Middle Schooler Builds Lead Testing Kit

Nowadays, children have become more eager to explore issues outside of the classroom. Anything from vehicular traffic to eye diseases are inspiring them to create. Next in line as America’s Top Young Scientist is Gitanjali Rao, whose handmade device detects lead contamination in water.

“I had been following the Flint, Michigan, issue for about two years,” [said] Rao… “I was appalled by the number of people affected by lead contamination in water and I wanted to do something to change this.”

The determined seventh-grader, with the help of her engineer parents and local universities, came through with Tethys. Using carbon nanotube sensors, the device can accurately detect lead and send information to any smartphone. She subsequently won the Young Scientist challenge and pocketed $25,000.

“Advice I would give to other kids would be to never be afraid to try,” Gitanjali said. “I had so many failures when I was doing my tests. It was frustrating the first couple of times, but towards the end, everything started coming together.”

Rao intends to invest part of the prize money into developing Tethys. The rest will fund her schooling — bright minds deserve the best education.

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Hogwarts Prop Train Rescues Stranded Family

In times of emergency, who comes to our rescue is the last thing on our minds. Whether it be a herd of elephants or an 8-year-old kid, safety is all that matters. But sometimes, we are pleasantly surprised. What started out as a nightmare for this Scottish family turned into an adventure on the Hogwarts Express.

The family of six was spending a vacation camping in the Scottish Highlands. But on Friday, Jon Cluett woke up and walked out of his hut on Loch Eilt to find that their 16-foot red canoe had disappeared, probably washed away by the river.

Miles away from their car and with no other option, Cluett phoned the police. What the officer would reply was nothing short of astounding.

“The policeman said, ‘We’ve arranged for the next train passing to stop for you, and you’re not going to believe this but it’s the Hogwarts Express steam train. Your kids are going to love it,’”

Expectedly, the Cluett children did what any Potterhead would — flip out. If the Hogwarts Express is a go-to rescue vehicle along Fort William and Mallaig, GPS may no longer be a priority to casual hikers.

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Therapy Dogs Are Helping Kids Learn To Read

Over the past few years, therapy dogs have improved the lives of the handicapped. They’ve eased the pain of those suffering from PTSD and even helped baby cheetahs improve their social skills. In another attempt to aid those in need, dogs from Tail Waggin’ Tutors are helping children with anxiety learn to read.

The new “dog-friendly” atmosphere makes use of the same principles used with therapy dogs… It relaxes the child and allows them to focus on reading instead of waiting for… feedback. Patting or petting the attentive dog also helps put the child at ease.

If cute puppy videos are helping the entire population of Facebook get over Monday blues, these dogs must be doing wonders. Fortunately, the dogs cater to children anywhere in the world, as the program is international. And for the most part, it seems to be working.

“When [people] ask why the kids read to a dog, I say, because a dog is not going to correct them,” said Shilo Perlman, a library assistant in youth services. “We’ve heard from many parents who will say, ‘You know, my child will not read at home, won’t pick up a book. She’s afraid she’s going to make mistakes. But she will read to the dog.’”

Looks like man’s best friend may also be man’s top educator!

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New York Students Receive Free Supply-Filled Backpacks

Christmas has come early for public schools in New York City. After the entire school system declared cafeteria lunches completely free of charge, a Brooklyn establishment took a step further. As a back-to-school treat, P.S. 276 provided 600 students with free supply-filled backpacks.

“When students have the basic supplies, their attitude, their behavior and even their self-esteem increases,” Dave Smith of KINF (Kids In Need Foundation) said.

Popular pen brand Bic was also in on the action. On average, Americans spend around $78.5 billion on back-to-school supplies annually. That’s literally a ton of notebooks.

“They were so happy and I’ve never seen them this way. They were so excited. I can see the excitement on their faces, they were thrilled!” teacher Alice Whitaker said. “They were so happy and they were looking at stuff that they never saw before.”

