1. ages 8-12
  2. ages 13-17
  3. ages 18-22

Anna S., South Carolina, age 10: Encourages parents to use alternatives to harsh punishments for their children and to discipline them in ways they can learn from.

 

Avery O., Indiana, age 8:  Changed her school's annual canned food drive into an all-year-long donation collection for her neighborhood Community Center.

 

Caragan O., Wisconsin, age 12: Created Bright Young Dyslexics to raise funds for intensive and costly phonics-based tutoring and assistive technology for K-12 dyslexic students and to promote dyslexia awareness.

 

Clare V., Iowa, age 9:  Changes the world by building friendships and making her community a better place through her organization Clare Cares.

 

Danika G., South Dakota, age 12: Reaches out to student peers to share that through kindness, respect and responsibility, everyone has the ability to make the world a better place.

 

Ewan D., Michigan, age 8: Founded Super Ewan Inc., which focuses on bringing hope and help to the homeless in Detroit, MI.

 

Gerry O., California, age 12: Educates young children, promotes and raises awareness of safety issues and provides fun opportunities to support greater well-being through visual media.

 

Grace C., Maryland, age 10: Founded the We Cancerve Movement that creates giving opportunities and brings happiness to homeless, sick and foster children.

 

Grace D., California, 10: The 9 Small Acts of Kindness campaign offers students one volunteer opportunity at recess per month so students can learn to change the world through small acts of kindness and service.

 

Hanna M., Pennsylvania, age 12:  Works to bring about bullying awareness and to promote kind treatment of others.

 

Jordan R., Pennsylvania, age 11: Created Penguin Packs to help kids with food insecurity by providing food for them over the weekend--so they can stay healthy, have fun and be ready to learn again come Monday.

 

Maxwell S., Massachusetts, age 11: Co-founded Catching Joy, Inc. to promote compassion, acts of kindness and volunteerism beginning with young children and their families, including hands-on activities that let kids feel the joy of giving.

 

Rachel R., Kentucky, age 11: Works to build an ADA-accessible playground where all kids can play together.

 

Will L., Texas, age 11: Started FROGs (Friends Reaching Our Goals) to inspire and mobilize youth to take action in communities and make positive change.

 

Zach M., Louisiana, age 10: Created Zach's Lidz for Kidz to spread love, hope, and smiles to kids who are battling childhood illnesses.

 

Zayd A., District of Columbia, age 12: Raises awareness of the injustices involved in the clothing industry and works to change those conditions one t-shirt at a time.

Alexa B., Pennsylvania, age 17: Works with multicultural students who deal with everyday racism issues in a primarily white school district.

 

Anthony V., New York, age 17: Creates peer-to-peer mentoring programs to prevent violence in New York City schools.

 

Brittany A., Hawaii, age 17: Works to feed the hungry, promote literacy, and provide mentorship to youth in low-income housing complexes and homeless shelters.

 

Divya P., California, age 17: Strives to prevent domestic violence (and violence in teen dating) and new uses of technology and social media.

 

Elijah E., Louisiana, age 17: Founded No Use For Abuse, which empowers foster children and child abuse victims, and educates the community about child abuse prevention.

 

Flea S., New York, age 15: Strives to create a sense of connection and solidarity between LGBTQ rights, gender-based rights and anti-racism.

 

Jack D., Alabama, age 16: Founded Food4KidsUSA Alabama, which raises awareness of high food insecurity percentages in local elementary schools and works with local businesses and civic organizations to further support food security.

 

Jennifer C., New York, age 17: Created a space for scientific engagement and supported elementary school students on several science experiments.

 

Jino M., California, age 14: Works to establish disability rights for safe and inclusive school education.

 

Jose A., California, age 17: Creates an environment where students, staff and parents take an active role in coming together to create safe and inclusive school campuses.

 

Josh S., Georgia, age 16: Founded Technocademy that helps seniors and veterans nationwide reconnect with family and friends through the use of technology.

 

Joshua W., Florida, age 13: Created Joshua’s Heart, which helps those in need while also encouraging other youth of all backgrounds to use their passions to make a difference.

 

Kajmere H., Washington, age 15: Empowers youth to stand up against bullying, to learn to love themselves and become active in the community.

 

Kathryn C., Alaska, age 17: Provides peer-to-peer youth suicide prevention outreach.

 

Katie C., Massachusetts, age 16: Founded Project Next Generation to foster personal growth and success in youth by creating engaged and informed citizens through inspiring workshops and volunteer events for middle school students.

 

Kiran S., California, age 17:  Started Waste No Food to counteract food waste, solve logistical challenges around food and mitigate hunger.

 

Lindsay A., Idaho, age 17: Promotes self-confidence in domestic violence victims.

 

Lulu C., California, age 15: Created LemonAID Warriors, whichengages the next generation of leaders to create social change by integrating service into daily life.

 

Meena S., Maryland, age 17: Aims to stop human trafficking in her community through efforts that increase awareness and promote safety.

 

Megan W., Alaska, age 17: Shares the Native Alaskan culture and political reality so non-Natives have a greater respect and appreciation for a different viewpoint.

