She Did It First

Shelly Hedstrom

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“I taught advanced grammar and writing,” Hedstrom says, “but always wondered what happened to them after I helped them improve their English, always feeling like I could do more.”

Mae Jemison

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Mae Jemison was the first African American woman astronaut aboard the Endeavour shuttle. After her trip to space, she commented on how society should recognize the major contributions of women and members of minorities when they’re given the opportunities.

Dahlia Dumont

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In 2012, Dahlia Dumont--inspired by her Eastern European heritage and her years as an anthropology student and teacher in France and Senegal--created her project The Blue Dahlia. As the lead vocalist and songwriter, she melds an experience of musical exploration with multicultural influences, featuring lyrics in both French and English.

Ayanna Pressley

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Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman from Massachusetts to serve in Congress, is praised for the legacy she's leaving behind.

Gita Gopinath

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Gita Gopinath is the first woman to direct the IMF’s research department as she takes over from retiring Maurice Obstfeld at the end of 2018.

Marie Curie

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"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."

Naomi Osaka

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Despite squandering three match points at 5-3 in the second set, the Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, regrouped to beat Petra Kvitova in a dramatic Australian Open final.

Toni Harris

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According to CBS News, Harris did earn several scholarship offers to play college football in four-year programs. Following her stint as a high school football star, she will become one of the few women to play football on the collegiate level. For now, she's a defensive back for the East Los Angeles College Huskies and has yet to decide among her other athletic offers.

Marsai Martin

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If you haven't watched "Black-ish," you really should give it a try. Fraternal twin Diane, on the show, is a force to be reckoned with by everyone else on the show. One of her dad's co-workers is actually afraid of her. Marsai Martin plays Diane, and she steals every scene she's in. She's nailed her acting chops, now she's producing.

Noa Mintz

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Meet Noa Mintz not your average entrepreneur. She started her business, "Nannies by Noa", at age 12, which met booming success - landing her story on front page news and talk shows when she was only in high school. Her incredible entrepreneurial insights and girl boss attitude have only perpetuated her success. 

Emma Gonzalez

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"I'm speaking out against gun violence for selfish reasons," a March for Our Lives activist told attendees of the Unrig Summit in Nashville over the weekend. "I'm trying to protect me, my friends, my family." You might feel similarly — even if your friends and family are against gun control. If so, Emma González explained how to argue against the NRA to your relatives.

Naomi Wadler

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A year ago, 11-year-old Naomi Wadler became nationally known when she gave a speech at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington. Her goal was simple: She wanted Americans to know that black girls are victims of gun violence.

Greta Thunberg

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In this passionate call to action, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg explains why, in August 2018, she walked out of school and organized a strike to raise awareness of global warming, protesting outside the Swedish parliament and grabbing the world's attention.

Kylie Jenner

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At 21, Kylie Jenner has been named the youngest-ever, self-made billionaire by Forbes magazine. Forbes estimated that Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics is worth at least $900 million, and she owns it all. 

Sonita Alizadeh

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When Sonita was 14, her family walked hundreds of miles in the rain and snow to Iran to escape the Taliban. To support her family, she cleaned offices and bathrooms. Since she had no legal papers in Iran, she couldn’t go to school. But, she found an organization that provided basic education to young Afghans in the region. While there, she discovered a passion for writing and art and began experimenting with pop music.

Jazz Jennings

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Jazz Jennings is a teenager known for her LGBTQ rights activism. She was born male but accepted her female transgender identity at a very young age. She is one of the youngest publically documented transgender people. 

Alina Morse

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When she was only 7 years old, Alina Morse was incredibly ambitious — but she had one major problem. “I was tired of my parents saying ‘no,’” Morse told TODAY Food. “I thought, ‘Why can’t I make a healthy candy that’s good for my teeth so that my parents can’t say no to it?’” When she turned 9, Morse began “plant testing, research, and more plant testing” to turn her sweet dream into a reality. She spent many months experimenting in her kitchen and also watched different candy-making videos on YouTube. Now, at 13, she’s the CEO of a $6 million candy company that she cleverly named Zollipops.

Abby Kircher

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Abby Kircher started her first company when she was just 15 years old. By 2017, Abby's Better Nut Butter expanded significantly. Initially sold at farmer’s markets for a total of $4,000 in sales, the company had reached sales of $80,000.  Her line of six naturally-sweetened, uniquely flavored nut butter quadrupled through distribution in grocery store chains and independent retailers across the South, East Coast, and Midwest.

Sophie Cruz

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It’s a scary time right now for immigrants in the U.S., and nobody feels that more profoundly than 8-year-old Sophie Cruz, daughter of undocumented parents. You’ve probably already heard of her from when she made international headlines when she handed the Pope a heartbreaking letter entrenched in her fear of ICE. She was just five years old then. "Latina girls may just change the world".

Mari Copeny

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Eight-year-old Mari Copeny from Flint, Mich., sent President Obama a message. She told him about her activism on behalf of those affected by Flint's contaminated water and asked if he would meet with her and others from Flint when they came to Washington, D.C., for testimony by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at a congressional hearing, eight-year-old Mari.

Thando Hapo

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Vogue Portugal has made history by putting the first albino model on its cover, having established a new campaign to see more diversity within the magazine. South African Model, lawyer, and activist Thando Hopa posed as the fashion bible’s April cover shoot, the first woman with albinism to do so.

Haile Thomas

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When Haile Thomas’ father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the family knew they had to make a change. They eschewed processed foods and swapped heavy sauces for spices. In about a year, Thomas’ father had reversed his condition—and she wanted to tell the world.

BellA Tipping

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Bella Tipping had one bad experience at a hotel that she want to report on Trip Advisor, but 12, she was too young to do so. She did what she had to do at the time and created Kidzcationz to allow other kids like herself to write travel reviews aimed at kids, allowing them to rate hotel restaurants and attractions based on how well they support their needs. She hopes that one day all hotels will treat kids the same as adults.

MIKALIA ULMER

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"When I was just four, my family encouraged me to make a product for a Children's business competition (the Acton Children’s Business Fair) and Austin Lemonade Day. So I put on my thinking cap. I thought about some ideas. While I was thinking, two big events happened..."

Bana Al Abed

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Bana Alabed first became known to the world via Twitter in 2016: with the help of her English-speaking mother, the first tweet from an account attributed to her (@AlabedBana), simply read: I need peace. 
The account often shared photos and tales of destruction and death while asking for help. Bana has more than 350,000 followers on Twitter. 

Isabella Dymalovski

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Our youngest kid on the Cloud St block is Isabella Dymalovski who, at just eight years old, decided to make a natural skincare range for girls her age. Fast forwards seven years and the fifteen-year-old has stocked her line, Luv Ur Skin, in Priceline stores across the country - and she's set to take the brand worldwide.

Marley Dias

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Marley Dias, a 13-year-old girl who has collected more than 11,000 books that showcase black female lead characters, can now add another to the list, her own.

Biographies

Ayanna Pressley

Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman from Massachusetts to serve in Congress, attended her last official meeting as Boston city councilor on Wednesday.  Many are praising the legacy she's leaving behind from her soon-to-be former position.


"This woman is in it for the right reasons, and no truer words were ever spoken," Matt O'Malley of the Boston City Council said, according to Fox 25.


In 2009, Pressley was the first black woman elected to the Boston City Council which now seats six women of color. "It's not lost to be that paved the way for each and every one of us to be here," Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell said.


"Made a lot of sacrifices that most folks don't even know about."


Pressley introduced policies to help teen mothers graduate high school, and adopt city supports for domestic violence victims.


