7 Kids Who Started Nonprofits

1. One day, 5-year-old Hannah Taylor saw a homeless man eating out of a garbage can in her hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. She didn’t know why and wanted to help the man and those like him. She started The Ladybug Foundation to help find shelter, safety and food for the homeless. Hannah, now 18, has raised more than $3 million for Canada’s homeless and has even started another charity, The Ladybug Foundation Education Program, which encourages school children to make a difference.

2. Alex Scott received a neuroblastoma diagnosis at age 4. To fight back, she created Alex’s Lemonade Stand to raise money for children’s cancers. Once a year, she set up a stand in her front yard. Word spread and others started making their own Alex’s Lemonade stands. Shortly before young Alex died at the age of 8, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation raised $1 million. The foundation is still going  strong today.

3. Craig Kielburger was 12 when he saw the story of boy his age who had been murdered for speaking up about human rights and slavery in Pakistan. From that moment, he knew he needed to help. Craig, along with his older brother and several classmates, decided to speak out against child slavery. They established Free the Children to bring an end to child slavery. After realizing freeing children from slavery was not the only problem, Craig began Adopt a Village, a program that gives the village the tools needed to empower themselves out of poverty.


4. Leanne Joyce has a congenital heart problem.  Back in 2010 while waiting for her test results, she was given a gift by two of the hospital volunteers. The joy of receiving the gift made her forget about being in the hospital. Seeing that others care, Leanne wanted to give back to other children in hospitals to help them be happy too so Leanne established Positive Impact for Kids. Since then she has brought joy to hundreds of children. She has goals to make the stays of children and teens in the hospital better by raising money for iPads to keep them socially and educationally engaged.

5. Austin Gutwein created Hoops of Hope after seeing how children whose parents died of AIDS were suffering. On World AIDS Day in 2004 he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the number of children losing their parents to AIDS. Austin raised almost $3,000 for World Vision to help 8 of those children. To date, Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5 million to  help children get food, clothing, schooling and more. Parts of the money also goes to help buy mosquito nets, clean water and more to children in Malawi. This year they are working toward their goal of building 15 new dormitories for children as the current ones are overflowing with children that live too far away from the schools.

6. Jonas Corona created Love in the Mirror at age 6 after volunteering to feed the homeless in the LA area. He noticed that there were many children who were in line for food in clothes that did not fit them. All he wanted was to make these children happy and healthy. He started Love in the Mirror to provided families in need with the necessities of life.


7. Who run the world? Girls! Shannon McNamara launched Shannon’s After-School Reading Exchange in 2008, when she was 15 years old. While planning a mission trip to Africa, Shannon learned that many girls were not able to access education. Shannon, along with neighbors, friends and family gathered books and supplies to give to the girls of Africa. Since then SHARE has helped build school libraries and created scholarships in Tanzania. Recently they launched a Keep Girls Safe Initiative.



About the Authors: Ashley Angeline and Sarah Nylen are interns with the Daily Do Good. Sarah, an American University junior, dreams of lazy beach days in her coastal Massachusetts hometown, while striving to be a marketing major for a socially responsible company in DC. A communications student at the University of Cincinnati, Ashley aspires to be a broadcast journalist. And to marry Prince Harry.


Aunt Flo Went to the London Marathon

Blogger, marathoner and musician Kiran Gandhi made headlines recently for her choice to "free bleed," i.e. use no feminine hygiene product, while running the London Marathon on her period. 


How to describe my first reaction? Well, it went something like this: 


Gandhi has been quoted by various sources as saying that her goal was twofold: To break the stigma against menstruation and "for sisters who don’t have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn’t exist."

Indeed, poor women in third world countries, and in our own country, are forced to use dirty rags, leaves, or other materials to stanch the menstrual flow. This can lead to urogenital infection and reproductive issues, and can have an effect on maternal mortality. 

Young girls are missing school during their menses because they don't have sanitary napkins, and are too embarrassed to attend class.

And think about how much money you spend on your period each month. Are you buying tampons, liners, pads? Maybe Midol or some other over-the-counter drug to alleviate cramps? For homeless women or women living in poverty, those items are a luxury, sometimes an untenable one. 

But neither Gandhi's blog, nor any of the many, many articles I've read about her free-bleed run, provided any sort of information about how to actually help with the very real problem that many women don't have access to proper feminine hygiene supplies. 

Noble though Gandhi's intentions might have been, there are more effective (and let's be honest, less sensationalistic) solutions: 

1) Start a tampon/pad/Midol drive at your school, office, place of worship, etc. to provide homeless women, or women in third world countries, with the necessary. Donate through an organization or create care packages and distribute them directly to women you see on the street. (Sure, include candy. Or chocolate.)

2) Check out No Taboo, Period, an organization started by University of Maryland students to promote awareness about the need for access to sanitary products. According to the group's Facebook page, they donate feminine hygiene products to the ladies at N Street Village

3) Contact organizations like Calvary Women's Services, Miriam's Kitchen or A Wider Circle and ask if they collect menstrual products. If not, work with them to spearhead that effort.