Over 22 years, KINF has donated $900 million worth of school supplies to children under the poverty line. Remember — there’s more to a pen than just ink.

 

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5-Year-Old Provides Classmates With Milk Money

If we are born inherently good, we see the best of it in our kids. Thanks to technology, children of all ages have been raising funds for various causes. In just a little over a month, kids have pooled money for deaf communities and Puerto Ricans in need. In rural Michigan, another kindergartener is stepping into the charitable spotlight, raising $5,000 for her classmates’ milk funds.

Sunshine has 20 classmates, and about half can’t afford milk. Milk costs 45 cents per carton, so Sunshine would need $800 to buy her classmates milk every day for one school year.

Initially, the cheery, pigtailed 5-year-old donated $30 of piggy bank money to a friend. Impressed by her initiative, Sunshine’s grandmother Jackie Oelfke decided to help her crowdfund. Naturally, this prompted the pair to set up a GoFundMe page.

Her GoFundMe campaign has been going for ten days so far, and today it surpassed its $5,000 goal — enough to give her classmates milk money until they’re well into the fourth grade.

It seems Sunshine is filling both her classmates’ pockets and tummies!

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Sisters Selling Lemonade To Pay Off Lunch Debts

Kids these days are more intellectually advanced than our generation ever was. While some are building computers, others are painting like Michelangelo. These two Seattle sisters are playing it a little bit simpler — but for a great cause. Amiah and Aria Van Hill are selling lemonade to help fellow students pay off lunch debts.

“We are thrilled that Amiah has embraced that value at such a young age and we are so very proud that she has taken it upon herself to find a way to help those in need,” [said Amiah’s elementary school principal] “She is a very special little lady.”

On their first day of sales, the sisters managed to pay off a $40.55 debt at Hayden Meadows in Idaho. Mother Rachel encouraged her daughters to extend help to other schools. They then raised over $300 for two establishments.

“I had to explain to her that this was a lot of money,” Van Hill said, recommending that they finally take their efforts to GoFundMe to reach their goal.

Donations are now at the $2,700 mark. Amiah and Aria are living proof that little girls can dream big both for themselves and for others.

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Cultivating Kindness in the Next Generation

Everybody needs a shot of good news everyday. As for me, my dosage of inspiration usually comes from stories involving children who do fantastic, exceptionally kind things for other people, or other people who do fantastic, exceptionally kind things for children. In this blog, it’s no secret that I am partial to featuring the little people of the next generation who’ve shown some really impressive abilities, such as a great deal of empathy.

Some children first understand the need to help others because of their own plight. For instance, a deaf boy started his own fundraising initiative to provide hearing aids for his fellow deaf children. Others are inspired by their loved ones, like this high schooler who invented an AI system to diagnose her grandfather’s eye disease. It goes to show that at an early age, children already have a deep enough understanding of love and already think of the welfare of those around them.

But it doesn’t stop there either. Some children can even empathize with those who live way beyond their backyards and come from backgrounds way different from theirs. At times of disasters, for instance, children show that they feel so much for people that are suffering, as exemplified by an 8-year-old who collected over a thousand toys that he eventually gave away to Puerto Rican kids after the terrible hurricane. Unfortunately, some adults aren’t even able to have this kind of empathy, but some kids definitely do.

Meanwhile, some preschoolers just want to have fun and eventually end up helping others out, like this prodigious 5-year-old who sells her own astounding galaxy paintings and donates the proceeds to a charity.

But what do these stories of the next generation mean for us who come before them? Should we feel bad and envious that they are already doing so much more? Should our generation take credit for raising such beautiful children? No, though perhaps possible, none of those seems right.

Some groups of people have already figured out what to do and what their role is. Educational institutions in New York have been trying to address the problem of inequality by providing free lunches to kids of lower status, while libraries in Los Angeles have waived book rental fees for readers under the age of 21. This Massachusetts startup is making life better for kids with autism by providing smart glasses that can help them track emotion and improve their social skills. Disney itself committed 100 million dollars to children’s hospitals.