"I wanted to fight for girls," Pressley tearfully said. "Not be their voice, but to lift up their voices."


Now, Pressley is credited with comprehensive liquor license reform in the city.


"You have passed the baton," Edwards said. "Girl, we got this."

Gita Gopinath

The International Monetary Fund has appointed Gita Gopinath as its new chief economist. Gopinath is the first woman to direct the IMF’s research department as she takes over from retiring Maurice Obstfeld at the end of 2018. She takes this position leaving John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University.


The IMF, OECD and the World Bank all now have women in top economic positions. Gopinath’s research focuses on macroeconomics and international finance, including exchange rates, trade, capital flows, productivity, and debt.


Pushing forward Many of the IMF’s 189 member countries are grappling with such issues, as they devise policies to account for global volatility while addressing social division and polarization within their own borders. Gopinath has opposed received wisdom on several of these topics, such as the benefits of flexible exchange rates. In a direct challenge the IMF, which has traditionally supported the idea, she believes flexible rates are less important than a country’s exchange rate relative to the dollar.


Writing for the World Economic Forum in October 2014, Gopinath called on the IMF to tackle turbulence in global markets. “Rather than waiting for a crisis to erupt before intervening, the IMF should provide 'forward guidance' on how it will tackle potential disruptions in international financial markets,” she urged. Gopinath’s research has “tended to challenge conventional wisdom and push the collective thinking forward in a beneficial way”, Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, told Bloomberg.


“It remains to be seen whether the fund will be able to incorporate her thinking in a range of areas, including better coverage of the linkages between finance, market technical volatility, and spillovers for the real economy; enhancing early warning analyses; increasing the resilience to market instability of individual country programmes; and developing a wider toolkit for dealing with overshoots in capital flows, both feast and famine.”


“This will require open-mindedness, intellectual agility and a willingness to revisit some longstanding conventional wisdom.” 

'One of the world’s outstanding economists' While Gopinath was studying for her BA at the University of Delhi in 1991, India experienced a financing and currency crisis. She credits her country’s economic situation with inspiring her to pursue graduate work in economics, and for her particular interest in international finance. She holds MA degrees from both the Delhi School of Economics and the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from Princeton.


“Gita is one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience”, said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “All this makes her exceptionally well-placed to lead our research department at this important juncture.”

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw on November 7, 1867, the daughter of a secondary-school teacher. She received a general education in local schools and some scientific training from her father. She became involved in a students’ revolutionary organization and found it prudent to leave Warsaw, then in the part of Poland dominated by Russia, for Cracow, which at that time was under Austrian rule. 

In 1891, she went to Paris to continue her studies at the Sorbonne where she obtained Licenciateships in Physics and the Mathematical Sciences. She met Pierre Curie, Professor in the School of Physics in 1894 and in the following year they were married. Pierre and Marie Curie discovered the radioactive element polonium by isolating it from a mineral called pitchblende. Marie later discovered radium by the same methods. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 with Henri Becquerel. 

In 1914, Marie developed small, mobile x-ray units that could be used to detect bullets and shell splinters in the heads of wounded soldiers. She succeeded her husband as Head of the Physics Laboratory at the Sorbonne, gained her Doctor of Science degree in 1903, and following the tragic death of Pierre Curie in 1906, she took his place as Professor of General Physics in the Faculty of Sciences, the first time a woman had held this position. She was also appointed Director of the Curie Laboratory in the Radium Institute of the University of Paris, founded in 1914.

In 1919 one gram of radium, valued at $100,000, was presented to Mme. Curie as the gift of the people of the United States. In 1929 she received the money with which to purchase another gram of the precious substance, the presentation being made by President Hoover. 


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Naomi Osaka

Despite squandering three match points at 5-3 in the second set, the Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, on Saturday regrouped to beat Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 to win a dramatic Australian Open final. The tears flowed at the end of a high quality, see-saw final, in which she lost her way and then found it again.


 As Kvitova’s final forehand return flew wide, Osaka fell to her haunches, her head in her hands. 'I still feel very shocked,' Osaka said. Osaka beat Kvitova to win Australian Open and seal back-to-back slams becoming the world’s top-ranked athlete in women’s tennis. Japan's first-ever tennis player to become number 1 in the world.


Osaka won the Australian Open against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. “Definitely she is a great one,” two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova said of Osaka after the match, according to the Associated Press.


Osaka ascended to the top spot after winning two major championships. She won the US Open last September against runner-up Serena Williams, who has controversially docked a game for arguing with the chair umpire.


Osaka was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Haitian father. She moved to New York when she was three and currently lives in Florida, holding dual US-Japanese citizenship.

Toni Harris

The impossible can become reality when it's Super Bowl Sunday, but if you pay extra attention to this year's Super Bowl commercials, you'll learn of a story that may even exceed your expectations for the big game. A new Toyota ad that debuted on Jan. 29 stars a college student who aspires to be a pro football player, but unlike your typical school athletes, this up-and-coming star is a former homecoming queen currently playing defensive back. Who is Toni Harris? The East Los Angeles College student shares her dream to reach the NFL in Toyota's latest advertisement. (Watch It)  


Promoting Toyota's RAV4 Hybrid model, Harris first appears in the ad in workout clothes as she arrives at a track. The commercial's voiceover begins, "They've said a lot of things about Toni Harris. They said she was too small, they said she was too slow, too weak. They said she could never get to the next level, never inspire a new generation. Never get a football scholarship."


Do you all get where this is going?


The condescending comments play alongside a young girl appearing as Harris, using mascara as eye black, and playing football alongside bigger boys. The ad then cuts to footage of a grown Harris running along the track, lifting weights, and driving the Toyota car. As the list of "never" continues, Harris is also seen tackling another player in a football game, wearing full gear next to men, and leading a group of kids down the same road where her little counterpart played. The voiceover muses, "Yeah, people have made a lot of assumptions about Toni," and from the driver's seat of the RAV4, Harris says, "But I've never been a big fan of assumptions." 


The promo plays like one of these ads starring Olympic athletes that make you cry in an instant if they catch you on an emotional day. Even without knowing Harris' backstory, the commercial definitely reels in viewers' interest, so what exactly are her circumstances as a woman playing football?


According to CBS News, Harris did earn several scholarship offers to play college football in four-year programs. Following her stint as a high school football star, she will become one of the few women to play football on the collegiate level. For now, she's a defensive back for the East Los Angeles College Huskies and has yet to decide among her other athletic offers. This big step toward achieving her goal of being the first female NFL player comes after Harris faced obstacles in playing football as a child. She told CBS: 


"I love to prove people wrong … I was kicked off a team when I was younger because I was a girl. But once I got older and into high school... it still was hard but I just tried to pave my way through no matter what anybody said. It's my dream and I'm gonna protect it at any cost."


Kristen Perrone, Elite Daily

Marsai Martin

If you haven't watched "Black-ish," you really should give it a try. Fraternal twin Diane, on the show, is a force to be reckoned with by everyone else on the show. One of her dad's co-workers is actually afraid of her. Marsai Martin plays Diane, and she steals every scene she's in. She's nailed her acting chops, now she's producing. Martin, at the ripe old age of 14 is on a mission to change the industry. "I started to think about all those young little black girls that look like me [are] not really seen on TV a lot," she said. She is the face and co-founder (with a little help from her parents) of Genius Productions in Los Angeles. 


"That's the reason why I made this production company, so everyone could feel welcome," she said, "just to create more films for everyone that's very diverse and inclusive."

