7 Kids Who Totally Rocked Their Good Samaritan Status in 2011

Thumbs upRemember good news? It came somewhere in between the reports on car bombings and car jackings on the evening news and the top headlines in print or on the web. As happy stories get more and more sparsely shared, we’ve had to do a bit more digging to find the little nuggets of sunshine that put smiles on our faces.

That’s why all of those YouTube clips — the baby who breaks into hysterics when his mama blows her nose, the twins who have a whole conversation in mystery gibberish about a missing sock — get so many hits. People want something to feel warm and fuzzy about along with their political and social analysis.

In the midst of all our complaining about what kids are not and should not be doing, there are some inadvertently making us proud. Here are 7 reasons to have a feel-good moment: a cadre of kids who do the right thing in a mighty big way. 


Maren McNees: The 14-year-old Iowan did something totally, spectacularly, unselfishly different with her New Year’s resolution. On the first day of 2011, she promised she would do one selfless act a day for the rest of the year. In the process, she proved that gestures of kindness and concern for others don’t take a big concerted effort. They just take kindness and concern.

Adele Taylor: Spreading the love of reading and books spurred the bighearted teen to share the literary love back in 2008 when she launched Adele's Literacy Library. Through it, she collects thousands of books to donate to schools, libraries, and other organizations in need. She also started "Read All You Can," a competition to push kids to see who can read the most books in a month. More than 2,000 students participated last year, racking up a whopping 18,271 books in one month alone.

Rachel Wheeler: Most kids balk about going to school, but Rachel, who is just 12, helped to build one. When the infamous earthquake rocked Haiti to its core, she moved into action, raising almost $170,000 in just three years by selling baked goods and homemade potholders — and getting donations from organizations — to help build 27 concrete homes. Now she’s halfway to her $260,000 goal to build 20 more homes and a school for displaced students.

Joshua Hall: Coming from a family who actively gives back to their Brooklyn community planted the seed of activism early. But Joshua found another cause that spoke deeply to his heart when he got involved with Journey of Change and the fight against human trafficking and slavery in Ghana, where he befriended a little boy who survived unthinkable horrors before his 7th birthday. Hall has spoken everywhere from universities to the United Nations as an ambassador for the cause.

Evan Moss: Almost every single one of his 7 years of life has been marked by epileptic seizures. He started having them just a month after being born and by the time he was 4, he was having 300-400 seizures a month. That’s 10-15 times a day. To pay for the expense of getting a seizure dog, he wanted to write a book. My Service Dog was inspired by his own story — and garnered attention for children with epilepsy.

Shanoah Washington: A hard childhood can bring you down or push you higher. In this California teen’s case, it not only propelled her to find a gift for slam poetry, it ignited her ability to speak to other young people enduring dangerous and sometimes self-destructive circumstances. To be a greater help, she created Sista2Sista, a support program for young girls that motivates them through positive thinking and self-esteem building.

Peter Larson: For the last 12 — yep, count ‘em 12 — years, this Minnesota teen spends the weeks from November 12 to December 31 sleeping in a cardboard box to raise awareness for the homeless population living in his city. To date, the 17 year old’s annual “Sleep Out” has collected $400,000 for the cause. This year, he’s aiming to bring in $100,000 at once, which will house 50 families for an entire year.

Aren’t these kids inspiring? Do you know any kids in your area doing major things for the greater good?  

Image via momentcaptured1/Flickr

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