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Jessica Collins headshotJessica C., 14, Kentucky

Jessica was inspired by the 2009 movie the Blind Side to find someone that didn’t have a bed and help them. “Have you ever spent the night at a friend’s house and slept with several on one bed or on the floor?” She asks. “As most of us have, we know that it is not very comfortable, and you are tired the next day.” She asks people to imagine sleeping like that every night, and then imagine being held to the same performance standards as kids who get the recommended 8-9 hours of sleep in their own bed. It started with just asking her school for a list of kids without beds, and now she has provided over 355 children with new beds. She’s given them something to call their own, and Jessica is pleased to see their self-esteem, attitudes, and grades all improve, and even more so to see some of the kids she’s helped go on to help others. She hopes that “this goes to show that anyone, someone from Hollywood or someone from Shelbyville, Kentucky, of any age, 9 or 109, can find their passion and act on it.”

Have you ever spent the night at a friend’s house and slept with several on one bed or on the floor? As most of us have, we know that it is not very comfortable, and you are tired the next day.


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2015 peace first prize winners


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 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 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 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.


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.