I’ve been noticing this growing trend lately — kids are taking over the care and love for the Earth and each other. My faith in humanity, specifically in the youth of this planet, was fully restored when I recently heard two news stories: Hanna’s Hearts of Hope and March Across America.
Hanna’s Hearts of Hope is named for Johanna, a now nine year old girl who was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma two years ago. Since the doctors found her cancer early she was saved and although the young girl had to face weeks of chemotherapy, it appears that her overall spirit was never shaken. That spirit was what prompted her to give back in a big way.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts approached her once she was out of the hospital and asked for her wish. From their generosity Hanna was able to travel to Walt Disney World, ride on the rides and, as she puts it, â€œ[meet] all the Princessesâ€. Upon her return she was so inspired by the work that Make-A-Wish Foundation MA does in giving to those who need a lift that she felt compelled to do something for them in return.
She came across a walnut shell that had broken in half and she noticed that the shape inside was that of a small heart. With a simple plan in mind Hanna was on her way to creating something beautiful — she and her dad melted down some crayons, filed the heart with them, drilled a hole in the shell and strung a cord through it to make a necklace. Hanna’s Hearts of Hope was born! All the proceeds from sales of her necklaces (with shells donated by Hammons Products Co. in Missouri) go directly to Make-A-Wish MA so other kids who are sick can experience the same level of happiness that Johanna was fortunate enough to have had.
Another young person making a great difference in the world is Zach Bonner, a twelve year old kid who is literally walking across the southern side of our country as a spokesperson for kids who may not have a voice of their own. March Across America is a movement Zach started in order to raise awareness for the nearly 1.3 million homeless kids across the country.
His journey started in Tampa, Florida, his hometown, on March 23 of this year and he is due to arrive at the Santa Monica Pier on September 17. With his mom driving his chase car (and sometimes walking with him too!), Zach is walking an impressive 20 some odd miles every day. That level of dedication is applaudable but Zach is no stranger to humanitarianism. In 2009 he walked over 1200 miles from Florida to Washington DC for homeless children.
Zach began his philanthropic journey in Florida after hurricane Charley devastated his region of the country and he, at age seven back then, filled up his wagon with water and supplies to deliver to those in need. The Little Red Wagon Foundation was born and Zach has been donating his time and effort to charitable causes ever since.
Both Johanna and Zach are inspirations to me and I hope you also find their stories uplifting and inspirational! Just reading about these young people who have been through a lot but have given back so much makes me want to go out and do something selfless for others in any way that my own skills could best help. I applaud these young Humanitarians and Philanthropists for their example that even a small step can make a huge impact on the people of this planet.
Join the March Across America Facebook Group.