure of how it would go, they were thrilled to find students completely engaged. Building on that first success, they organized classes at several other shelters. Open Sesame volunteers are now leading Friday night and Saturday morning coding sessions at nine shelters across six cities. Beyond teaching computer and STEM skills, volunteers serve as role models for the children and form meaningful relationships with them. “I love that Open Sesame has created an opportunity for so many of my peers to use their skills to make the world a better place,” says Katherine. “I’ve learned that people want to be needed and to use their skills for good,” adds Milan.

Maanasa Mendu LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

HARVEST Device

Age at Winning Prize

16

Home State

Ohio

Additional Media Coverage

India West – 10/04/19
Maanasa Mendu invented HARVEST, an inexpensive and globally applicable renewable energy device. Her most recent design is constructed primarily of recycled materials costing less than $5.00. It can power a 15-watt LED bulb after just three hours of “charging.” HARVEST consists of energy harvesting “leaves” that produce an electrical charge when bent by wind or precipitation, or when exposed to sunlight. Her invention makes use of the piezoelectric effect – the ability of certain materials like quartz crystals to produce an electrical charge when applied with mechanical stress.

Maanasa’s device has its roots in rural India, where on a trip to visit family, she encountered daily electrical blackouts. She was also reminded that many families there rely on dangerous kerosene lamps. She set out to change that. A lover of all things STEM, she worked for three years to create her current iteration, designing a dozen different prototypes and conducting 1,200 trials. Named America’s Top Young Scientist in 2016 as winner of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, she gained a platform for promoting renewable energy and empowering students in STEM. She has spoken to nearly 7,000 people around the world. Additionally, she has used a portion of her science competition earnings to help start the Maruthi Foundation in India, which provides scholarships and other educational opportunities. She is currently working to enhance HARVEST’s patent-pending design with the goal of making it available worldwide as a Do-It-Yourself kit. “I’ve learned that the path to instituting change is paved with failures and unexpected successes,” says Maanasa. “I’ve also learned that you’re never too young or too old or too inexperienced to see a problem in the world and try to solve it.”

Neil Deshmukh LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

PlantumAI

Age at Winning Prize

16

Home State

Pennsylvania

Additional Media Coverage

WFMZ TV – 10/15/19
India West – 10/04/19
Neil Deshmukh has created an app called PlantumAI to help farmers in developing countries identify and treat crop disease. His free app allows farmers to maximize yields, reduce the need for toxic pesticides, and ensure a safe supply of food and water. It makes use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and crowdsourced data to allow farmers to process crop information easily, taking a picture of the plant with one snap of their phone’s camera. The app runs completely offline so that any farmer can use it, even in remote areas.

Neil was inspired during a 2016 trip to India where he visited the farm where his grandfather was working. He learned that farmers are struggling due to erratic weather brought on by rapid changes in the climate. He also realized that farmers were spraying their crops with a multitude of pesticides in an effort to eliminate any chance of disease. The pesticides were ending up everywhere, including in the river – the water supply for many people. Convinced that technology could help, Neil spent the next year developing his app. He returned to India for field testing and secured a partnership with plant pathologists at Akola Agriculture University, who agreed to help farmers use the app. So far, they have analyzed more than 1,000 crop disease instances. Neil continues to finetune his app, which is currently helping farmers across 12 villages address problems using fewer pesticides. “My dream is to change the world using technology – to make it better for people everywhere, in every class of life,” says Neil. “I want to make a difference.”

Pearl Daskam and Addy Battel

Meating the Need for Our Village

Ages at Winning Prize

16

Home State

Michigan

Additional Media Coverage

Huron Daily Tribune – 10/12/19
NBC25 News – 10/04/19
Pearl Daskam and Addy Battel created Meating the Need for Our Village to provide high-quality, youth-raised food to low-income families. In the past five years, they have raised and donated 10,000 pounds of meat, 2,000 gallons of milk, and 200 dozen eggs, making a $56,000 impact in their community. They have inspired 17 of their peers to join them in producing and donating food. The girls have also taught world hunger classes for local children, led statewide workshops, and been flown to both coasts to share their message about youth making a difference.