That’s right. What we need to do for the next generation is show them that they can become the best versions of themselves, because this world is going to be kind to them. And we have to make sure that it happens. We absolutely have to make this world a better place for the people who will succeed us, so that they may continue on the good work.

Not all of us can donate millions of dollars or invent something incredibly beneficial. But there are things we can do, like volunteer our time and skills to organizations dedicated to the welfare of children, mentor kids in our community who show interest in the fields we know about, support and participate in school and after-school programs, and many others. Sometimes, even showing compassion to tiny members of the family like our own children or nephews and nieces might already be enough.

In the end, it’s all about the culture of kindness that we cultivate for them, so that when the time comes for them to take charge of the world, they can take things further and make it an even better place. We have to inculcate kindness in them, so that they can pay it forward and be even kinder to others. No doubt, cultivating kindness in the next generation means that we ourselves have to be kind to each other. As they say, lead by example.

One such app with the same mission is BeepBeep Nation. It aims to make the world a better place by connecting people who need help and others who can offer it. Providing a plethora of opportunities to give back and help out, it enables people to exercise compassion the way they want to. Ultimately, BeepBeep Nation encourages people to share their lives with one another and believe in a future built on kindness. This is exactly the kind of mindset that our children should learn as they are growing up.

Fuelled by the EMINENT token, the BeepBeep Nation app is set to launch soon, in selected cities worldwide. Pre-sale of the token is already live, with some bonuses available. Check out the ICO now! It’s never too early for children to find the heart to help out, and it’s never too late for us to encourage them to do so.

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In Your 20s? 30s? 40s? Age Doesn’t Matter in Meaningful Interactions

All too often, we hear ominous stories about how adulthood can take away our “lives.” My guy friends, for instance, would always talk about settling down as if it means giving up the freedoms they currently have — no more regular basketball live-streaming with their mates, no more beer pong and video game weekends. My girl friends would also freak out a little when imagining their lives as a soccer mom, when their everyday would be consumed by helping kids get ready in the morning, bringing them to school, doing stuff around the house, fetching kids from school, and repeating the cycle all over the next day.

But I always felt like this isn’t necessarily the case. We romanticize the idea of peaking during our high school or college years, thinking that’s when we live the best of our lives because we have the best people around us. Everything else that comes after is just the natural course of things after the end of our glory days. I disagree. For me, meaningful interactions are not necessarily limited to our youth.

Of course, our teenage years are fraught with self-discovery. That’s when we first have an inkling of our passions and the things we like to do. High school is a time to try out your interests and maybe decide what to pursue in the future. But aside from discovering your identity, it is also a time to have fun with friends and make the craziest, most random memories. Most of us also probably had our first kisses then. I mean, who didn’t go to prom? Being a teenager is like being in a whirlwind of new emotions; it’s fun, adventurous, and romantic.

Unfortunately, some of us stay behind and linger with those memories, choosing instead to idealize those golden days and not to go on and have more adventures, even as an adult. Believing that your teenage years are all there is to life is detrimental to your growth as a person.

I’m sure everyone’s college days were also intense and significant. I, for one, probably had my first real and severe experience of distress during my time in college. Algebra homework in high school? Pfffft. Between my terrifying cultural studies professor who demands a reaction paper on every reading, my thesis that doesn’t seem to want me to graduate, and my fear of unemployment once I do graduate, it’s a whole new level of exhaustion. But this can only mean that our early 20s is a time to harness one’s strengths and start working on maturity.

University is also probably where you get to meet the most diverse set of people. So it’s not just a time to gain fun friends to create crazy memories with, but also to find those who can really help you pursue your goals. Despite of and maybe even because of the raging hormones that are ever-present throughout college, it might also present opportunities to grow into the kind of mature person who can handle actual relationships.

Up to one’s late 20s, I think, is a good time to make mistakes and learn from them, through the different people you meet and the different meaningful interactions that you have, whether romantic or platonic.