4) Offer to give "period education" sessions to pre-pubescent girls at places like Community of Hope, Girls Inc, or Girls on the Run. If you are going to do this, however, please make sure you've educated yourself in order to give accurate information. I used to be, essentially, a sex ed peer counselor, and yes, I got questions like "does using a tampon mean I'm not a virgin?" and "can I get pregnant from using a tampon?" 

In an interview with Cosmo, Gandhi she didn't know if it was safe to run with a tampon in or if she would hurt herself. I'm not a runner. Long-distance ladies, any insights? 

5) Just act like having a period is a normal thing, because it is. If you feel like crap and have to miss work or ditch plans, say "I have cramps," not "I have a headache." Ask a female coworker, "Hey, do you have a tampon?" in the same tone as you'd ask, "Hey, do you have an aspirin?" 

6) Donate to an organization like Afripads, which not only provides reusable menstrual kits to girls in Africa, but provides employment opportunities for women.


About the Author: Holly Leber is the editorial director at the Daily Do Good. She will never run a marathon. She tries to keep a spare tampon in her bag in case there's a fellow woman in need. 



Summer Vacation at N Street Village

Annabel Simpson and Devon Fore spent the summer of 2015 as interns at N Street Village. Annabel is a political science and sociology major at Baylor University. Devon is peace building and development major at Eastern Mennonite University.

Working at N Street Village, specifically in Bethany Women’s Day Center, has grounded the significant difference in meaning between “homeless people” and “people who experience homelessness” into our minds, hearts, and souls. Working with, and getting to know the women made it impossible to see them as their current housing situations, as people in the larger everyday society often do. People are complex, they demonstrate many characteristics, carry diverse stories, have many fears, hopes, and goals. No one is just one thing and the way that this became evident through our time at Bethany’s was both awe inspiring and heart breaking. How in the world do we as people just overlook the complexities that come along with being a human being? Maybe because it is easier than taking the time to understand people’s diverse narratives.

It has been hard for us as well.

While hearing stories of trauma and resilience is taxing, it is also enlightening, the stories allow us to remove the labels that we place on people and learn about their whole being. Miss C isn’t a homeless woman; she is a (seamstress) and a wife for 60 years this upcoming September. Miss D isn’t just living in a shelter; she is a radiant soul who works hard and will soon be a nurse. The ability to overlook what is on the outside or what appears to be on the outside is a gift that N Street gave us and that we will continue to use in our everyday lives.

 One specific attribute of the stigma of homelessness  that we have seen and hope to conquer is the lack of dignity these women often experience. For example, people often donate clothes for the homeless/low income community,which is great. But the condition that they are received in does not always reflect the condition that the women deserve. After hearing these women’s stories, it is apparent that one’s financial success is not completely a factor of merit, ambition, or tenacity, but is severely affected by the circumstances one is born into and the opportunities they are given, not just the ones they make for themselves. To want to separate yourself from individuals who experience homelessness and poverty is a very human thing to do. No one wants to relate to this group, because if there is common ground between us, then what is to stop this from happening to me as well? However, acknowledging this vulnerability isn’t a weakness, but a strength and serves as a connection to bring more respect and love to those who are in need. The woman who goes to nursing school and then sleeps at a shelter is no less worthy of the same dignity and respect than the CEO passing her by on the way to work. These women don’t deserve torn and stained sweatshirts any more than the staff at Bethany Women’s Center does.

 We will be forever grateful for the women we met, the lessons we learned, and the experiences that we had at N Street. There is no simple or concise way to write about the impact that this experience had on our lives and it is hard to imagine we won’t be benefitting from these women’s teachings years from now. If we want people to take one thing away from this piece it is that people are people. We all have fears, needs, and vulnerabilities and we hope that we can all learn to keep this in mind when we are judging someone as inherently different or less than us.


Congratulations, Calvary!

To our friends at Calvary Women's Services

Congratulations on the recognition of your dinner program chef, Barbara Dodson, by Women Chefs and Restauranteurs! Receiving the Community Service Award for making a contribution to the lives of others is a fantastic achievement. 

Barbara, we LOVE that you're a graduate of DC Central Kitchen as well! It's amazing to see two great area organizations benefitting each other. Keep up the good work!

Do Good, Feel Good! 

Your friends at DDG


"Literacy and Education are the Keys to the Kingdom"

Did you know:

·      Girls are two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population?
·      In the developing world, 42 percent of girls are not enrolled in school?
·      Award-winning actress/producer/director Octavia Spencer admitted she still gets nervous talking in front of a crowd?

*record scratch*

Octavia Spencer?

