This year marks the 10th anniversary of Highlights State of the Kid, an annual survey that gives kids the chance to express what is on their minds and what is most important to them. In this year’s survey we probed on who and what influences kids today and do they feel heard and empowered. Given this topic we caught up with Adora Svitak and Hannah Taylor, both of whom were featured as Gallant Kids in Highlights magazine, for making a positive impact in their communities. We asked them to share their thoughts on how kids can make a difference and how kids can make their own voices heard.
“Age does not define what you can do,” shares Hannah Taylor, founder of The Ladybug Foundation, who was profiled in the February 2007 issue of Highlights to recognize her efforts on making a positive impact in her community. She founded The Ladybug Foundation to raise funds and awareness for those who experience homelessness, hunger, or poverty across Canada. Hannah’s foundation continues to support more than 70 shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks. At a very young age, Hannah understood that a five-year-old voice is just as profound and important as a 50-year-old voice.
“What you care about and what you think matters, and it matters right now,” shares Hannah. “Young people are innovative, hopeful, and brilliant, and their passionate hearts should be taken seriously. If you are a young person interested in making change, the first step is to learn as much as you can about what you care about. Then reach out to others about doing something to make change. You are never alone in what you are passionate about, and with a solid team you can make an even bigger difference.” Hear from Hannah in her own words.
“As a child, you have a unique ability to look someone in a position of power in the eye and ask them, ‘Why is the world like this? How can we make it better?’ Be relentless in asking those questions; realize that in and of itself is a kind of power,” offers Adora Svitak, a Gallant Kid featured in the December 2008 issue of Highlights for channeling her love of writing and traveling to schools across the country to talk to kids about reading and writing. Currently a student at the University of California, Berkeley, Adora is a published author, internationally acclaimed speaker, and advocate for causes including literacy, youth empowerment, and feminism. In the decade since she was featured, Adora has used her powerful voice to inspire kids (and adults) all over the world. Hear from Adora directly.
We are encouraged that we are raising a generation of upstanders who believe adults and the world at large care about what they have to say, and who take action when they see the need for justice.