Not only is she up and running, but her first film "Little" also hits a theater near you next weekend. Martin said, "I thought it was shocking because I thought there were more kids doing what I'm doing, but being the first was crazy! And kind of inspiring." Here's what Martin is doing, she acts in the film and she is one of the executive producers, making her one of the youngest in Hollywood history!  "Little" is the story of a nightmarish boss (played by Regina Hall) who wakes up in the body of her teenage self (played by Martin).


Martin said she got the idea for the film from Tom Hank's movie, "Big." "I was like, what if we do this [from] a different perspective, a modern perspective, a different twist on it, and maybe have an all-black cast?" She came up with the idea when she was ten. Martin might be young, but she's been at it for a long time ("Basically all my life," she says), inspired by some of the greats like Beyoncé and Ray Charles. She started off doing commercials in her hometown of Plano, Texas, but when the family moved to Los Angeles she got her big break.


Her parents, Carol and Joshua Martin, insist that being a child star hasn't taken the "child" out of their daughter, particularly when she's with her little sister, Sydni. "I think that we just kind of let her know that this is what she does, but it's not who she is," said Carol. "Just to keep that separation. You know, she still has chores. She gets in trouble, like every other teenager." Her dad laughed.

  

As for any other moguls in the making, Marsai Martin offers this advice: "I know everyone says it, but just believe in yourself." Who is this kid? "It's a really a big thing. 'Cause it really all starts with you, you know? And speak your mind. And for the parents, just listen to your kids, 'cause they have, like, a different mindset. They have a whole new world that they're looking at."

Greta Thunberg

In this passionate call to action, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg explains why, in August 2018, she walked out of school and organized a strike to raise awareness of global warming, protesting outside the Swedish parliament and grabbing the world's attention. "The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions," Thunberg says. "All we have to do is to wake up and change." The result of her passion has inspired youth around the world as noted by them and through their actions to join her in saving the planet by taking it into their hands. Wake up, listen, take action and follow for your children's future and the future of our world.
TED TALK AUGUST 2018

Lovina, 15, and Delema Janvier, 17, Alberta, Canada: We strike for the Earth, to protect and save it from what the human race has done. As indigenous youths, we have a close connection to the Earth. We know that without it we have nothing, we are nothing. Our community is directly affected by the Cold Lake oil sands, which is a large deposit of tar sands.  

Harshini Dhara, 15, Hyderabad, India: There were no rains on our farm, so we couldn’t cultivate any crops. For as long as I can remember, I have heard climate change talked about at home. The phenomenon scares me and leaves my future uncertain. Many of our country’s rivers are snow-fed. Due to the melting of glaciers, the rivers of northern India will initially carry flood waters, but as their source of water continuously depletes, they will carry less water, and shortages may lead to conflict between people. 

Eyal Weintraub, 18, and Bruno Rodriguez, 18, Argentina: We organized a protest in front of the national congress in Buenos Aires. We saw a call to action circulating on social media, encouraging youth to stand up and fight against the indifference of governments and the criminal behavior of contaminating corporations. What we needed to do was clear. We decided to organize a protest in front of our national congress in Buenos Aires.

Vidit Baya, 17, Udaipur, India: We want global leaders to declare a climate emergency. In the winter of 2018, I went to march on the streets of Melbourne with a group of amazing, diverse people of all ages to urge the Australian government to take action against climate change. When I came back to India, I started an organization called 'No Borders' and wrote an article regarding climate change here in India that was quite popular among my schoolmates and teachers. Then there was no stopping us.

Kaisanan Ahuan, Puli City, Taiwan: Our traditional culture is deeply rooted in harmony with the spirit of nature. I am from the Central Taiwan Plains Indigenous People. As the indigenous people of Taiwan, we have a particular vulnerability to climate change. Our traditional culture is deeply rooted in the harmony we have with the spirit of nature. We face heartbreaking loss due to increasingly extreme weather events. We urge the Taiwanese government to implement mitigation measures and face up to the vulnerability of indigenous people, halt construction projects in the indigenous traditional realm, and recognize the legal status of Plains Indigenous People, in order to implement environmental protection as a bottom-up approach.


YOUTH SAVING THE PLANET

Kylie Jenner

At 21, Kylie Jenner has been named the youngest-ever, self-made billionaire by Forbes magazine. Forbes estimated that Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics is worth at least $900 million, and she owns it all. She hits the billion-dollar mark when you add in cash she has already pulled from the profitable business, the magazine said. Her achievement ousts Facebook's Zuckerberg he was 23 when he hit the billion dollar mark. 

Jenner told Forbes the milestone is a "nice pat on the back."  Detractors have wondered as the Jenner-Kardashian sibling climbed her way to a billionaire exactly what Forbes means by "self-made." Her family, after all, is rich and famous. Her mom, Kris Jenner, helped build her business. Forbes says as long as she didn't inherit a business or money, she's labeled self-made. Haters step back, she did it her way. #SelfMadeWoman

Sonita Alizadeh

Sonita Alizadeh was born in Afghanistan at a time when it was controlled by the Taliban. Daily life was dangerous, and her childhood was challenging. Sonita’s family tried to sell her at age 10 to a man who wanted to marry her. This is very common in some countries around the world. The arrangement fell through.


When Sonita was 14, her family walked hundreds of miles in the rain and snow to Iran to escape the Taliban. To support her family, she cleaned offices and bathrooms. Since she had no legal papers in Iran, she couldn’t go to school. But, she found an organization that provided basic education to young Afghans in the region. While there, she discovered a passion for writing and art and began experimenting with pop music.


After hearing an Iranian rapper on the radio, she wrote her first rap about child labor. Even though it was dangerous to speak out and illegal for a girl to rap alone, she could not remain silent.


One by one, she began to see her friends disappear from her classroom when they were forced to marry older men. At age 16, Sonita was again told she had to be sold into marriage because her family needed money to pay for her brother’s wife. In response, she wrote the rap song “Daughters for Sale” and, with help from a filmmaker who was recording her story, she made a music video and posted it to YouTube. It went viral. Rap music allowed Sonita to use her voice to tell her story and to explain the negative impact of child marriage.


“Daughters for Sale” was seen by a nonprofit organization in the U.S. that reached out to Sonita and helped her escape to Utah. Although she was safe from child marriage, she was not at peace. She continued to share her story and speak out about child marriage. Her message is reaching the highest levels of global leadership and many young people around the world who are joining her in the movement to end child marriage.

Shelly Hedstrom

“I taught advanced grammar and writing,” Hedstrom says, “but always wondered what happened to them after I helped them improve their English, always feeling like I could do more.”


During her years as a linguistics teacher in the Florida community college system, Shelly Hedstrom had the opportunity to teach English to a number of skilled immigrants from all over the globe. So, naturally, this was a thought that came to mind often. And years later, her thoughts became a reality.


One of Hedstrom’s students, a pupil from the Republic of Georgia with a Ph.D. in mathematics, informed her that she would not be pursuing a career after graduation. But Hedstrom was not willing to let the student abandon her lifelong passion, so she stepped up and began working one-on-one with the student to improve her language and interview skills. “We work[ed] on her writing for three months - I [taught] her how to maximize her engaging story so much that the readers won't focus on the fact that a, an and the don't exist in Georgian, nor in her essays in English,” Hedstrom shared.


Their months of grammatical struggles and writing tutorials more than paid off when the student not only passed the Florida licensing exam but went on to become a teacher of advanced mathematics at an inner-city magnet school. 


Hedstrom always knew she could do more for her students, so she did. In 2016, she founded her own company, OnWord Partner, whose sole purpose was to help skilled immigrants return to their careers in the U.S. “My inspiration was the hopes and dreams in the faces of countless immigrants who I had the honor of teaching in my years as a community college professor,” Hedstrom says.


