10 most inspiring student activists

One More Generation

Siblings Carter, 9, and Olivia, 8, of Georgia founded the non-profit One More Generation to help save endangered species of animals. Carter and Olivia had been working to adopt cheetahs in South Africa for years, and one of their foundation’s initiatives is to raise $50,000 to support a cheetah rescue program in South Africa. Other efforts include a collaboration with The Art Miles Mural Project, water conservation, working with the state legislature to make changes to laws to stop the Rattlesnake Roundups, and much more.

One More Generation

Kids vs. Global Warming

Alec Loorz, a sophomore in high school, found inspiration in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and started this non-profit when he was 12 years old. Loorz gives presentations on global warming to students all over the world and is the youngest U.S. trained presenter for Gore’s Climate Project. The mission of the organization is to educate youth about the science of global warming, and empower them to take action.

Kids vs. Global Warming

Signature Donations

Two sophomores at Cornell University, Ricky Panzer and Alex Friedman, started Signature Donations last March to help fight the causes and effects of poverty. They partnered with Andrew Lin, a sophomore at UCLA. One of their first efforts was to raise $2,100 to buy black, leather shoes for 120 orphans in Ndola, Zambia. The shoes were ordered custom-made for children at Haven of Hope Orphanage, so they might attend school. In Zambia, students may only attend school if they can pay for tuition, books, and a uniform, which includes the cost-prohibitive leather shoes.

Future projects with Signature Donations include the construction of a K-8 school in Zambia.

Signature Donations

Kayla Kares Inc.

Kayla Polk started this non-profit last year when she was in the third grade. The mission of Kayla Kares is to share kindness — kid to kid — by giving stuff animals to children facing eye surgery. Kayla, 10, was 7 when she had her own eye surgery and came up with the idea for the non-profit. Kayla and others in the non-profit worked to raise money to buy new stuffed animals and to solicit donations of stuffed animals from around the country.

Kayla Kares works in conjunction with local ophthalmologists in Michigan and will consider requests from other offices and clinics through its Web site and Facebook page.

Kayla Kares

Kayla Kares on Facebook

The Pencil Project

Hannah McConn and Randryia Houston, students at the University of Houston, found inspiration when they participated in a study abroad program in African-American Studies in Ghana. The UH students learned that many students in the country drop out of school over minor issues such as not having school supplies like a basic pencil. The two went on to start The Pencil Project — which they later registered as an official non-profit organization — and raised enough donations to buy more than 30,000 pencils for the children of Ghana. Houston said that she would also like to open a boarding school in the country.

The Pencil Project

Kids in Care of Kids (KICK)

Jaide Ramirez-Jennings started Kids in Care of Kids (KICK) when she was in kindergarten. She began by looking for ways to encourage people in her hometown of Topeka, Kansas, to use reusable shopping bags as a way to preserve the environment. Yahoo! later donated 900 purple canvas bags as part of its Purple Acts of Kindness program. Jaide sold the bags for $5 each to raise money for other organizations that help the environment and help improve the lives of children, including Keep America Beautiful, the Topeka School Fund, and the American Heart Association.

Little Diva’s Making a Difference

Jazmine Jackson was a junior Mass Media Arts major at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga., when she started this non-profit last year. Jackson said that she was inspired by some of her own struggle as a young woman and those of her younger sister to try to help boost self-esteem in young girls in middle school and high school and to prevent violence and teen pregnancy.

The organization doesn’t yet have a web site, but you can learn more about its efforts to help raise money for breast cancer awareness and research on Facebook.

We Speak for Animals

Cassie Lewart was 10 when she started a club to help her local animal shelter, the Hillside SPCA in Pennsylvania, and she was 12 when she officially turned the club into the non-profit organization We Speak for Animals three years ago. Her club and her non-profit have held activities and fundraisers to help support the operations at the animal shelter.

Hillside SPCA

The Traveling Canvas

Tae Tae Davis was 13 when she started The Traveling Canvas to provide art supplies to homeless children. She got the idea after her Florida school cut the art budget and she worried about how students who could not afford their own supplies would not have the means to express themselves artistically. Tae Tae wrote to 50 companies asking for donations, and she raised over $32,000 to buy supplies. She used the money to stock her school’s art program and to hold art parties for homeless students in her home. (She also sends the students home with supplies.)