Pearl and Addy began their work as 12-year-olds when their rural hometown’s only grocery store closed, creating a food desert for 15 miles. The girls learned that many residents would have a hard time obtaining nutrient-dense food – and that the local food pantry struggled to provide protein. Though they didn’t have driver’s licenses or jobs, they did know how to raise meat, and they decided to help. The girls wrote and received a grant through their FFA chapter (Future Farmers of America) and enlisted their friends to raise livestock and poultry for the food pantry. Pearl and Addy recently brought together 50 community members – from food pantry customers to their state senator – to talk about sustainability. They now have action plans for bringing a grocery store to their town, developing a community garden, and becoming a non-profit. “We’ve learned how to stretch ourselves beyond what we could have imagined,” say Pearl and Addy. “We’ve also learned that in a time of turmoil and polarity, we can be united to solve the world’s greatest problems. All it takes is passion.”

Ruby Kate Chitsey

Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents

Age at Winning Prize

11

Home State

Arkansas

Additional Media Coverage

Ruby Kate Chitsey founded Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents to support the elderly living in America’s nursing homes. She visits with residents and asks them, “If you could have any three things in the world, what would they be?” She then grants their wishes, returning to deliver everyday items like shoes that fit and fresh fruit. Ruby Kate began her project at the nursing home where her mother works as a nurse, inspired by a resident named Pearl who had to relinquish her dog because she couldn’t afford to feed it. Pearl receives just $40 each month from Medicaid to cover expenses like pet food, haircuts, and new clothes. Ruby Kate was shocked to learn there are almost a million other people like Pearl.

She decided one day to ask residents what they wished they had and to write their answers in a notebook. Half expecting wishes for money or cars, instead she recorded requests for a chocolate bar, better toothpaste, an electric razor, watermelon. That night, she and her mom bought nearly everything on the list. Ruby Kate began organizing local fundraisers in order to grant more wishes and then created a GoFundMe campaign for her cause. It has generated more than $250,000 from 6,000 people all over the world. With that support, she is working to expand her project across the country. She is also starting to advocate for increasing the monthly Medicaid allowance. “I feel valued for doing what matters to me — being kind — and am so glad the world took my voice seriously,” says Ruby Kate. “Mostly, I’m grateful that I’ve changed the world for the elderly I know.”

Will and Matthew Gladstone LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

The Blue Feet Foundation

Ages at Winning Prize

14 and 11

Home State

Massachusetts

Additional Media Coverage

Tenderly – 10/03/19
Wicked Local – 09/24/19
Merrimack Valley Magazine – 09/22/19
Brothers Will and Matthew Gladstone co-founded The Blue Feet Foundation to help save the blue-footed booby, whose population in the Galapagos Islands is declining. They have sold over 10,000 pairs of bright blue socks to raise more than $80,000 for the Galapagos Conservancy and the Charles Darwin Foundation, non-profits working to protect the blue-footed booby. The boys’ donations are fully funding the first-ever research expedition to the Galapagos to study the bird’s decline. Their work has earned the respect of the Audubon Society, National Geographic, and the United Nations.

Will’s inspiration began in fifth-grade science class, when he first learned of the blue-footed booby’s decline in the Galapagos — and of the lack of funds earmarked to find out why. He decided to raise money by selling bright blue socks and convinced his younger brother to join him. They found a sock manufacturer, set up a website, held a logo design contest, and excitedly awaited their first order — for three months! They resisted the urge to scrap their idea and instead, kept trying new tactics. They eventually connected with the Galapagos Conservancy, which agreed to partner with them, and the tide changed. Today, the boys have received sock orders from all 50 states and 46 countries. “I hear about the world being so divided but when I look at all the places we’ve received orders from, the world feels a lot more friendly,” says Will. “If people in all these countries can care about a seabird with blue feet that they’ll likely never see on an island they’ll likely never visit, then people are a lot more similar than we’re led to believe.”

HONOREES

Ian McKenna LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

Ian’s Giving Garden

Age 14, Texas

Media Coverage

Austin Family – Sept 2019

Ian McKenna created Ian’s Giving Garden to provide fresh food to people facing hunger in his community. Since starting his work as an 8-year-old, he has grown and donated more than 18,000 pounds of produce with the help of nearly 1,400 volunteers. He harvests from his own backyard plot, as well as from gardens he’s built at four schools. Some of the produce is used at Ian’s community dinners, where he and volunteers have prepared and served 1,700 hot meals. He has also created a free Pop-Up Farmers Market in food deserts and has advocated for food justice and hunger issues at the Texas State House. His commitment has earned him designation as a grower for Katie’s Krops, a national non-profit that supports kids in growing and donating fresh produce (and that was founded by 2009 Barron Prize winner Katie Stagliano). “I remember being told I was too young to make a difference but I worked hard to find a way,” says Ian. “I always tell other kids to find their passion and do something with it to help others.”

Kate Williams LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

Author of Let’s Go on Safari!

