October 24, 2017

5 times kids showed us they’re ready to rule the world now

Here on The Renewal Project, we often feature the stories of young people who are making big, bold changes in their communities, from raising thousands of dollars in support of social causes to starting their own businesses with the mission of helping their city’s homeless individuals.

Meet some of the young people we’ve featured on The Renewal Project this year, and learn how they’re shaping their communities:

1. They’re raising tens of thousands of dollars for their community.

Photo courtesy of Kidz For A Cause

It started as a homework assignment and blossomed into a nine-year $420,000 fundraising effort—run entirely by kids. Kidz For A Cause began in 2008, when Nicki Lee, a third grader in Hawaii, held a benefit concert to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii. She raised $1,100. Since then, she’s hosted more fundraisers in the form of concerts and talent shows across Hawaii.

2. They’re building apps that solve social problems.

From left to right: Fiona Xu, Emma Yang, Alyssa Kapasi, Ivy Mao, Gabrielle Rich. Photo courtesy of Team Fig

Meet Team Fig—a group of six teens ranging in age from 13 years old to 18 years who are developing a smartphone app aimed at combatting lunch shaming and lunch debt. The team already has won a $2,000 grant from the Allstate Foundation, and raised about $1,700 in a crowdfunding campaign. (The Renewal Project is made possible by Allstate.)

3. They’re launching social enterprises.

Photo of Donovan Smith by Craig Fritz

Fourteen-year-old Donovan Smith puts his creative talents to good by making and donating soaps and other hygiene products to homeless individuals in Albuquerque. It’s a passion that’s also personal. Donovan and his mom, a Navy veteran, have spent time in a shelter for homeless women and their children. It was during this time that Donovan found a passion for creating little comforts for those who may be struggling just as he was.

4. They’re founding nonprofits.

Left to right: Amy, Logan, Liam, and Amber Haskill. Photo courtesy of the Haskill family

Like the Haskill siblings, who founded the nonprofit QC Closet2Closet, which collects and distributes clothing, accessories, and hygiene items to children and teenagers who are in foster care or who are homeless. Sisters Amy and Amber Haskill grew up in the foster care system and moved around often, at times apart from each other, until being adopted by the Haskill family in Rock Island, Illinois. That experience led the girls, along with their brothers, 17-year-old Logan and 15-year-old Liam, to found the nonprofit, and this summer they were awarded a $10,000 grant at The Allstate Foundation’s Good Starts Young Rally in Chicago.

Similarly, 9-year-old Jahkil Naeem Jackson was inspired to help his community from a personal experience. After witnessing homeless individuals in his Chicago neighborhood, he decided to create “blessing bags” full of small necessities that can help people who don’t have homes feel a little more comfortable. Since he started, his parents have helped him launch his own organization called Project I Am.

5. They’re creating movements in their high schools.

Photo of Noah Dyson, center, by John Boal

Like Noah Dyson, who launched a mental health support network for teens called The Love Catalyst.

And Yasmine Arrington, who founded ScholarCHIPS, a nonprofit that provides scholarships and mentoring to youth with incarcerated parents.

And Christopher Cole, who created BlackEd Perspective, a program that teaches African American history through social influence and popular culture.

The Renewal Project

The Renewal Project is an effort by Allstate to highlight, support, and celebrate ordinary people creating extraordinary community renewal.