 

Mira S., Virginia, age 16: Started PLATES (Providing Long-term Aid To Every Student) to provide weekly meals to impoverished children during the summer months.

 

My'Kah K., Nebraska, age 13: Created Boxes of Love to make a difference in the lives of children who have faced disaster, loss or hurt in their lives due to circumstances out of their control.

 

Nia K., Virginia, age 16: Engages students at Charlottesville High School and the local Juvenile Detention Center through an interactive art project.

 

Reshini P., Virginia, age 16: Started X-Out-Homelessness to raise awareness and funds for the homeless on a local and national level through assemblies, contests, conferences, coding programs, fundraisers and more.

 

Ryan T., California, age 15: Combats gang violence, low graduation rates and juvenile incarceration by providing interactive, fun, educational programs that teach youth literacy, working together and educational skills.

 

Samantha P., Connecticut, age 17: Created SHIFT Scoliosis to eliminate the challenges of complex spinal conditions through education, anti-stigma campaigns and connections to medical care while giving youth the opportunity to take active leadership roles.

 

Sejal M., Virginia, age 16: Enables individuals in The Elevator Project to rise out of poverty through vocational training, apprenticeship opportunities and a mentor program fostering a pay-it-forward approach.

 

Stanley  C., Louisiana, age 15: Utilizes non-formal hands-on education in the WeTeachSTEM Family, Schools & Community Partnership Project to address community needs and develop sustainable changes that positively affect the next generation of children and their influence on the community.

 

Stephanie Q., Maryland, age 16: Started Chicos and Kids for kids to support each other by sharing knowledge and culture, and sparking creativity in young minds to make a difference.

 

Tyler B., Connecticut, age 17:  Connects children affected by domestic violence with positive male role-models to demonstrate that violence isn't an inherent male characteristic.

 

Tyler J., Massachusetts, age 17: Works to promote healthy relationships, prevent teen dating violence and challenge societal norms through Start Strong Boston.

 

William H., Maine, age 17: Strives for awareness of LGBTQ issues in schools and communities in rural Maine.

 

Xiuhtezcatl M., Colorado, age 14:  Started Generation RYSE (Rising Youth for a Sustainable Earth) to train youth to become climate leaders engaged in their communities, not followers.

 

Zach B., Florida, age 17:  Serves underprivileged youth across the world through awareness events and distributing supplies to the homeless.

Adan G., Texas, age 22: Adan’s City-Wide Luggage drive affords students proper luggage to support  their educational dreams.

 

Adele T., Georgia age 19: Adele’s Literacy Library works to promote reading as the key ingredient to success, as she believes all things are possible through reading.

 

Alexis W., Pennsylvania, age 19: Created Seeds of Hope to aid veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

Amelia F., Virginia, age 22: Founded The Student Language Exchange, which equips the next generation of global leaders with the cultural and linguistic tools need to be collaborative change agents.

 

Archer H., Texas, age 18: Works to promote awareness regarding individuals in wheelchairs at Austin High School and fundraises to provide schools with proper support systems.

 

Benjamin R., Virginia, age 20:Reboot Reuse Rebuild collects and refurbishes computers so that they can be used by over 2,900 at-risk youth in the community.

 

Brandon H., Minnesota, age 21: Enza Academy empowers low-income high school youth of color by providing the necessary skills, resources and mentorship to develop entrepreneurial solutions to local and global challenges.

 

Brennan L., North Carolina, age 18: Founded QueerNC to provide a safe space for LGBTQ teens in isolated areas and connects, educates, and builds leadership skills in those youth.

 

Daquan O., Massachusetts, age 22: Started Recesspreneurs, whichprovides low-income youth with entrepreneurial education from college students to effectively empower two generations of entrepreneurs.

 

Donya N., District of Columbia, age 22: Created Watch.Her.Lead to raise awareness around the race gap among women in elected positions, as well as encourage and empower young women of color to think about running for office.

 

Fish S., Connecticut, age 19: The Teaching Peace Initiative trains and empowers  high school students across the country to teach nonviolence and conflict-resolution curricula in middle and elementary schools in their communities.

 

Hernan C., New York, age 22: Youth Justice Club exposes students to the juvenile justice system, and provides students with opportunities to engage with youth who have been (or are being) impacted by the justice system.

 

Irene G., Minnesota, age 22: Co-founded The Macalester Helping Open Peaceful College to increase  understanding in the Macalester College and St.Paul/Minneapolis communities of the post-conflict people around the world.

 

Jasmine B., Illinois, age 19: Combats bullying, hate, discrimination and low self-esteem by empowering  youth to use their voices and tell their stories to their schools and communities through Love GIRLS Magazine.

 

Joel J., California, age 19: Brings transgender rights to the public eye and educates people about LGBTQ issues.

 

Katelyn M., New York, age 21: Works to create a community on campus for first generation college students at Tufts University in order to foster connections and create support for a community that the institution fails to uphold.