In 2017, Jeff Gross joined her team as the business director. Gross, an expert on policy and program development regarding immigrants and refugees, brought his expansive knowledge of the integration process to the table. An added bonus which improved the sustainability of OnWord Partner. 


The company is the only organization in Massachusetts — and one of only a handful in the U.S. — that understands relicensing guidelines for foreign-trained professionals. According to Hedstrom, this is what makes OnWord Partner unique amongst other immigration services. “It focuses on the importance of giving skilled immigrants tools to take ownership of their careers in the U.S. rather than simply getting them jobs,” she says. 


OnWord Partner has served more than 150 immigrants and consistently seeks others who can use their service to find meaningful and fulfilling employment. In the future, OnWord Partner plans to expand their client base and business model, serving as consultants for corporations who recognize the benefits of hiring skilled immigrants. 


“Our greatest success story continues to be the immigrants, refugees, and asylees who achieve the dream of opportunity and productivity in this country,” Hedstrom says, “Clichéd, as it sounds, moving immigrants from low-skill, entry-level, minimum wage positions with no benefits to mid-level positions with full benefits, is our company’s success story.” 


Hedstrom touched the lives of numerous immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers on her journey to make a difference, one individual at a time. #WomanStrong #WomenMakeItHappen


Story by Abbey Finn and Samantha Herrmann



*Shelly Hedstrom currently works as an instructor in the CNA Program at JVS Boston, Case Manager and Career Coach at Bunker Hill Community College’s Welcome Back Center, Career Advisor and Community Services specialist at the LGBT Asylum Task Force, Career Support and Job Search Trainer at the African Bridge Network, Career Services Partner at the Tent Partnership for Refugees, Community Health and Advisor Trainer at Cambridge Health Alliance Community Health Advisor Program, and Vice President of KCDS - AIDS Family Fund.

Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison was the first African American woman astronaut aboard the Endeavour shuttle. She retired from NASA in 1993 and founded the Jemison Group, Inc. that focuses on several issues, such as improving healthcare in Africa and advancing technology in developing countries. Before that, she was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia, where she managed the health care delivery system for the Peace Corps and U.S. Embassy. She also developed curriculum and taught health training. 


She was working in Los Angeles as a general practitioner and attended graduate engineering classes until NASA selected her to be a part of the astronaut program.  In space, Jemison was a science mission specialist which meant that she conducted crew-related science experiments in space (such as experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness). After her trip to space, she commented on how society should recognize the major contributions of women and members of minorities when they’re given the opportunities. 

Dahlia Dumont

In 2012, Dahlia Dumont--inspired by her Eastern European heritage and her years as an anthropology student and teacher in France and Senegal--created her project The Blue Dahlia. As the lead vocalist and songwriter, she melds an experience of musical exploration with multicultural influences, featuring lyrics in both French and English. The Blue Dahlia produces a sound unlike any other with its worldly blend of instruments like French and Mexican accordions, and klezmer violins, rendering warm and joyous rhythms of reggae, ska, jazz, and French chanson.

“In my opinion, [The Blue Dahlia] doesn’t just mix it all together for the hell of it; it mixes it in the mindset of discovering exactly how they can mix together in a natural and beautiful and exciting way. Even though a lot of bands today are doing fusion music, this is definitely a unique little mix,” says Dumont.

For Dumont, performing as The Blue Dahlia is also a way to release emotional tension and express herself. Yet Dumont states that she sometimes finds herself repressing her own freedom to do so.

“The biggest struggle is within myself, letting myself do what is truly me and not making excuses for it and trying to mold what I do to be accepted and liked by others,” Dumont shares.

According to dahliadumont.com, The Blue Dahlia music “can be can be heard as an acoustic trio in the intimate bistros of New York and Paris,” but is also performed as a full electric band “in venues and festivals around the world.” This means that The Blue Dahlia is composed of varying band members that shift with availability and demand.

Today, Dahlia Dumont, mother of an 11-year-old daughter, lives between New York and Paris, with a different band in each city. Currently, Dumont and her bands are still reveling in the success of their newest album, La Tradition Américaine, asserting that it represents the essence of what The Blue Dahlia is about, the contemplative existence of the “American Tradition” as merely an extensive mix of cultures.

“The most beautiful part about it is the diversity,” Dumont explains.

Reported by Amogh Matthews, Written by Abbey Finn


CHECK HER OUT

Noa Mintz

Meet Noa Mintz - not your average entrepreneur. She started her business, "Nannies by Noa", at age 12, which met booming success - landing her story on front page news and talk shows when she was only in high school. Her incredible entrepreneurial insights and girl boss attitude have only perpetuated her success. 


Tell us about Nannies by Noa.


Nannies by Noa is a full-service New York City nanny placement agency committed to serving families in Manhattan and the tri-state area. What sets Nannies by Noa apart is our focus on each family's individual and unique preferences. At the same time, we listen carefully to the needs of our network of engaging, proactive, and reliable professionals, many of whom bring years of teaching, tutoring, counseling, or arts education experience with them. Since we pay close attention to both prospective employers and employees, we are able to provide personalized matches that benefit both parties. 


You have got to be one of the youngest entrepreneurs out there. How did others respond to your youth?


Actually, I was 12 when I started Nannies by Noa, I was still in middle school. My mom jokes that she thought I was up in my room doing homework when I was really researching how to start a business! She's actually right--I spent a lot of time online reading websites of all different kinds of companies, trying to reverse engineer how they built their strategies and made their decisions. I call that my business-school education. In some ways, my youth worked to my advantage at the very beginning. My clients were intrigued--moms knew that I really understood what they were looking for because I was a New York City kid myself and had great instincts about what kind of nanny would connect with their kids. But as the business grew, I found myself in some awkward, funny situations. For example, my first celebrity client was referred by a client who had neglected to mention my age. The star and I spoke on the phone many times about her placement; she never asked how old I was so I never brought it up. After I had successfully found her someone she loved, she asked if she could take me to lunch to thank me. I told her that I appreciated the invitation but didn't get out of school until 3 pm. At first, she thought I meant graduate school; she couldn't believe it when I told her I was still in 8th grade! 


What motivates you? 

I've always been an entrepreneurial person, from the time I was very young. There is something profoundly satisfying about taking a creative idea and turning it into a reality. With Nannies by Noa, I work very hard to satisfy the families who trust us to find the best caregiver for their kids; it's a huge responsibility that I take very seriously. I'm also deeply committed to working hard on behalf of our nannies. They rely on us to find them a happy and secure work environment; I take that responsibility to heart as well.

Profile - Next Gen, Enterprising Entrepreneurs

Emma Gonzalez

"I'm speaking out against gun violence for selfish reasons," a March for Our Lives activist told attendees of the Unrig Summit in Nashville over the weekend. "I'm trying to protect me, my friends, my family." You might feel similarly — even if your friends and family are against gun control. If so, Emma González explained how to argue against the NRA to your relatives.


It all comes down to knowing the talking points that the NRA uses and being able to refute them, González said. "A good guy with a gun would stop a bad guy with a gun," "guns don't kill people, people kill people," and "if a bad guy wants a gun that bad, he'll find a way to get one" were among the sayings she shared.


González said when these talking points are brought up, she counters them with "good old-fashioned common sense." She then gave a run-down of how to refute them when you're with your family — at Thanksgiving or whenever.


For the "good guy with a gun" argument, she asked why the bad guy even had a gun to start with. She also said that in real life, there's no "outline showing who the bad guy is," which can make the job of police harder. She also addressed the racial factor: When good black men with guns stop shootings, they are often mistaken to be the bad guy — and are even killed as a result. 