The Traveling Canvas

Kids for K-9s

Six-year-old Kayleigh started this non-profit after she watched training exercises at Chesapeake Police Department and learned about the dangers that police dogs face in their work with the police department. She questioned why the dogs don’t wear protective vests, and decided to raise the money to buy one for the department. She raised $630 for the first vest, and immediately started raising money for two more. The organization holds fundraisers and accepts donations to buy the vests, and the group hopes to raise enough to outfit all the dogs in the department.


Posted on 01/16/11 | by maria magher | in Education | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “10 most inspiring student activists”

  1. Asasldk Says:

    This is very good idea!

  2. Marie Carter Says:

    My name is Marie Carter and I am the Grandmother of Jaide Ramirez-Jennings. Thank you for the honor, but I have one question. How do you select your nominees? What is the criteria.

  3. Jim Ries Says:

    Dear Online Degrees Team,

    We are honored that you chose our organization as one of your “10 Most Inspiring Student Activists” for your site. Doing so helps our founders of One More Generation (OMG) inform kids all over the world about the importance of getting involved with cleaning up the environment, and helping endangered species survive One More Generation… and beyond.

    OMG is a nonprofit organization founded by two elementary students who are trying to clean up the environment, and save endangered species.

    OMG founders just launched a “Say No To Plastic Bags” Coalition in their community and just partnered with the great folks at the ISFoundation (Ian Somerhalder, you may know him from his role in the hit TV series “Lost”, or more recently, his role as Damon Salvatore in the TV Hit “Vampire Diaries”). Together we hope to raise awareness to the problem plastic bags are causing to our environment and to endangered species. http://generationextinction.com/

    Here are a few more of our coalition members:

    GA Tech Surf Club
    Atlanta Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation
    GreenPlate Atlanta
    Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church Environmental Committee, Atlanta
    Center for Biological Diversity
    Chico Bags and the Bag Monster
    Orange Halo Atlanta
    Cochran Mill Nature Center
    LiveThrive / GreenPages.com
    Georgia Tech Living Green Program
    Gorilla Sacks
    Ocean Revolution / LiveBlue
    US Green Building Council – Georgia Chapter

    OMG founders recently had a great meeting with North Georgia Annual Conference UMC Sustainability Committee. The North GA Conference represents over 900 churches, and we have the opportunity to educate and affect change in many caring communities. They presented their plans to get as many communities in GA to enact a “Say No To Plastic Bags” program. They showed the “Bag-It” movie trailer and are hopeful this meeting will lead to many more communities inviting us to come and speak about our initiative.

    Also, the folks from KooDooZ are going to help us set up a Nation-Wide challenge for kids to get involved. One such challenge will be about Endangered Species Awareness and the other about Plastic Awareness.


    Here is info on the organization. We hope you will consider contacting us after you have seen all these guys are doing.;

    These two will also be featured on Chicago’s Progressive Talk Radio on their new segment “Our Town” with host Julia Shu coming soon, and were just interviewed by New Zealand’s most popular Motivational Radio station with host Lisa Lomas. Carter and Olivia were also featured on German TV (ZDF/Logo) in August for their work with saving Sea Turtles caught up in the Gulf Oil Spill. They are scheduled to be featured on KooDooZ by Brandi Milloy later this month and Good Morning Atlanta aired their story in Dec as well. The folks from the ISFoundation just flew up to Atlanta and did an interview with the kids at Zoo Atlanta which will air soon. They were just featured on the Live Radio Show on The Recognition Network sponsored by “Kids Are Heroes”.

    Carter (age 10) and his sister Olivia (age 8.5) are so passionate about wanting to make a difference that they started their own organization. Their goal is to help clean up our environment, save endangered species and helping kids “Give Back”. What these guys are accomplishing should be shared with youth around the world.

    The two students have been adopting Cheetah’s in South Africa (from the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Center) for years and as they started asking why some animals needed adopting, we told them that unless someone stepped in and helped, there might not be any Cheetah’s left in the wild by the time they had their own kids. Well that was all we had to say and these two sprang into action.