 

Konner R., California, age 19: Started the Scholastic Gateway Fund, which distributes technology from local businesses and gives them to schools in the school district to enhance the education of underprivileged youth.

 

Kristina S., California, age 22: Project HEAL raises money for people with eating disorders who cannot afford treatment, promotes healthy body image and self-esteem and encourages all people to believe that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible.

 

Logan B., Kansas, age 19: Started Shoppin’ for Survivors to raise funds to assist victims of crimes and provide services to create healthier communities.

 

Luke S., California, age 19: Founded PressFriends to make writing and learning fun for elementary school students, empower every kids to become a socially responsible leader and mentor and creates friendships among youth from diverse backgrounds.

 

Maria Rose B., District of Columbia, age 19: Started Matching Excess And Need for Stability (MEANS), a nonprofit dedicated to improving food shelf communication and reduce food waste.

 

Mohamed K., New York, age 22: Uses his story as a former child soldier from Sierra Leone to inspire students here to create positive change in the world.

 

Molly E., Wisconsin, age 19: Awakens social consciousness regarding the implicit sexism that exists today and challenges structural and institutional barriers through student-led educational forums, art showcases and curriculum reform.

 

Nicholas C., Texas, age 18: Started Comfort and Joy, a nonprofit that assists the needy by donating coats to shelters, raising money to provide support and developing a healthy eating garden at a children’s home.

 

Qanani K., Oregon, age 21: Founded the Momentum Alliance to develop alliances, reduce isolation and prejudice, and create a dynamic regional network of young leaders.

 

Rachel M., North Carolina, age 19: Created Healthy Girls Save the World to promote healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy relationships for young girls grades six through eight in North Carolina.

 

Rima P., Texas, age 19: Works to meet the education and health needs of underprivileged children as president of Heart to Soul in Action.

 

Rohit G., Colorado, age 18: Founded RAW-Guidance, a nonprofit that provides free tutoring and educational apps in all school subjects to underserved individuals.

 

Samantha Y., Illinois, age 21: Works to change the way Chicago Public School students learn and experience life as the Executive Director of Supplies for Dreams.

 

Sharnice J., New Jersey, age 20: Started Success 1st to provide a forum for young adults to facilitate educational programs that encourage youth to be safe, smart, and successful in all that they do.

 

Thomas W., Indiana, age 18: Founded Power On, which collects donated technology, refurbishes it, loads it with resources and puts it in the hands of LGBTQ youth that are homeless or in rural and underprivileged communities.

 

Tim B., Indiana, age 18: Created Freedom Chairs to take in used and broken electric wheelchairs, refurbish them, and give them to people in need.

 

Vivian N., New York, age 22: Started Too Damn Young to provide resources for teens and young adults who have lost someone they love.

 

Yasmine A., District of Columbia, age 21: ScholarCHIPS provides college scholarships and a support network to children of incarcerated parents, while giving them a voice and opportunity to inspire others.

 

Zachary C., North Carolina, age 18: The Interactive Autism Network works to empower the lives of special needs children while educating and spreading awareness in schools across the country to put an end to bullying.

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2015 peace first prize winners

Brennan

brennan projectBrennan Lewis, 18, Apex, NC

Growing up a member of the LGBTQ community in North Carolina, Brennan saw firsthand the difficulties and feelings of isolation that LGBTQ youth can endure in a heteronormative environment. And while Brennan was very fortunate to have a loving support system in their family and friends, they saw others who weren’t as lucky. So with a strong sense of compassion, Brennan and a friend took action and courageously created QueerNC.

Grace

grace projectGrace Callwood, 10, Abingdon, MD

Grace is a cancer survivor who learned, through giving away clothing that didn’t fit her post-treatment, that anyone and everyone can help brighten the day of their neighbor. The girls who received Grace’s donation had just moved into a homeless housing complex and were thrilled to be getting new clothes for school. After hearing what a difference her donation made in their day, Grace wanted to help other children who were going through tough times.

Jasmine

jasmine projectJasmine Babers, 19, Rock Island, IL

After watching her best friend and sister endure bullying and witnessing the devastating effects that it can have on them, Jasmine decided it was time someone created an outlet to promote compassion and tolerance among young women.

Xiuhtezcatl

xiuhtezcatl project 2Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 15, Boulder, CO

Growing up, Xiuhtezcatl’s father emphasized his obligation to taking care of the land – a privilege and responsibility that, in a world ravaged by climate change, he does not take lightly. He has been on the front lines of the fight for the environment since he was four, attending and leading rallies and summits, always willing to confront adult leaders for the current climate crisis we see today.

Yasmine

yasminearringtonactionphototwoYasmine Arrington, 22, Washington D.C.

2.7 million young people in the US have an incarcerated parent, and statistics show that they are more likely to drop out of high school and go to jail themselves because of it. Yasmine is one of those 2.7 million; she has experienced firsthand the financial and emotional burdens, and the marginalization that a family goes through as a result. And through building a meaningful relationship with her incarcerated parent, by forgiving him, she was motivated to do something to support her peers and help them find their own peace of mind and end this cycle of incarceration.

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