"And how do you know someone is actually a good guy?" González asked. "Sounds like you need background checks!" She pointed out that 97 percent of Americans support universal background checks. Putting on an announcer voice, she added, "Ladies and gentlemen, the NRA has been defeated by its own logic!"


González blamed the organization for the high levels of gun violence in the United States, and then said the organization has changed a lot since it first started. "Nowadays anyone who knew what the NRA was like when it first started would be blown away to see what it's become now." But González said many people have missed the shift because it was so gradual. 


González explained that her dad and grandfather joined the NRA when they moved to the United States from Cuba. But then the organization was focused on responsible gun ownership. Now, she said it gets "kickbacks" from gun manufacturers, "bankrolls" politicians it wants in power, and funds lobbyists.


"The NRA isn't fighting for your Second Amendment rights anymore," González said. "They're fighting to fill their wallets and get into the pockets of politicians everywhere." González also clarified that she's not criticizing individual members of the organization — just the leaders at the top. Bustle has reached out to the NRA for comment.

Naomi Wadler

A year ago, 11-year-old Naomi Wadler became nationally known when she gave a speech at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington. Her goal was simple: She wanted Americans to know that black girls are victims of gun violence. A year later, Naomi continues to spread the message, including through her debut Friday on social media. Getting on social media wasn’t always the plan.


Naomi talked to KidsPost recently about social media, that moment onstage — which was replayed online for millions — and what the past year has been like. The day of the rally is a blur. “I remember . . . somebody is introducing me and I was walking around seeing all those people. I was so scared,” she said. “And then I went to a restaurant with some other kids and had chicken tenders.” Naomi went home thinking nothing would come of her speech. She said it wasn’t until someone asked for her autograph on a napkin a few days later that it sank in: Her words had spoken to many people, including celebrities and other activists.


“I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news,” Naomi had said at the rally. The opportunity to stand on that stage — before a crowd that cheered enthusiastically — started with a quiet moment. After the February 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting, in which 17 people died, students across the country walked out of class and honored each victim with a moment of silence.


Naomi and a friend organized a walkout at their school, George Mason Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia. They dedicated an extra minute to honor Courtlin Arrington, a 17-year-old African American student who was shot at her Alabama school, three weeks after Parkland. Because the shooting wasn’t covered much by the national media, Naomi decided to speak out. She attended gun-violence forums hosted by local politicians and received media attention. March for Our Lives organizers noticed and asked her to speak.


Naomi is now 12 years old, a middle-schooler who sports cropped hair. She has traveled the country educating young people on gun violence. “A lot has changed, and we’ve opened up a lot of people’s eyes,” Naomi said. “I’m really excited that I have the opportunity to be able to share my beliefs and to be able to connect to people because not everybody has that. Overall, it’s just been invigorating.”


Joining social media, which she’s using to promote her new YouTube interview show “DiversiTEA With Naomi Wadler,” wasn’t an easy decision for Naomi or her mom, Julie Wadler. In December, Naomi told a crowd at a Smithsonian appearance that her mom was “against all social media.” The two “thought long and hard about it,” Julie Wadler said, before launching Twitter and Instagram accounts last week. 


“This past year has helped me really understand the importance of having a voice. Being a part of the March for Our Lives rally was a privilege, but I also see it as a responsibility,” Naomi said Friday by email. “I want to use that platform to uplift voices, stories, and ideas of girls of color, and in order to do that, it makes sense to have an online presence.”


But Naomi says other kids shouldn’t compare themselves to social media influencers to get a message across.

“I want kids to know that success looks like you,” Naomi said. “So that means you shouldn’t look to others for a definition of success.”


WashingtonPost

Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings is a teenager known for her LGBTQ rights activism. She was born male but accepted her female transgender identity at a very young age. She is one of the youngest publically documented transgender people. Jazz was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a gender identity disorder when she was four. Since then she has appeared on numerous talk shows and also features in a TLC reality show named ‘I Am Jazz’ that focuses on the family’s struggles of raising a transgender girl. She also co-wrote a book by the same name describing the struggles of being a transgender girl. She actively participates in LGBTQ rights events and works for several charity organizations.  

Jazz was born a male and named Jared. She was drawn to girly clothes and would be unhappy when dressed in boys’ clothes. Her parents thought it was a phase that would naturally pass but she started getting more feminine. On taking her to a specialist, Jazz was diagnosed with a gender identity disorder and was confirmed as a transgender. Her parents decided to bring her up as a girl and have faced many challenges. Jazz and her parents have appeared on television several times to share how tough her life is to grow up as a transgender. Her story has been screened on national television shows like ‘20/20’ and ‘The Rosie Show’, where she appeared with Chaz Bono who is a transgender man and a fellow LGBT activist. She has won numerous accolades for the courage she has shown over the years.  

Along with her parents, Jazz founded Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation in 2007. The foundation aims at assisting transgender youth. In 2011, a documentary on Jazz’s life and family called ‘I Am Jazz: A Family In Transition’ was first screened on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Network.’ In 2013, Jazz founded a company called Purple Rainbow Tails and fashions custom-designed silicone mermaid tails to raise money for transgender children. She also battled the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) to permit transgender children to play soccer.

In 2014, Jazz was a guest on the GLAAD Media Awards and was named one of ‘The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014’ by ‘Time.’ She was also named a Human Rights campaign Youth Ambassador and received the Youth Trailblazer Award from LogoTV. In March 2015, an announcement was made by Johnson & Johnson that Jazz would be appearing in their Clean & Clear commercials. She became a spokesmodel for Clean & Clear’s digital campaign and shared her experiences and struggles. She also modeled for a NOH8 campaign. NOH8 is a charitable organization that promotes LGBT rights and gender and human equality.


Jazz is extremely artistic and loves to paint. She also loves styling her hair differently when she has free time. She has a passion for playing soccer and plays for her school soccer team. She makes and sells silicone mermaid tails to raise funds for transgender children. Jazz likes spending time with her family and is grateful that she has found love and acceptance from them. She credits them with helping her discover who she truly is.
She feels glad to have influenced and saved lives at such a young age. She has also said that though some comments on her channel and pages are extremely venomous, it does not bring her down. She has openly talked about her wish to become a mother in the future. Apart from being a great spokesperson, Jazz is also good at writing. She has written and published a memoir named ‘Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen’ in 2016.

Alina Morse

When she was only 7 years old, Alina Morse was incredibly ambitious — but she had one major problem. “I was tired of my parents saying ‘no,’” Morse told TODAY Food. “I thought, ‘Why can’t I make a healthy candy that’s good for my teeth so that my parents can’t say no to it?’” When she turned 9, Morse began “plant testing, research, and more plant testing” to turn her sweet dream into a reality. She spent many months experimenting in her kitchen and also watched different candy-making videos on YouTube. Now, at 13, she’s the CEO of a $6 million candy company that she cleverly named Zollipops. The “z” comes from the calorie-free sugar substitute, xylitol (pronounced zy-li-tol), which is used in the lollipop base. 

The company, rooted in Morse’s hometown of Wolverine Lake, Michigan, produces the second best-selling lollipop on Amazon. The sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and non-GMO candy beats out classics like Tootsie Pops, Dum Dums and Charms Blow Pops. Morse also makes “Zolli Drops” and “Zaffi Taffy” in seven flavors, including peppermint and pineapple. According to its young founder, Zollipops is more than just a candy company. “We’re a specialty, functional candy. We’re not comparable to Dum Dums. Sure, we’re a candy, but we’re not Dum Dums!” she said, before joking, “Don’t be a dumdum, have a Zollipop!”


