Magnificent Kids!

Jordyn ScharaAfter reading about the death of teens from prescription drug abuse, I created WI P2D2 (Wisconsin Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal). My goal with WI P2D2 is to educate the public about prescription drug abuse, how to properly dispose of their unwanted drugs and how to safely store the drugs they choose to keep in their homes. So far, I have helped keep over 1,000,000 pounds of drugs out of the hands of young children and teens. I am also an Author, Teen Activist, Speaker and Founder/President of HOPE (Helping Our Peers Excel) a non-profit, Founder/President of C4C (Comics for Change) and Co-Founder/Vice-President of Project READ (Reading Equipment for America's Defenders). My goal is to not only give kids and teens the opportunities to see firsthand the issues in their communities and around the globe, but to also give them the tools they need to respond and become a part of the solution.
Louis Robinson: I had just bought a new body board and needed to get a new bag for it. After driving around Bali and thinking about it for a while, it came to me. When elections are held in Bali, they go a little crazy with elections banners. These banners end up in the already overcrowded waste system and often in the rivers. I realised these banners would be terrific to recycle into body board bags. This way I could also help the environment. So I created 'Beco Bags'. A percentage of the bag sales will be going to the Bali Street Children project so the kids there can have an improved life.
Max Wallack: When I was a young child, my great grandmother had been my best friend. Almost ninety years my senior, she and I played together like brother and sister, sharing toys, and even vying for parental affection. We shared an unusual relationship, each feeling responsible for the other. Afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, sometimes Great Grams was an adult and at other times, I was the adult. During the last year of her life, Great Grams went in and out of several hospital dementia wards. When visiting her, I noticed that patients who were working on jigsaw puzzles seemed calmer than their frequently agitated peers. After Great Grams passed away in 2007, I decided to collect jigsaw puzzles and distribute them to the facilities that had helped care for her. In 2008, 'PuzzlesToRemember' became a non-profit organization and I began shipping puzzles, free, to dementia facilities. Then in 2010, 'Springbok PuzzlesToRemember' were born. These puzzles have large-sized, brightly colored pieces with memory-provoking themes. Since 2008, I have distributed over 30,000 puzzles, worth over $250,000, to over 2,300 Alzheimer’s facilities around the world.
Toby King: I have always been very interested in animals, photography and video. So when my dad asked me if I would like to go deep into the jungles of Borneo, to make a film about orangutans, I jumped at the chance of a lifetime. We witnessed the most amazing experience of my life - the freeing of a caged animal into the wild. Ever since then, I have been very passionate about creating films that highlight environmental issues and I have created 4 short films. These movies are about the endangered Bali Starling, Manta Rays, and I have just finished working on a new film about the use of chemicals in rice farming and how that affects our bodies and the environment. My message to the world is - try to leave as small a footprint on this earth as you can, as it affects all of us. Practise kindness.
Shekhar Kumar: In 2003, when I was six years old, my family and I emigrated from India to Canada. Despite both of my parents having Bachelor degrees, they were employed at the minimum wage and we lived in a bad neighbourhood. Eventually, my parents’ jobs improved slightly and we moved to a better suburb of Toronto. It was at this time I began to experience certain forms of racism and bullying. I was regularly victimized because of my skin colour and heritage. It was also at this time that I realized that through social service, I could overcome the racism and bullying that I had endured. I became involved in many community projects and then founded a charity to collect shoes for those who require them - 'Shoes to End Poverty (STEP)'. We have online outreach via Facebook to more than 1,500 young people in the community and we have had a total outreach of more than 600,000 people across four     newspapers in two countries, collected over 900 pairs of shoes and raised in excess of $3,000.
Samuel Lam: In eighth grade, I stood up to a bully who had been ridiculing another student's broken English and outdated style of dress for weeks. Soon, I found myself the target of the bully’s attacks, both at school as well as online. Lost, humiliated, and defenseless, I felt caught in a seemingly hopeless battle. The event was a difficult one, but it became the catalyst and inspiration for me to co-found the 'End to Cyber Bullying (ETCB) Organization'. Ironically, we utilized the same social media, not to tear and break each other down, but to promote and connect to youth. It started with a belief that we could produce social change, and that belief triggered a global awareness campaign that has since developed into one of the largest youth-driven initiatives in the world. ETCB has united over 4.5 million individuals internationally. With over 1,200 volunteers, ETCB has established initiatives in the US, China, Great Britain, and Australia. Most importantly, I am grateful to have been able to help and offer comfort to over 2,500 cyberbullying victims of all ages.
Olivia Bouler: My project is called 'Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf'. When I first heard about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I was devastated. I knew it was nesting season and that danger was ahead especially for the brown pelicans that had just come off the endangered species list. The oil spill ruined the quality of life for thousands of birds, animals and people who live along the Gulf coast. I knew I had to do something - I couldn’t just sit there, so I started my fundraiser, eventually raising $250,000 for Gulf recovery. I sent out 500 original drawings of birds to people who donated to several environmental organizations, especially the Audubon Society who were helping to clean up the Gulf of Mexico. I have also written a book, “Olivia’s Birds”. I have learned that everyone has a talent to share and that we all need to work together to make the world a better place.
