Three Stories of Youth Making a Difference through Creativity

Pictured:  Katharine and Isabelle Adams - Ep 103: Pictured:  Sydney Park honors Katherine Adams during  The HALO Effect to air on NICKELODEON. Photo: Amy Mikler/Nickelodeon©2015 VIACOM INTERNATIONAL, INC., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sometimes, all it takes is an idea to start something big.

Creativity is in us all, particularly at a young age. YOUth have the talent and imaginations to think beyond what is known to be possible, and find unique solutions and ideas to solve the challenges we face.

Don’t believe us? These three stories of ChangeLeaders® from The Power of YOUth show us how it’s done!
Kathrine and Isabelle Adams: Make origami ornaments for water wells
Born in the United States, as young girls Katherine and Isabelle learned there were many girls their age in developing countries not in school because they were collecting water. Motivated to take action, these sisters decided to make origami Christmas ornaments and give the donations raised to water well projects: With that, Paper for Water was born. In the first five years, the Adams sisters raised over $825,000 and helped fund over 100 water projects in Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico, Ethiopia, Uganda, Peru, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, India, and a Navajo Reservation in Smith Lake, New Mexico. Because sanitation and hygiene are taught with Paper for Water’s well insertions, the incidence of Ebola in communities of countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone has been next to zero.

In the first five years, the Adams sisters raised over $825,000 and helped fund over 100 water projects in various countries including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and India. #ChangeLeader

Alanna Wall: Paints nails for hospital patients and those with special needs
At the age of 10, Alanna founded Polished Girlz, to bring mini manicures to both girls in the hospital and those with special needs. She considers herself to be very creative and enjoys helping others so mixing these two passions seemed like a natural fit. Since it was difficult to find places that would allow a young girl to volunteer, Alanna’s project originally started with just her and her mom painting nails. Through friends, family and community networks, Polished Girlz has grown into a worldwide organization.

In the last five years, Polished Girlz has reached over 16,000 girls and now has over 900 volunteers, from all over the United States, Canada and Mexico. “I know it just seems like we are polishing nails, but it’s more than that. Some of our clients live in the hospital or are there frequently. Polished Girlz gives them a chance to take the minds off of whatever they are going through and interact with kids their own age.”

Polished Girlz gives them a chance to take the minds off of whatever they are going through and interact with kids their own age. -Alanna Wall, #ChangeLeader

Alisha Fredriksson: Teaches jewellery design to village women in India
Born in Hungary to a Swedish father and Chinese mother, Alisha grew up appreciating diverse cultures. At age six, she began tinkering with beading and business, parading a basket of jewellery around her local neighbourhood. As her skills and designs quickly progressed, Alana created an online boutique, Brite Jewelry, to sell her sparkly creations.

Following an Antarctic adventure in high school, Alisha chose to attend Mahindra United World College of India, a two-year residential college with over 200 students from 60 countries. In an attempt to branch out beyond her international school bubble and learn more from those around her, Alisha connected with a local non-profit, Akshara, and began sharing her love for jewellery making with women in the nearby villages.

Word quickly spread and soon enough, over 50 women from 11 villages had joined the artisan training program, Seema Circle, as a means to develop new skills, connect with a community, and generate income and independence. #ChangeLeader

Seema Circle developed into a social enterprise and later into an inaugural project of the UWC Project-Based Diploma, an alternative high school program for motivated students.

See a challenge in your community but not sure where to start? Thinking of exploring an idea?

About the Author

Kelly Lovell is the founder and CEO of ChangeGen. She is globally recognized for her expertise, particularly on engaging Millennials and Generation Z More