6 Out-of-this-World Nonprofits Masterminded by Kids [LIST]

These brave young heroes prove that making a real difference to people's lives is child's play

Special Collections: INSPIRE THE GOOD


6 Out-of-this-World Nonprofits Masterminded by Kids

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The children featured on this list have all helped to make a real difference to people's lives. After identifying important issues close to their hearts, these brave young heroes all took it upon themselves to help others. Whether they went through their own hardships, or saw others suffering from afar, they decided to act. Starting with small local projects, these kids went on to form their own charities and organizations on a national and even international scale. Each inspiring story proves that age is no barrier when it comes to doing good.


HOW IT STARTED: At just 5 years old Hannah Taylor saw a homeless man eating out of a garbage can and decided to take action. By the age of 8, she founded the Ladybug Foundation - a charity that helps homeless people find dignity and refuge.
HOW IT'S GROWN: The organization has raised over $2 million for projects across Canada providing shelter, food and safety for homeless people. Now a teenager, Hannah spends most of her time speaking at schools and events about the plight of homeless people.


HOW IT STARTED: Alex Scott was diagnosed with cancer just before her first birthday. When she was 4 she decided she wanted to raise money so that doctors could help other kids the way they helped her. Taking the quote "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade" literally - she told her mother she wanted to hold her first lemonade stand to gets things started. With the help of her brother she collected an amazing $2,000.
HOW IT'S GROWN: Alex unfortunately passed away at the age of 8, but by that time the brave young girl had raised more than $1 million to help find a cure for cancer. Alex's parents continued the great work she started and set up Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. They have since gathered over $75 million to fund more than 375 cutting-edge research projects and provide resources to improve the lives of children affected by cancer.


HOW IT STARTED: Craig Kielburger was 12 when his life was changed by a story he read in the Toronto Star. It was about child slave Iqbal Masih who captured the world's attention by speaking out for children's rights. Inspired by Masih’s story, Craig gathered a group of his classmates and set out on a mission to fight child labor. That is how Free The Children was born.
HOW IT'S GROWN: Together with his brother Marc, Craig built the organization up into an international charity empowering children to make a better future for themselves. It now has more than 2.3 million youth involved with innovative education and development programs around the world. Free The Children has grown into a family of organizations that includes Me to We and We Day.


HOW IT STARTED: Sisters Vienna, 13, Hayleigh, 13, and Sarah, 10 just couldn't sit back and do nothing when they heard that a fire at a boy's school near Nairobi in Kenya left a community in ruin. After seeing pictures of hundreds of children their age walking around barefoot, the three sisters decided to raise money to provide over 1,200 pairs of shoes.
HOW IT'S GROWN: As part of the Sole to Soul project, the young girls went door-to-door to collect second hand shoes in good condition. They also ran stalls in public locations in their hometown of Nashua, New Hampshire and ended up raising $33,000 to buy new shoes for some 1,500 kids.


HOW IT STARTED: At the age of 12, Leanne Joyce conceived the idea of Positive Impact for Kids. While she was waiting for a yearly cardiology check-up for her heart problem, she was touched when two teenage hospital volunteers offered her a gift. She told her mom that this made her realize that people care and that she wanted to give back. Not wasting any time, she decided to form the non-profit in order to improve the lives of children and adolescents being treated in hospitals.
HOW IT'S GROWN: The organization now helps buy items to fulfill the wish lists of hospitalized children in North Carolina and beyond. Over $25,000 has been collected from grants, fundraising events and private donations.


HOW IT STARTEDAustin Gutwein was 9 when he watched a video that showed children who had lost their parents to AIDS. Realizing he could make a difference, he decided to shoot basketball free throws on World AIDS Day, 2004 to raise awareness. With the help of friends and family, Austin collected almost $3,000 to provide hope food, clothing and shelter to 8 orphaned children.
HOW IT'S GROWN: Hoops of Hope is now the biggest basketball shoot-a-thon in the world and Austin has managed to raise over $3 million for children left behind by AIDS. Thousands of participants and teams from around the world now take part in the event that helps children who are in need.

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