Believe it or not, these seemingly disparate factoids came together at the Library of Congress on March 26 at an event to honor Room to Read. Room to Read is an international network of more than 50 chapters raising funds to support literacy and girls’ education in Africa and Southeast Asia. The group received the 2014 Rubenstein Prize from the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book for “outstanding and measurable contributions to increasing literacy.”

The packed house at the Thursday evening event included a strong contingent from event partner The Junior League of Washington sporting name tags bearing the titles of their favorite books. After networking over drinks and hors d’oeuvres, attendees streamed into the Coolidge Auditorium to hear keynote speaker Octavia Spencer.

Ms. Spencer brought far-flung educational challenges closer to home by speaking about her own struggles growing up dyslexic in a low-income, single parent household. Her teachers saw her potential and worked hand-in-hand with her mother to provide the support and encouragement she needed to get through school and succeed. “I am your walking billboard,” she said. “Literacy and education are the keys to the kingdom.”

A highlight of Ms. Spencer’s presentation came during the Q & A portion, when an audience member asked how to raise awareness about literacy in the face of more pressing problems like terrorism, war and weak economies. “These issues go hand in hand with literacy,” Ms. Spencer replied. “When young people understand that they have a future and can read the written word,” they can resist the hopelessness and extremist indoctrination that destroy communities. The audience responded with enthusiastic applause.

Craig Herb, head of the DC Chapter, spoke next, demonstrating the organization’s motto—“World change starts with educated children”—through stories such as that of Tay Thi from Vietnam. Her family wanted her to quit school and go to work, but with financial help and mentoring from Room to Read, she stayed in school and went to college. She is now a teacher, the highest paid member of her family, and a catalyst for literacy and opportunity in her community.


After hearing inspiring stories of transformation, attendees gathered in the opulent Great Hall for more refreshments and an opportunity to talk to Room to Read volunteers about how to get involved. Even children can help. Through Students Helping Students, schools, youth groups and universities raise funds for Room to Read, which then works with indigenous authors and artists to create books in-country based on the cultural traditions of the children who will be reading them. While stories and environments may differ, one thing remains the same: children around the world relate to, and want to help, one another.

About the Author: Tara Campbell is a crossover sci-fi writer living in Washington, DC. She volunteers her time for literacy organizations such as 826DC and the Books Alive! Washington Writers Conference. Follow her on Twitter at @TaraCampbellCom.

Cupcakes and Condoms: A Sweet Afternoon

You don’t often find red velvet cupcakes and contraceptives on the same table, but at the Napoleon Bistro on March 7, The Red Pump Project proved that sweets and safe sex talk make a perfect pairing.

Cupcakes and Condoms is “a sweet afternoon of desserts and girl talk about sexual health,” said DC ambassador and event organizer Brittani Menina. “A lot of African American women, once diagnosed (with HIV), are not going for treatment or care.”

The Red Pump Project hopes to reduce stigma and promote education so women affected by HIV and AIDS can seek the help they need.

 Cupcakes and Condoms, unlike other Red Pump events, is a woman-only forum to encourage frank discussion about the questions and challenges women face regarding sexual health. The panel, which featured four health advocates and HIV researchers, addressed a range of topics from HIV transmission misconceptions to masturbation in a lively exchange.

“With everything else, we protect our kids,” sexual health researcher Candace Sibley pointed out. “They don’t ride a bike without a helmet. But when it comes to sex, they’re bombarded.”

“Girls think, ‘[HIV is] all around me, so at some point, I’ll get it,” added Jennifer Sinkfield, an HIV researcher at Children’s National Medical Center. She believes this desensitization may lead young women to be lax about safe sex because they don’t trust condoms to protect them.

A Cupcakes and Condoms attendee, also named Jennifer, was gratified to learn how to broach “The Talk” with her three daughters, who range in age from 5 to 16. “I want to have information to give to her so she doesn’t get an STI or HIV,” she said.

Cupcakes and Condoms attendees also got the chance to explore a lesser-known safe sex option. This happens to be Brittani’s favorite part of the afternoon.

“Most people don’t know how to use [female condoms],” she said with a sly smile. “You get a lot of faces.”

You get a lot of laughter, too, as it turns out. After demonstrator Bria Hamlet unfurled the condom, she produced a plastic vulva model to a chorus of cheers. After answering crowd questions (no, the condom won’t slip out; yes, it’s just as sturdy as the male version), she passed samples around so women could practice applying them on their hands.

It’s a racier version of a common sleepover trope, and many women were laughing as they poked the latex into place. With the scheduled events concluded, guests broke off into groups to talk or sought out panelists for additional questions.

Missed the festivities? The Red Pump Project now has ambassadors fundraising and leading events in five cities. March 10th is National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day, and the organization urges people to #RocktheRedPump with feisty red footwear and conversation with partners about how to keep things sexy and safe.

About the Author: Jessica Sillers is a Washington, DC-based writer. She has volunteered as a teacher's assistant in Faridabad, India, and on a farm in Ireland. Contact her at jessicasillers@dcfreelancewriter.com