When Imani Henry was younger, she struggled with reading. She was eventually diagnosed with a birth-defect that made it hard for her to see and caused severe pain, contributing to her difficulties with reading. Following the diagnosis, she started to receive additional support from male mentors and soon became an avid reader. After this experience, Imani decided she wanted to give back.
At 9 years-old, Imani organized 100 Men Reading, a group of professional businessmen who mentor young people through reading. 100 Men Reading also aims to address the injustice of the lack of resources and literacy programs in low-income areas, which Imani learned can directly lead to higher rates of incarceration and unemployment for the young people growing up there. Already, these men service schools and children throughout Delaware and Imani has been recognized by the governor of Delaware for her work. And Imani is not done yet, hoping to expand her work to the national level in the near future.
“I was once a child who struggled with reading difficulties and when I received the help and love of caring educators, volunteers and mentors, it changed my world; now I want to give back to what was given to me.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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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