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Tag: Mighty Girls
  • At 8 years old, Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins joined the "Capitol Crawl" with other disability rights activists demanding passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    On March 12, 1990, over 1,000 disability rights activists marched from the White House to the U.S. Capitol to demand the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which had been stalled in Congress. To illustrate the barriers that many people with disabilities faced every day, over 60 activists cast aside their wheelchairs and crutches and began crawling up the 83 stone steps that lead to the Capitol building — among them was Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, an 8-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who declared "I’ll take all night if I have to" as she pulled herself up the steps. In honor of the anniversary of the historic "Capitol Crawl" — which helped drive the successful passage of the ADA, the world's first comprehensive civil rights law protecting the rights people with disabilities — we're sharing the story of this determined young activist whose actions helped transform the lives of people with disabilities across the nation. Continue reading Continue reading

  • At six years old, Ruby Bridges famously became the first Black child to desegregate an all-White elementary school in the South.

    The moment has been immortalized in a Norman Rockwell painting with the apt title The Problem We All Live With: a little African American girl walks to school, surrounded by a team of U.S. Marshals, with racist graffiti and thrown garbage ornamenting the wall behind her. Ruby Bridges was only 6 years old in 1960 when the first grader arrived for her first day of school at  William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans — and was met by a vicious mob. The courageous girl would spend a year alone in the classroom, since other children had been removed by their parents due to her presence. But today, the 68-year-old Bridges says that those difficult days were worth it: "I now know that experience comes to us for a purpose, and if we follow the guidance of the spirit within us, we will probably find that the purpose is a good one." Continue reading Continue reading

  • The driver who alerted police to the 16-year-old girl's plight did not understand the hand signal popularized on TikTok but he could tell that she was in distress and needed help.

    The rescue of a kidnapped 16-year-old girl in Kentucky last week is raising awareness about the importance of staying vigilant for signs of distress and taking action if you see them. While the story went viral after the teen's use of a hand signal that was popularized on TikTok was originally credited as alerting the driver who called the authorities, it turns out that he hadn't understood the gesture but he could tell that the girl needed help. “I didn’t recognize a gesture,” 50-year-old David Isaacs, the driver who called 911 explained in an interview this week. “She was mouthing ‘help me.’ She said ‘help me, help me’ twice. I think she even lip-synced ‘call 911.'... It looked like she had been crying." Continue reading Continue reading

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    When she was 12 years old, Vinisha Umashankar watched an ironing cart vendor throw out burnt charcoal in her hometown in southern India. She started thinking about all of the ironing vendors across India who use charcoal to heat an iron and press clothing for a fee and the tremendous environmental impact of the common practice. "It made me think about the amount of charcoal burnt every day," Vinisha recalls, "and the damage it does to the environment." The science-loving Mighty Girl decided to come up with an environmentally friendly alternative and, after poring through college level physics textbooks to understand how solar panels worked, she designed a new ironing cart that uses solar panels to power a steam iron. Three years later, the now 15-year-old has gained worldwide acclaim for her invention, which she hopes to start manufacturing within the next few months, and even addressed COP26, the U.N.'s climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Kamryn Gardner recently put the persuasive writing skills she learned in her first grade class to work — by asking clothing retailer Old Navy to put pockets in their girls' pants!

    Kamryn Gardner recently put the persuasive writing skills she learned in her first grade class to work — by asking clothing retailer Old Navy to put pockets in their girls' pants! After she received yet another pair of jeans where the pockets were sewn shut, Kamryn observed indignantly that "they were fake pockets. It bothered me that they weren’t real pockets." Now, the 7-year-old from Bentonville, Arkansas has gone viral after sharing Old Navy's reply promising to respond to her complaint. "Our design and product teams love hearing feedback from customers, especially young people like Kamryn," says company spokeswoman Sandy Goldberg. "We [will] take suggestions into consideration as we work on future products." Continue reading Continue reading

  • 10-year-old Grace Turner-Cox is running the equivalent of a marathon a week for 20 weeks to raise funds for a charity helping kids with craniosynostosis.