Age 9, Texas

Media Coverage

Tenderly – 10/03/19
Austin Family – Sept 2019

Kate Williams wrote a book titled Let’s Go On Safari! to tell her generation that advocacy has no age limit, and that kids can help save animals from extinction. Royalties from her book support the Jane Goodall Institute, The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Global Wildlife Conservation – groups that gladly agreed to partner with Kate. She co-authored her book with Michelle Campbell, the game driver who guided Kate’s family on safari in Africa. The two exchanged cross-continental emails for months to create the book. It invites children to hop in a truck, experience the thrill of a safari, and discover how they can become animal advocates. When Kate presented their draft book to an all-kid editing panel at her school, she was asked, “What can we do to help these animals?” That question inspired her to partner with conservation groups and include them in the book as a way for children to take action. “Every kid loves animals,” says Kate. “We just need to tell kids how to turn this love into advocacy.”

Kylee McCumber

Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz

Age 17, Massachusetts

Media Coverage

Leominster Champion -10/09/19
Merrimack Valley Magazine -09/22/19

Kylee McCumber founded Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz, a non-profit that for seven years has provided weekend kits of non-perishables to food-insecure children in her community. Every week, she distributes kits containing breakfast, lunch, and dinner items to 496 children in her town and four neighboring ones. Kylee also hosts an annual school supply and backpack drive in order to provide each of the children she serves with back-to-school supplies. She hosts a similar drive during the holidays to collect gifts for the children. To fund her work, she organizes events including an annual comedy fundraiser and silent auction, as well as her two-day Fill A Truck donation drive at a local grocery store. Corporations, local service organizations, and individuals also host benefits for her cause. She stores food on floor-to-ceiling shelves in a small building in her driveway, where a volunteer team meets each week to pack food kits. “I’m proud that I’ve raised awareness of the issue of poverty and child hunger in my community,” says Kylee. “I work to provide food to hungry mouths and hope to hungry hearts.”

Liam Hannon

Liam’s Lunches of Love

Age 12, Massachusetts

Media Coverage

Merrimack Valley Magazine -09/22/19

Liam Hannon founded Liam’s Lunches of Love to feed people who are experiencing homelessness. Over the past three years, he has hand-delivered nearly 3,000 lunches to people living on the streets in his hometown. With help from volunteers, he makes lunches in his family’s kitchen and tucks each one into a paper bag decorated with messages of kindness. His GoFundMe campaign has raised over $40,000 to support his work. He started small, delivering lunches from a garden wagon that he soon outgrew. With his dad’s help, Liam built a solar-powered electric wagon that can carry 1,500 pounds of food and includes fold-out tables and a coffee station. He is currently working to make his program sustainable, applying for non-profit status and considering ways to move operations out of his family’s apartment. He has also expanded his efforts to include school supply and holiday toy drives to benefit children at a local shelter. “Some people in the world need help and if everyone who was able helped just a little, everyone would be taken care of,” says Liam. “I’ve learned just how far a little kindness can go.”

Melissa Khasbagan

1000 Books For

Age 17, Texas

Media Coverage

Austin Family – Sept 2019

Melissa Khasbagan founded 1000 Books For, a non-profit that provides educational and entrepreneurship materials to students and teachers in underdeveloped areas around the world. She has collected more than 15,000 books — many of them donated by local libraries — and distributed them in nine countries including Mongolia, India, Liberia, and Nigeria. She also produces audio curriculum, introduces students to the ideas of entrepreneurship and changemaking, and conducts workshops for teachers to practice speaking English. 1000 Books For is entirely youth led by a network of more than 20 international youth ambassadors. In Mexico, ambassadors are teaching reading to children whose parents are incarcerated. In India, they’re working with rural schools to establish libraries. All told, her team has impacted more than 400 teachers and over 35,000 students. Melissa has also created the Teen Entrepreneurship Podcast, where she interviews inspiring teen entrepreneurs around the world. “I’ve realized that you don’t have to wait until a certain age to positively impact others,” says Melissa. “As youth, we need to use our voices for a good cause.”

Olivia Goodreau

LivLyme Foundation

Age 14, Colorado

Media Coverage

Colorado Parent – 10/22/19

Olivia Goodreau founded the LivLyme Foundation to provide funding for Lyme disease treatment and research. She also works to increase awareness of tick-borne diseases. Her annual LivLyme Gala has raised more than $1,000,000 in the past three years, allowing Olivia to provide 31 grants to children in 28 states to pay for their Lyme medication and doctors’ visits. The funds have also allowed her to continue supporting tick research at universities like Johns Hopkins and Stanford. She recently launched TickTracker, a free, global app that shows people which ticks are in their area. It is being used by 15,000 people worldwide, in multiple languages. She has secured a grant from Microsoft to develop AI (Artificial Intelligence) for TickTracker, which will allow users to take a picture of a tick and determine its species. Olivia was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in the second grade after months of illness and visits to 54 doctors. “I have decided to take a really horrible thing that happened to me and help other children — and hopefully find a cure,” says Olivia.