Daniel & William Clarke:
Daniel: In 2006 at the age of 10, I began my quest to save the orangutans and their habitat in Borneo. In 2008 I went to Borneo with my family, travelling for seven days through the jungle to get to the orangutans. This seven day trek was not easy as I have cerebral palsy and spend almost all of my time in a wheelchair. After travelling to Borneo, my brother William and I wrote our book, ‘Tears In The Jungle’. We wanted to let other kids around the world know about the orangutans and that they are critically endangered.
William: I joined Daniel's quest in 2009, and together we have raised over $708,000 and have sponsored 79,000 acres of land in Borneo that will remain a safe haven for orangutans.
Jessica CarscaddenI am 10 years old and I started the 'We Care Bears Project'. I collect stuffed animals and give them to the police and fire departments to keep in their trunks for kids they meet who are scared or injured. I was born in China but because I was born with medical issues, I was abandoned in an orphanage and put into a “dying room”, which is a place where those who are not expected to survive live out the remainder of their lives. I was adopted by my family when I was 5 years old. When my Mom and Dad came to visit me and to work out my adoption arrangements, they gave me a teddy bear and that was the only toy I had in the whole 5 years I was in the orphanage, so I know how important it is to have something to hug. So far I have been able to put them into over 1,000 emergency response vehicles.
Liva Adelstorp: By the time I turned nine, I had seen some documentaries and pictures of animals caught in plastic bags and old fishing nets and I realized how bad trash is for the ocean. I worried  about the animals becoming extinct and I wished I could do something about it. Then the idea came to me to me to make an underwater rubbish collection bag that we could strap to a belt around our waists. ‘Project Aware’ will be receiving the profits from any sales of the bags, and this will help them to keep raising public awareness about the problems our oceans and animals are facing. There’s only one Earth and all the animals we share the planet with are living beings so I really think we should respect them and be nice to them and clean up all the rubbish.
Luca Berardi: Playing with stuffed toys as a small child I was always interested in animals, but it was later, through books, TV programmes and the internet, that I realised how severely the problem of shrinking biodiversity negatively affects our planet and its long-term survival. As a result, I started thinking of what a tiny boy like me, and thousands of others like me, could do to try and prevent this tragedy. I came up with a dream; a dream and a project. The project is called Y.A.R.H (Young Animal Rescue Heroes) and young people like you and me can be the real heroes of our time if we are able to protect the species that are currently endangered. Y.A.R.H invites children from all over the world to be part of this initiative and work together to save our endangered animals starting in Kenya and eventually reaching every region of the world. Y.A.R.H aims to network with other children to create awareness within society of the issues endangered animals face.
Olivia Wright: When I was 9, my mom and I were watching an episode of a show called ‘Feed the Children’ and I heard that children don’t have all their basic needs like food, clothes and shoes. Well, I thought, I have shoes and I know others with lots of shoes and we can give them to other kids who need them. 'Tennessee H.U.G.S. (Help Us Give Shoes)' was born. We collect gently used shoes from others through shoe drives, people bringing me shoes or I collect them, and some people even mail shoes to me. On our first shoe drive we collected 670 pairs of shoes and to date H.U.G.S. has sent over 43,000 pairs of gently used shoes to places such as the Appalachian Mountain regions, Russia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Liberia, Uganda and disaster areas. I use my voice to encourage other teens to get out into their communities and volunteer and also to speak for the children in the world.
Jack AndrakaWhen a close family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer, I didn’t even know what a pancreas was, much less pancreatic cancer so I turned to the place where any teenager goes for information - the Internet. After researching, I learned that our modern method is a 60 year old test that can cost over $800 and it misses more than 30% of cancers. I knew there had to be a better way! Then an idea hit me! What if I combined what I was reading about (single walled carbon nanotubes) with what I was supposed to be learning about (antibodies) and came up with a way to detect pancreatic cancer? I finally came up with a small paper strip the size of a diabetic test strip that can detect mesothelin, a biomarker for pancreatic cancer, with excellent sensitivity and specificity. So if a 15 year old can use the Internet to create a sensor that detects pancreatic cancer, just imagine what you can do!
Clover Hogan: I was born in Australia, but moved to the island of Bali in Indonesia two years ago. I have created two animal activist documentaries in the last year and I am collaborating with people from all over the world to make a difference on this planet. The first documentary focuses on the welfare of Bali dogs, which through social media received an international response. The second documentary is about vegetarianism and has just been released. I believe that two of my greatest purposes in life are to provide a voice for the voiceless and to spread knowledge and awareness throughout our beautiful world.
Dani Bowman: I’m an 18-year-old individual with autism and I love animation, illustration and creating fun entertainment for children of all ages. I founded my company called 'Power Light Animation Studios' at age 11 and I have been working professionally since age 14. I have illustrated 5 books and premiered three animated short films. I speak frequently about my work and autism with the goal of changing the world's perception of autism and I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams. I also want 'Power Light Animation Studios' to be a huge building, so I can employ many people with special needs especially the ones on the autism spectrum.