I myself am in my mid-20s. And like I’ve mentioned before, real adulthood is what people my age are really afraid of. People in their 30s and 40s are probably more likely to prioritize their careers and families. The assumption is, by then, you will get so caught up in living a normal, stable, and secure life that it just becomes tedious — what meaningful interactions are there for me if I just follow the scripts?

Assuming responsibility is definitely important. But being in one’s 30s or 40s also means extending yourself fully and sharing your life with others. Putting one’s family first doesn’t necessarily entail choosing obligation over passion; maybe it’ll even be fruitful to open up to your kids and have them open up to you about things all of you feel passionate about. Likewise, marriage doesn’t have to kill romance; it can provide a whole different and exciting arena for it.

And finally, because you’ve been working all these years to settle down, now might be a good time to go out and know your community. Meaningful interactions can happen in the seemingly most simple events. Grocery shopping is just a routine, but who knows what interesting people you’ll meet there? Just because you have a home life doesn’t mean no opportunities for spontaneous friendships will make themselves present.

In one’s 30s or 40s, people can’t really afford to rethink their priorities. And they don’t have to. Just treating your neighbors sometime could suffice. Smile at someone in the park. Help a stranger out. Everyone you meet will surely give you a meaningful interaction if you let them.

* This post is inspired by BeepBeep Nation, an app that provides a platform for people to request for the help they need and others to offer their help. By facilitating face-to-face human interaction and creating a culture of kindness, it aims to make the world better. Pre-sale of the ICO that fuels the BeepBeep Nation app is already available. Check out the EMINENT token now!

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Man Builds Free Prosthetics For Kids

We all know prosthetics don’t make for an affordable buy. They start at roughly $1,500 for animals, which means devices for humans are expectedly high-priced. To ease the physical and financial burden on young amputees, Stephen Davis builds them prosthetics — for free!

“We build them in a range of colors, whatever the child needs,” Designs he’s created have included Iron Man, Lego, and Spider-Man themes. He’s even built glow-in-the-dark arms.

When Davis posted online about the lack of options for people who needed prosthetics, an e-NABLE volunteer named Drew Murray saw his frustrations and together, they ended up building Team UnLimbited. The team uses a 3D printer to create the free prosthetics.

While the loss of a limb is definitely not cool, these funky prosthetic limbs sure seem to be. Davis, born without a left hand, covers the costs of printing himself, along with donations received by Team UnLimbited. He expects nothing in return (except maybe a sobbing parent).

“Our arms are specifically designed to stand out [and] show off a child’s personality,” Stephen [said] . . . They are also made to be easily usable and lightweight.

Did I mention his prosthetic template is free to use online? He may be modest, but Davis is nothing short of a miracle worker.

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Teen Raises Money For Cancer With Coffee Sleeves

It seems our future world leaders are getting younger by the year. If our children are capable of sacrificing their greatest possessions to donate to a cause, we need not underestimate them. An Ohio teen is proving a little goes a long way by sewing coffee cozys to raise funds for breast cancer patients.

“I don’t like to sit on the sidelines and watch something happen — I want to be in there, in the action, helping to fight,” says [13-year-old] Jordan [Phillips].

Phillips initially launched “Cozys for the Cure” intending to help shoulder her mother’s surgery bills. Now, more than 200,000 of the coffee sleeves are being sold at more than a thousand Walmarts across the US. Part of the sales will go towards financing free mammograms. And so far, the fundraising initiative has raised $18,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

“She would do the math, it was roughly $100 to pay for one mammogram. If one in eight women are diagnosed and I paid $800 for eight mammograms, that’s one in eight. I saved one woman’s life… she’d say, ‘Mom, I saved 11 women’s lives!’ And that was very real to her,” says Nicole [Phillips].

Now available at Walmart, the cozys are evidence that making a difference is literally at the tips of our fingers. If an eighth-grader can promise change, so can we.

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