Rosie Quinn

Coming Up Rosies

Age 8, Illinois

Rosie Quinn founded Coming Up Rosies, a non-profit that creates head scarves and capes out of original artwork for children who are bald. An avid artist, she has donated more than 1,000 Smile Kits full of art supplies and a customizable scarf to help kids at 15 children’s hospitals and treatment centers. Her kits provide art therapy and the chance for children to wear their masterpieces with pride. Rosie was diagnosed as a two-year-old with Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disease that causes sudden and complete hair loss. Delighted when her mom printed one of Rosie’s many pieces of art onto a head scarf, Rosie decided to do the same for other bald kids. Her long-term goal is to provide Smile Kits to each of the 300 children’s hospitals across the U.S. “My dream is that bald kids like me can be happy,” says Rosie. “I hope the head scarves make them feel better about themselves and make them smile.”

Ryan Bell

A World of Kindness

Age 18, Connecticut

Ryan Bell is working to inspire kindness, diversity awareness, and acceptance of differences by sharing his life story. As the founder of A World of Kindness, he has spoken to more than 4,000 people about growing up with a facial difference and complex medical history. He has also raised over $50,000 for Heifer International, which distributes agricultural animals to families in need as a means of providing self-sufficiency. Born with a craniofacial disorder that impedes his speech, Ryan has undergone 46 surgeries and extensive therapy. Grateful for the medical care and many kindnesses he has received, he began fundraising for Heifer International as a way to give back. Two years ago, using the popular book and movie Wonder as a springboard, Ryan expanded and personalized his work by creating a slide presentation about growing up with the same syndrome as Wonder’s main character, Auggie. He modifies his presentation to suit each audience and is developing handouts. “I share my story because I want to inspire others to go out, face the things that scare them, set their own goals, and make a difference in the world,” says Ryan.

Taegen Yardley LeafLeaf indicates winners who were honored for projects that benefit the environment.

A World with Elephants

Age 16, Vermont

Media Coverage

Kids VT – 10/01/19

Taegen Yardley is a wildlife activist who has created five documentary films to raise awareness about our planet’s most critically endangered species and the impact of decreasing biodiversity. Her films have been shown around the world and have earned her annual invitations to speak at the National Geographic Society, the Department of the Interior, and the United Nations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses some of her films in courses being taught in San Salvador, Budapest, and Vietnam. She was recently awarded Interpol’s “Fostering Partnerships in Conservation Award” by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Taegen began her work as a 12-year-old, inspired by a documentary about the plight of elephants. “I’m working to show today’s youth that there is power in their voices,” says Taegen, “and that the ripple effect we create will enable us to build a more sustainable, environmentally viable, and biodiverse world for all of the creatures who call it home.”

Tatum Parker

Tatum Parker Project

Age 18, Indiana

Tatum Parker founded her non-profit Tatum Parker Project to make a positive impact on the lives of pediatric cancer patients. She has delivered a backpack filled with $350 worth of activities, craft kits, and games to every child diagnosed with cancer in Indiana — nearly 4,000 bags so far. She has also raised more than $50,000 to fund pediatric cancer research. Tatum has fought and beaten pediatric cancer twice. Soon after her first diagnosis at age 6, she received a huge purple backpack filled with items to bring her joy and keep her busy. Convinced that all kids with cancer should be given the same, she asked her parents to help her create Tatum’s Bags of Fun. When she was re-diagnosed with cancer a year later, her determination to continue gifting the backpacks provided strength and motivation to fight the disease again. “I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know I’ll never stop spreading my message of hope, love, and positivity to kids with cancer,” says Tatum. “I’ll continue to leave my small mark on this great big world.”

ABOUT US

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America. Each year, the Barron Prize honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and the environment.

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WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Media inquiries and other questions:

Barbara Ann Richman

Executive Director

director@barronprize.org

Questions about the online application:

admin@barronprize.org

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Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes | P.O. Box 1470 | Boulder, CO 80306

Terms of Use | © Thomas A Barron, LLC

Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

P.O. Box 1470

Boulder, CO 80306