Dallas Jessup: Watching the news with my family when I was a freshman in high school, I saw the surveillance video of a young girl in Florida. She was about my age so it resonated and in the video, a man came up to her and grabbed her arm and she walked away with him. Four days later her body was found. As a 13-year-old black belt martial artist, I set out to create a home movie to teach my schoolmates some street-fighting techniques to defend themselves. “Just Yell Fire” teaches girls how to literally fight back against predators and sexual assault. My second film, “Just Yell Fire: Campus Life”, teaches girls their rights and how to identify, avoid or escape dating violence, hall cruising, parking lot dangers, date rape, date rape drugs and jogging dangers.

Carter & Olivia Ries: We started 'One More Generation (OMG)' back in 2009, in an effort to raise awareness about the plight of endangered species. We teach kids around the world that it is our duty to care for all of God’s creations and we show them how they too can make a difference. 
Olivia: In 2013, I also started the ‘GreenWell’ division of OMG. I grow organic produce that I donate to local animal rescue centers that need healthy produce for their animal guests.
Carter: In early 2014, I started our latest division called ‘We Got You Covered’ which is designed to be a vehicle for youth around the world who want to help out in their local communities. Our first initiative was to collect blankets for the homeless.
Avalon Theisen: When I was 8, I started taking herpetology classes with Mr. George L. Heinrich of Heinrich Ecological Services. I am home-schooled, so that means my education is based out of my home, but my classes are everywhere on Earth. I founded 'Conserve It Forward' and amphibian conservation, specifically frogs, is still the main focus of what I do, but as my organization has grown, so have the topics that we spread awareness for. Recently, Conserve It Forward joined the world’s largest partnership for amphibian conservation, the Amphibian Survival Alliance. I also have a television show on the Autism Channel called “Nature Tracks With Avalon”.
Alyssa Deraco: Five years ago, when I was 10 years old, I started collecting books and pajamas to give to kids of all ages because I wanted to make a difference in their lives. In 2008 my Mom and I started a Non-profit charity called 'Alyssa’s Bedtime Stories'. We started out collecting used books and then new books and then it grew to pajamas and it just keeps growing and growing. We are dedicated to giving hope to children through a simple act of kindness and generosity. So far we have donated more than 10,000 packages of books and 5,000 packages of pyjamas.
Alec Urbach: After meeting clergy-educators from Ghana at a benefit concert for international healthcare, and watching footage reporting the unacceptably dire state of healthcare and education in Ghana’s poorest villages, I wanted to use my talents to help. I would use my voice as a story-teller and filmmaker. I would create a paradigm shift in “developing nation education” through film and educational comic books. So I founded ‘Giving from the Ground Up’ (and its subsidiary, ‘Alec’s Animated Schoolhouse’) to produce elementary school science, math & hygiene curricula for animation, along with companion educational comic books on social issues like bullying, staying in school and negative peer pressure.
Magnificent Kids! features 23 Superheroes who are changing the world, and they are just like you. They have worked out what they are passionate about, what they care to change in the world, and have put into action projects that are making a difference.

It's not about being super rich or super smart, it's about being passionate and determined. In the book they answer a heap of questions about their projects, themselves and their dreams for the future. Here we give you an inspirational overview of each Magnificent Kid!
Meet the Superheroes

© 2014 Kerryn Vaughan

Nicholas Lowinger: In 2010, I started the 'Gotta Have Sole Foundation' so I could donate brand-new footwear to children living in homeless shelters. The new footwear gives these children the opportunity to attend school more regularly and to participate in sports and after-school programs alongside their peers. They are given equal opportunities and experience increased self-esteem. With the help of over 1,000 volunteers nationwide, I have provided new footwear for over 15,000 homeless children in 33 US states. Because of the success of 'Gotta Have Sole', I started two new programs. One is called 'SOLEdiers' and is for our nation’s veterans who are living on or below the poverty line. I give veterans gift cards to footwear retailers so that they can purchase the footwear they need. The other program I launched is called 'Serving Love', through which I donate sporting footwear to children from disadvantaged homes who want to play sports.