    10-year-old Grace Turner-Cox's baby cousin Henry was diagnosed with a rare birth defect after his birth last May — so the Mighty Girl from Basingstoke, England is running the equivalent of a marathon a week to raise money for a UK charity helping kids with craniosynostosis! Grace came up with her fundraising idea at Christmas and she's already completed six marathons and hit her first fundraising target of £1,250 (about $1,750 US) to help support the work of Headlines Craniofacial Support. Now, she plans to continue her runs every week until Henry's first birthday in May, completing the equivalent of 20 marathons. "I might only be 10 years old," says Grace, "but my motivation to run to support this amazing charity has kept me going." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Lindsay Sobel started her charity Shoes for Souls after seeing the widespread homelessness in Los Angeles.

    When Lindsay Sobel was 12 years old, she attended a basketball game at LA's Staples Center arena and was struck by the high levels of homelessness in the area. “I noticed a lot of them were in really awful living conditions, no way any person should have to live. On top of that, I noticed a lot of them did not even have shoes on," she recalls. "At 12 years old, I was like, 'Wow, people don’t have shoes?’ It kind of put things into perspective for me." This experience started the now 17-year-old on a journey that has led her to donate over 30,000 pairs of shoes to people in need throughout Southern California — an incredible accomplishment that she says "makes me full of joy because of the fact that I’m able to help people out.” Continue reading Continue reading

  • Lillian Kay Petersen of Los Alamos, New Mexico developed a tool to help aid organizations better plan for food shortages by using satellite data to predict crop harvests early in the growing season.

    For 17-year-old Lillian Kay Petersen, the impact of hunger on children has a personal face: "Nine years ago, my family adopted my three younger siblings, all of whom faced food insecurity in their childhoods," she explains. "I have watched my younger siblings struggle with the lifelong effects of malnutrition." Inspired by her siblings' experience, Lillian developed a tool to help aid organizations better plan for food shortages by using satellite data to predict crop harvests early in the growing season. Her tool yielded such impressive results that she was awarded the $250,000 top prize in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the United States' oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. The Mighty Girl from Los Alamos, New Mexico is thrilled by the honor and the potential of her research to help children facing food insecurity around the world so "they don't face malnutrition and lifelong consequences." Continue reading Continue reading

  • After learning that the Oakland Zoo might close permanently due to the pandemic, 6-year-old Andy Soulard wanted to help save the animals — and has raised over $220,000!

    When 6-year-old Andrea "Andy" Soulard learned that the Oakland Zoo might have to shut down permanently due to loss of income during the pandemic shutdown, the California Mighty Girl wanted to help. "I like to see the animals," she explains. "I like the guinea hogs, the otters and the tigers." So with her seventh birthday approaching, Andy decided to ask people to donate to the zoo instead of giving her a present this year, and she pledged to make a bracelet for anyone who donated $25 or more. She hoped to raise $200, but after word of her fundraiser started spreading online, people began donating from across the country — and, in less than a month, she's now raised $220,000 and counting! "We are at a loss for words," her mother, Kelly Soulard, wrote on Facebook, "but know we are so touched at the outpouring of support." Continue reading Continue reading

  • The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist was awarded the 2020 Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity this week.

    Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen activist who founded the Youth Strike for Climate Movement,  was awarded the 2020 Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity this week!  "[Greta] gave voice to the concerns of young generations about their future, which is at risk due to global warming," the Gulbenkian wrote in a statement about the prize. "Her global influence is unprecedented for someone of her age." The 17-year-old was selected from a field of 136 nominees from 46 countries for the prize which recognizes people for their contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The award comes with a $1.15 million prize (€1 million), which Greta has already pledged to donate to a number of environmental causes. "I’m extremely honoured," she wrote on Twitter. "My foundation will as quickly as possible donate all the prize money of 1 million Euros to support organisations and projects that are fighting for a sustainable world, defending nature and supporting people already facing the worst impacts of the climate- and ecological crisis." Continue reading Continue reading

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