While overseeing her company and manufacturing what she's dubbed the world's first “healthy, sugar-free and functional candy” for big retailers like Whole Foods and Kroger, Morse still goes to middle school, dances and tries to enjoy a full night's sleep. “It’s definitely a balancing act,” the entrepreneur told TODAY. “I’ve learned to stick to a schedule ... or a rough outline of a schedule.” In the morning, Morse's dad, Tom Morse, once a consultant at Deloitte and now his daughter's manager, drives her to school. On the way, the duo talk about the business — like upcoming trade shows, a pending deal with ShopRite stores and new offerings like “Zolligrams,” a Valentine’s Day card made to hold Zollipops. She then goes to her classes, where most teachers reportedly embrace her moonlighting gig as a “great learning experience.” 


After school, she heads to dance practice, does homework and then meets with her seven employees —including her mom and designated “stylist and schedule organizer.” “And then I get up and do it all over again!” the teenager said. “It’s just the way I’m wired.” Besides running a multimillion-dollar business, Morse says that she’s just like anyone else her age. She just happened to find her passion for dental health, candy, and entrepreneurship early in life and was fortunate enough to have resources that enabled her to succeed with the help of her dental hygienist. 


The eighth-grader also realizes her potential to make a change in the business world, and not just the candy world. Zollipops donates 10 percent of its profits to One Million Smiles, an oral health education program focused on fighting the tooth decay epidemic. Morse also calls herself “an advocate for young women in business" and became the youngest person ever to appear on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine in 2018. She even met with former first lady Michelle Obama.


Morse is also pretty excited about starting high school soon, but she has her sights set on making Zollipops a household name. “I feel like I was born to do this. I just feel right at home,” she said. “I’m really, really blessed. It was originally just an idea that I didn’t think could happen.”

TODAY FOOD

Abby Kircher

Abby Kircher started her first company when she was just 15 years old. By 2017, Abby's Better Nut Butter expanded significantly. Initially sold at farmer’s markets for a total of $4,000 in sales, the company had reached sales of $80,000.  Her line of six naturally-sweetened, uniquely flavored nut butter quadrupled through distribution in grocery store chains and independent retailers across the South, East Coast, and Midwest. As it has grown, the Charlotte-based business has become a family affair, involving Kircher’s parents, brothers, and grandparents, all of whom are eager to help her turn her entrepreneurial dreams into reality.


Kircher created the concept for Abby’s Better Nut Butter right in her family home. While still in her early teens, she became passionate about health and fitness, conducting in-depth research on eating healthy. This lead to her experimentations in the kitchen, where she invented nut butters in such flavors as coconut cashew, bourbon maple walnut, and coffee almond. All products are completely natural and have clean labels.


“I definitely stumbled into my life purpose,” Kircher said. “I didn’t ever think that my passion for healthy eating would end up becoming my career. I always thought that my career might involve writing. But in the summer of 2015, I started making the nut butters and saw how much people loved the product. That made me happy. And that’s what keeps me passionate about my work and the path we’re on as a company.”Kircher emphasized that she never would have been able to achieve what she has as a businesswoman without her mother’s inspiration and support. “My mom encourages me to do what I’m passionate about and follow my dreams. I’ve always been independent, but my family’s support has helped guide me along the way,” she said. 


As the CEO of Abby’s Better Nut Butter, Kircher wears a variety of hats, handling everything from retail, manufacturing, research, and development, to calling businesses and much more. “I go to stores to demo the product every week. I also deliver the product to stores. Getting out there and meeting potential life-long customers is so important in building our brand. I also manufacture about three days a week, depending on the orders we’ve received. I work on social media. I take any business calls we have scheduled for the week. I order our jars, lids, and labels. It’s important to me that our marketing matches the mission of the company, so I try to find opportunities to talk about what we’re hoping to build with the company and share my story to hopefully inspire other young female entrepreneurs who have a dream,” Kircher explained.


MeiMei Fox is a New York Times bestselling author specializing in health, wellness and positive psychology. As a writer and life coach, she helps people align careers with their life purpose.

Sophie Cruz

It’s a scary time right now for immigrants in the U.S., and nobody feels that more profoundly than 8-year-old Sophie Cruz, daughter of undocumented parents. You’ve probably already heard of her from when she made international headlines when she handed the Pope a heartbreaking letter entrenched in her fear of ICE. She was just five years old then. "Latina girls may just change the world". 

It all started on September 23, 2015, when she made it past the barricades to get to Pope Francis. She was desperate to hand him a letter to beg for help for her undocumented parents. He stopped the parade to give her a blessing and a hug. They are why she was so desperate to make it past what the New York Times called “one of the largest mobilizations of security officers in American history.” 


They had all traveled from Los Angeles to see the pope with an immigration activist group called the Catholic Delegation for Reform. Security eventually stopped her but the Pope saw her run out from the crowd and invited her to come closer. Her courage and determination didn’t happen on a whim. She truly hoped to meet the Pope to ask for his help. “Pope Francis, I want to tell you that my heart is very sad because I’m scared that one day ICE is going to deport my parents.” 


The letter she eloquently shared with the Pope goes on to say, “I have a right to live with my parents. I have a right to be happy. My dad works very hard in a factory galvanizing metals. Immigrants like my dad feed this country. They, therefore, deserve to live with dignity, they deserve to be respected, they deserve immigration reform, because it would be beneficial to my country, and because they have earned it working very hard, picking oranges, onions, watermelons, spinach, lettuce, and many other vegetables.”


She also wrote: “Don’t forget about us the children, or about those who suffer because they’re not with their parents because of war, because of violence, because of hunger.”  The next day, the Pope brought up the issue with Congress. He had a joint meeting scheduled the next day with the United States Congress, and he took the opportunity to encourage more openness for immigrants and refugees. Five-year-old Sophie Cruz changed the Pope’s agenda.  

The following year, she was invited to speak at the Washington Women’s March. Beforehand, she spoke in front of five thousand immigrants, families and supporters in front of the Supreme Court. That said, her prominence has meant that she’s had to do a lot of this without her parents. She met with President Obama and Joe Biden. Her parents couldn’t pass background checks to enter the White House because of their status, so she went with documentary filmmaker Paola Mendoza.

When Cruz isn’t speaking into a microphone to advocate for immigrants, she’s subtly wearing mariposas on her meet-POTUS dress in homage to migrants. In October 2016, she submitted a question for the Presidential debate. The question read, “If you deport my parents, what happens to me? I am 6 years old and an American citizen. I have a 3-year-old sister who is also an American. My heart is very sad because I’m scared that ICE is going to deport my undocumented mommy and daddy.” The question was not aired. 

Define American named her “Activist of the Year” in 2018. It's tiring just to read this child's amazing determination and actions to get things done. Already a historical figure she's definitely one to watch for a much-needed change of immigration processes and the voice of women in this country and worldwide. 


LISTEN UP

MARI COPENY

Eight-year-old Mari Copeny from Flint, Mich., sent President Obama a message. She told him about her activism on behalf of those affected by Flint's contaminated water and asked if he would meet with her and others from Flint when they came to Washington, D.C., for testimony by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at a congressional hearing, eight-year-old Mari. 


"My mom said chances are you will be too busy with more important things, but there is a lot of people coming on these buses and even just a meeting from you or your wife would really lift people's spirits," she wrote. Her mom was correct, he didn't make it. But what President Obama did do, was write her back and thanked her, for writing to him. And that was the beginning of Mari Copeny's activism at age eight, she worked to save others. She has continued to use her voice to bring awareness to the families in her community who have been affected. 

