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Kylie Kuhns headshotKylie K., 16, Pennsylvania

At the age of six, Kylie was already a bone marrow donor. Her older sister, Kelsey, had been diagnosed with leukemia when she was just shy of five years old. After two and a half years of remission, her cancer unfortunately came back, and after another two years of fighting, the disease took Kelsey’s life. It was this experience that compelled Kylie to try and brighten the lives of the children battling cancer. “I saw a need to embody my sister’s strength and show my community that love can overcome hate in terrible situations.” She founded Kelsey’s Dream, with the organization’s main initiative being Hopper the Cancer Crusher, a soft, fluffy green frog that comes equipped with a chemotherapy port. Kylie worked with a toy manufacturer to design the toy, and it’s meant to take some of the fear away when doctors are demonstrating how chemotherapy works to their patients. It also provides the children with a cute friend to occupy them during treatment. With the development of Hopper, Kylie hopes a national community will join her in her mission to brighten the lives of these brave kids.

I saw a need to embody my sister’s strength and show my community that love can overcome hate in terrible situations.

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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.