    Since starting OMG, Carter and Olivia have been involved in numerous initiatives both locally and globally to include:

    Last August, they returned from making a trip to the Gulf where they delivered badly needed Animal Rescue Supplies to the folks at the Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Rescue Center in New Orleans. You can check out what they did in the Gulf to help save Sea Turtles: http://onemoregeneration.org/2010/09/07/animal-rescue-supplies-delivered/ and watch their video about the trip as well: http://vimeo.com/14798358

    Also check out what they are doing to help Sharks and Whales http://onemoregeneration.org/2010/09/17/save-the-sharks/ and http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=163429810347176

    They have been in communications with Pete Bethune (Ady Gil Captain from Sea Shepard) who suggested we attend one of their Nov World-Wide Anti Whaling demonstration in Atlanta. This was Carter and Olivia’s first demonstration and they absolutely loved it. Here are the pictures from the event: http://on.fb.me/9GnIdX

    Carter and Olivia recently won the Grand Prize in a Nestles Heroes Contest. The prize is essentially an ice cream party for them and up to 50 of their friends. They both decided to share the prize with their classmates at their school since the entire school has been so helpful with our organization from the start. The ice-cream party was held at the Fayette Montessori School in Fayetteville GA. All the kids had a blast. Here is a link to the story: http://bit.ly/bDt23G

    Working with our State Legislatures on proposing Legislative Language changes to the current laws written by the GA DNR (Georgia Department of Natural Resources) in an effort to help stop the Rattlesnake Roundups in our state. They have partnered with the folks from the Center of Biological Diversity out of AZ and their legal team has helped them write the language changes we want to introduce in Spring. So far these two enterprising young students have collected over 1,200 signatures on a petition asking for change to the Roundups. They recently met with the head of the GA DNR to discuss changes for the future of these events.

    They are working to try and raise $50,000.00 for a Cheetah Rescue program in South Africa. The Ann Van Dyke Cheetah Center runs the program and they are doing a tremendous job. The process is slow and funds are extremely hard to come-by but they held a silent auction at a local art gallery where they auctioned off painting kids in the community did of their favorite endangered species.

    They are working with various organizations in our immediate area on raising awareness to the plight of the many endangered species across the globe and about ways to help clean up our environment. We have an educational program that we present to the visitors of the Atlanta Zoo, The Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, The Atlanta Botanical Garden, Cochran Mill Nature Center and at our local Public Library.

    They are in talks with the folks from The Art Miles Mural Project (http://artmiles.eplanetsystems.com/), which is an international organization that raises awareness to various initiatives globally through art. We recently proposed to them that we collaborate on such a project about endangered species. We are very excited about the prospect of organizing such an event.

    Carter and Olivia were guest speakers at the Caring for Creation 2011 Conference at Lake Junaluska, NC on April 3rd 2011. Their presentation was a big hit and they were just invited by the Bishop of the United Methodist Church in Mississippi to be guest speakers at their event in June. See Sunday’s agenda here: http://www.lakejunaluska.com/events.aspx?id=5460

    Thanks to a meeting these two kids had with our State Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, a further meeting was just held with Deputy District Director Andy Bush were Carter and Olivia discussed the needed support for HR14 which covers Ocean Acidification. Carter and Olivia enjoyed the meeting and we will be reporting on the results in the coming weeks. Here is our link to the issue (http://bit.ly/aoaziw) along with an image of the two during the meeting.

    They hosted a “Water Event” at the Fernbank Museum where they discussed the importance of water on all living things and also partnered with an organization called Ryan’s Well which helps build water wells to poor villages around the world to ensure everyone has access to clean drinking water. Also on that same day, they participated in a celebration at our Sate Capital by being part of “Uniting Voices”: An Interfaith Worship Service Calling for Climate Justice, which is an event that hopes to raise awareness to the problems with our climate do to pollution etc.

    Both events were videoed for inclusion in the “One Day On Earth” organization that is hoping to document historical events from this special day and preserve them for future generations.

    Finally, they are attempting to work on a joint project with Jungle Jack Hanna from the Columbus Zoo and or Jeff Corwin to help raise awareness of the issues regarding endangered species to kids nationwide. (This is one of the projects, which they really want to move forward with. So far neither have returned our calls or answered our emails, we are still trying ;-)

    Well I think that about covers it. We hope you will agree that this story shows kids and adults everywhere that Anybody Can Make A Difference. Getting students involved now, is our only hope to help change the global situation around and what these two have accomplished is impressive.

    Thanks for featuring our organization and all the hard work our founders are doing.

    Best Regards from the entire OMG Team ;-)


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