She’s vocal on social media, tweeting at politicians when she disagrees with them, including the president, and making sure people are still talking about the Flint water crisis and its long-lasting effects on residents. Additionally, Mari worked with nonprofit Pack Your Back to distribute more than 10,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to students throughout Flint.

To date, she and the education nonprofit Pack Your Back have handed out more than 700,000 water bottles to local families. And Mari and her supporters have also organized an array of projects on behalf of her hometown’s underserved kids—including free screenings of Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time, bike giveaways, an anti-bullying campaign, and the distribution of 15,000 fully stocked backpacks to schoolchildren. 

Mari believes that the skills she’s developing as an activist and organizer will help prepare her for the presidency, which she plans to seek in 2044. “Obama was once a Black kid with a dream, and he was able to achieve it, so I can, too,” she says. “When I’m president, I’ll make sure I use my voice to speak for the people—especially kids.”

By the way, a month after receiving her letter, the president responded with one of his own, thanking Mari for her activism and telling her he’d visit Flint. For the occasion, Mari wore a purple little "Miss Flint" sash from a state beauty pageant. When she saw the president, she ran to him at full speed, and he lifted her up. As he set her down, she placed her hands firmly on her hips, looked him in the eye, and said, “You know, I wrote to you!” Mirroring her pose, he responded, “I know! That’s why I decided to come.”

THANDO HAPO

Vogue Portugal has made history by putting the first albino model on its cover, having established a new campaign to see more diversity within the magazine. South African Model, lawyer, and activist Thando Hopa posed as the fashion bible’s April cover shoot, the first woman with albinism to do so. With her eyes gently closed and her head tilted towards the sky, Hopa has made history on the coveted bible of woman's fashion mags, Vogue.

She is the highlight of Vogue Portugal’s “Africa Motherland” edition, an homage to Africa as the cradle of humanity, reads a tweet from the magazine’s Twitter account. The issue seeks to celebrate the full spectrum of African beauty and also features Sudanese model Alek Wek in an alternate cover of the April edition. The issue aimed to celebrate African skin and the beauty thereof, with Hopa taking to her Instagram page to state, “I once said to a close friend that it would really be lovely to see a woman with albinism on a Vogue Cover, I would not have imagined that woman would be me. “We are the ones we have been waiting for,” I’m emotional because I see progress and get to form part of a progressive story and narrative. I got to a place in my career where I appreciate every specimen of my body and knowing that wherever I go, my existence, the way it is, has always and will always be enough.


“Thank you for allowing me to make a footnote in history @vogueportugal… “ (sic).

The move has been applauded across social media, with comments such as, “@thandohopa You are changing the narrative of so many women all over the world #albinism #motherland #stories. We must learn to embrace the stories we are born into and change the narrative so that it doesn’t become 1 sided…” (sic). It might be a tough but worthwhile fight to see more black women on our timeline doing great things and being celebrated." With their latest cover, Vogue Magazine has started a new campaign to see more diverse black women also in the limelight.


Being the one to achieve this important first was “overwhelming” for Hopa. The South African model shared what this “footnote in history” meant on her Instagram. “I'm emotional because I see progress and get to form part of a progressive story and narrative,” Hopa wrote. “I got to a place in my career where I appreciate every specimen of my body and knowing that wherever I go, my existence, the way it is, has always and will always be enough.”


In her cover story, Hapo got candid about growing up with white skin in a “pigmented society” and how her albinism fueled her passion for activism. She also shut down the idea that inclusion in the fashion industry is just a fleeting “trend.” “I do not think that human bodies should ever be called “trends.” I have a serious problem with people who say albinism is a trend, or vitiligo is a trend. Or people who say ‘It is so cool to be black right now,’” Hopa said. “Human bodies are not disposable.”

The decision to celebrate African beauty comes amidst a recent campaign for the publication to start an international edition for Africa. In an interview with Reuters, supermodel Naomi Campbell, a contributing editor for British Vogue, expressed a need for Vogue’s presence in Africa: “There should be a Vogue Africa. We just had Vogue Arabia— it is the next progression. It has to be.”

Haile Thomas

When Haile Thomas’ father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the family knew they had to make a change. They eschewed processed foods and swapped heavy sauces for spices. In about a year, Thomas’ father had reversed his condition—and she wanted to tell the world.


She was just 10 years old.


Thomas brought her healthy-living message to the Partnership for a Healthier America and Clinton Foundation events, to media outlets, to the Food Network, and spoke about their success story. “Those years were very cool,” she tells Food & Wine, “but I wanted a one-on-one interaction that felt authentic. I wanted to make a difference in a more direct way.


So, at 12 years old, Haile Thomas, with the help and encouragement of her mom, launched Happy, a non-profit dedicated to teaching children good nutrition and the culinary arts in schools and summer camps, and within the year, through an online virtual learning system.

“I always received the message to be my own person—to be a leader and not a follower—and always be confident in asking questions no one else is asking,” Thomas says. “And that made me a lot more confident in sharing my voice and opinion—I felt more validated.” Case in point: when Thomas told her mom she wanted to take her healthy-living message from behind the podium to a more intimate setting, her mom didn’t dismiss her. Instead, she sat down with her daughter to help her brainstorm what would become Happy, Thomas says.


“My parents never really babied my ideas,” Thomas says. “I think a lot of parents might hear their kids say, ‘I want to teach other kids how to eat healthy,’ and  say, ‘Oh, ok, cute!’” Not Thomas’ parents. And with Happy, according to data gathered by the non-profit, 87 percent of the children the organization has reached have maintained healthier lifestyles.

“I learned so much from helping my dad,” Thomas says, “and I felt like the knowledge I had was a birthright to everyone. To know not everyone has this knowledge was disheartening, but so was seeing young people all across the world being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and heart disease and becoming obese—not just because of what these kids are eating but also because they don’t even have an awareness of how what they eat affects their bodies.” 


In her spare time, Thomas develops vegan recipes—which you can find on her blog. (She once cooked for Michelle Obama; her recipe for black bean and corn quinoa won a White House competition in 2012.) Thomas also runs a podcast dubbed, “Girl Empowered.”

Bella Tipping

Bella Tipping had one bad experience at a hotel that she want to report on Trip Advisor, but 12, she was too young to do so. She did what she had to do at the time and created Kidzcationz to allow other kids like herself to write travel reviews aimed at kids, allowing them to rate hotel restaurants and attractions based on how well they support their needs. She hopes that one day all hotels will treat kids the same as adults.


On this website, kids can log on, choose a venue and review, as well as observe and rate the destination. This allows people to book holiday stays through Expedia and contains images and past reviews from other members. "What I hope Kidzcationz.com will do is make hotels, restaurants and theme parks/attractions, more aware of the needs of kids because it's our holiday too!  I would like to see a change in the industry, so we can have a comfy bed, the hotel staff actually notice us and restaurants offer a better child's' meal selection or even offer the same meal as adults, but in a smaller size- at a kids' price."

Kidzcationz.com is not designed to take the place of sites like TripAdvisor, but to run alongside them.  So when adults are looking for a place to stay, they can look up that same hotel or restaurant or attraction on Kidzcationz.com and see what the kids think about it.


Tipping states that her goal is to work at the nonprofit Virgin Unite and fight for social change. She said that she wants to live in a world where everyone is included. Inspiring, that she has such a strong desire to help others. She has a strong ambition for the world a better place. This has been her drive as an entrepreneur. She was not afraid to try to solve the problem of low-quality hotels for kids. Although she is super talented, her willingness to take risks and innovate her business reveal key aspects of a successful entrepreneur. She is another great example of how young people can change the world.

MIKALIA ULMER

Let founder, Mikaila, explain the origin of Me & the Bees Lemonade:


When I was just four, my family encouraged me to make a product for a Children's business competition (the Acton Children’s Business Fair) and Austin Lemonade Day. So I put on my thinking cap. I thought about some ideas. While I was thinking, two big events happened.  

  • I got stung by a bee. Twice.  
  • Then my Great Granny Helen, who lives in Cameron, South Carolina, sent my family a 1940's cookbook, which included her special recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade.  


I didn't enjoy the bee stings at all. They scared me. But then something strange happened. I became fascinated with bees. I learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem. So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen's recipe? 


That's how Me & the Bees Lemonade was born. It comes from my Great Granny Helen's flaxseed recipe and my new love for bees. So that's why we sweeten it with local honey. And today my little idea continues to grow. 


It was a sweet success from the start. Year-after-year, Mikaila, sells-out of her Me & the Bees Lemonade at youth entrepreneurial events while donating a percentage of the profits from the sale of her lemonade to local and international organizations fighting hard to save the honeybees. That is why she touts: Buy a Bottle…Save a Bee.


Now at age 14, when not at her lemonade stand telling all the digestive benefits of flaxseed, you can find Mikaila leading workshops on how to save the honeybees, and participating in social entrepreneurship panels. Mikaila launched her own Facebook page, where visitors can ‘Like’ interesting facts about bees, honey and Me & the Bees Lemonade. 


Today, the award-winning Me & the Bees Lemonade is buzzing off the shelves of Whole Foods Market, the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, and available at a growing number of restaurants, food trailers, and natural food delivery companies.

Mikaila Ulmer: A social entrepreneur, bee ambassador, educator and student.

KID VID

Bana Al Abed

Her rise to fame


Bana Alabed first became known to the world via Twitter in 2016: with the help of her English-speaking mother, the first tweet from an account attributed to her (@AlabedBana), simply read: I need peace. 


The account often shared photos and tales of destruction and death while asking for help. Bana has more than 350,000 followers on Twitter. 


Life after Syria


On December 19, 2016, a tweet was sent out from Bana's account simply saying: “I escaped from East Aleppo.” Turkish NGO IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation also confirmed they had rescued Bana and her family and moved them to Turkey:


Arriving with her family, she made headlines by appealing to world leaders for help for Syria. She wrote an open letter to US President Donald Trump in which she asked him to help the children of the country.


“I am part of the Syrian children who suffered from the Syrian war,” she wrote. “Right now in Turkey, I can go out and enjoy. I can go to school although I didn’t yet. That is why peace is important for everyone, including you.


“However, millions of Syrian children are not like me right now and suffering in different parts of Syria. You must do something for the children of Syria because they are like your children and deserve peace like you.”


She and her family have been given Turkish citizenship. She has also been given a book deal by publishers Simon & Schuster. Her first book Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace was released on October 3, 2017


Her Oscar moment


Blink and you might have missed her, but 8-year-old Syrian author Bana Al Abed made an appearance at this year’s Academy Awards. The young girl, who now lives in Turkey, became known for her Twitter account that pleaded for action and help from inside Aleppo, and last year she had her first book published, Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace.

Bana took to the Oscars stage during a performance by rapper Common and singer Andra Day. They performed the song Stand Up for Something from the movie Marshall, which was nominated for Best Original Song. She joined the stage with other activists, including Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors; #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke; 87-year-old Delores Huerta, who is the co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America; and Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan Hockley, who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. All who Stand Up for Something.

Isabella Dymalovski

Our youngest kid on the Cloud St block is Isabella Dymalovski who, at just eight years old, decided to make a natural skincare range for girls her age. Fast forwards seven years and the fifteen-year-old has stocked her line, Luv Ur Skin, in Priceline stores across the country - and she's set to take the brand worldwide. 


Q. How did you first come up with the idea to start your own business? 

A. When I was younger I did a lot of dance concerts, which required really heavy make-up. But there was nothing that I could remove it with that was suitable for my skin. My Mum wouldn’t let me use her skincare, and one night she said ‘just go make your own stuff.’ She didn’t realise how seriously I would take it and that’s how I got to where I am today.


Q. How do you balance running a business and going to school? 

A. I’m one of those people that works a lot better and more efficiently when I have a lot more stuff on than I should. I started this business at such a young age when there wasn’t much schoolwork involved – because I was only in year two. So it was okay at first, but after getting into high school it got a bit harder. I’m really lucky that I’ve got an amazing team that helps with everything. I couldn’t do anything without them.


Q. What was your biggest obstacle when it came to opening your business? 

A. Definitely my age. When I was in meetings with my Mum, people would direct the questions to her because they’d think, ‘Oh, the kid has to be here.’ My Mum would say, ‘Listen to her, it’s her business.’ Once I started talking they realized, ‘Oh, crap, she actually knows what she’s talking about.’ And then they’d take me seriously.


Q. What’s the next step for you and Luv Ur Skin when you finish school? 

A. In terms of deciding what to do when I finish school, I have no idea. For the business, we definitely want to expand the range and go worldwide. If you want to make profit you’ve got to go overseas. We’ve just soft launched in America, which was great to do just before Christmas. We’ve also been working on getting into Europe and Asia – and hopefully, that works out too!


Q. What would be your advice to people thinking of starting a business? 

A. Just do it. You’ll regret it if you don’t. I love to say, ‘If there’s a will there’s a way’. If you give it 150% and come out of it succeeding, you’ll be so thankful that you did it. If you give it your all and nothing comes out of it, well, you can reflect on what you learnt and use that insight in the future. So just give it all a go.

In collaboration with Cloud St - Xero, we will be having a Pop-Up store located in the heart of Melbourne, Federation Square. The Pop-Up store will be happening between the 14th - 19th of December. Come meet our Founder and Girl Boss Isabella Dymalovski and also our amazing team of ambassadors. We'll see you there!

Marley Dias

Marley Dias, a 13-year-old girl who has collected more than 11,000 books that showcase black female lead characters, can now add another to the list, her own.

“I knew I was frustrated by the lack of diversity in the books I was reading in school, but it wasn’t until my mother asked me about what I wanted to change that the [book drive] idea fully became clear,” said Dias, who launched her #1000blackgirlbooks book drive in 2017 and is on Forbes’ “30 under 30” list for 2018. “It is so nice to see that the black girl is the main character and not the sidekick.”


Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!” serves as a guide for children to make a positive change through activism, inclusion and community involvement. Dias, an eighth-grade student at her local public school, loves to write, though even she admits she is surprised to have already written a book by age 13.


“Because it was my story I wanted to share ‘how’ I did it, so other kids can learn how they can use their gifts, talents, and passions to make a change in the world,” Dias said. “I also wanted adults to know what they could do to help kids change the world.”


Film director Ava DuVernay, who directed the upcoming film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s fantasy classic “A Wrinkle In Time,” wrote the introduction to Dias’ book. Though the original book does not have a black protagonist, DuVernay cast Storm Reid as Meg Murry in the film, alongside Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Meg’s mother.


“It is so nice to see that the black girl is the main character and not the sidekick,” Dias said. “This movie, like the black girl books I collect, will serve as a mirror for black girls and as a window to other young girls to see what they can do.”


Having far surpassed her original goal of 1,000 books, Dias now hopes to collect and distribute 1 million black girl books across the globe to libraries, schools and community organizations, as well as create an app to go along with her book guide and possibly a future book club on a global level.


Six Recommendations from Marley here to add to your summer reading list.