They are perspective and resolute. Every day they work hard to make the world a better place. Despite the young age, they have already decided what they want from life and how to make their dreams come true. Here’re 13 inspiring kids that have brought huge changes to the society and our mind.


Zhan Haite



Most Chinese political activists are grizzled lawyers, scholars or artists. Zhan Haite doesn’t fit this stereotype. She is 15-year-old middle-school student in Shanghai.

She rebelled against the hukou – government system of household registration, which is based on caste and finance. Her parents did not meet the governments’ requirements. So, Zhan was given two options: attend a vocational school, or return to her ancestral village, where opportunities are scarce.


Instead, Zhan decided to speak out. She organised a protest in front of Shanghai’s education bureau, and posted a flurry of dissenting messages online. At first, the backlash was severe. Her family was briefly evicted. Local authorities threw her father in jail. But then the situation has changed. In six months, Zhan Haite went from a regular student to an opponent of Shanghai’s hukou policy.

“Hu Shi once said that fighting for your rights is fighting for the nation’s rights, and fighting for your freedom is fighting for the nation’s freedom,” – Zhan says. “A free and democratic country cannot be made up of slaves.”


Zea Tongeman


Zea Tongeman, a 14-year-old girl from south London, didn’t expect that one day she’d become a tech geek. “I used to think technology was just fixing computers and saying thing like: “have you tried turning it on and off again?” like in The IT Crowd,” – Zea shares. But after attending a Little Miss Geek workshop in her school, the girl realized that technology could be fun and a force for good. This discovery has changed her mind. With a friend, Jordan Stirbu, she designed an app called Jazzy Recycling that aims to get people recycling by turning tasks into a game.

“As Mary Poppins says: ‘You find the fun and it becomes a game,’ and that is exactly what our app does,” – Zea shares. Jazzy Recycling helps users find places to recycle, tells them what they can recycle and then enables them to scan, share and get rewards for their efforts.


Thomas Suarez

Another one teen genius in the sphere of technology is 15 year-old Thomas Suarez. He has designed a 3D printer that is 10 times faster and more reliable than anything on the market. The number one issue that people have with 3D printers today is the speed at which they print at. So, Thomas decided to fix this issue.

However, it’s not the first invention of Thomas. He made headlines several years ago when he created a Justin Bieber whack-a-mole game called BustinJieber. Since then he has given a TED talk on technology, was featured on BBC, and had the chance to meet a lot of important and famous people.


Amy O’Toole


Amy O’Toole is a 12-year-old student who helped run a science experiment inspired by Beau Lotto’s participative science approach. At age 10 she became one of the youngest people ever to publish a peer-reviewed science paper.

She took part in a participative science program led by Beau Lotto, called “I, scientist,” which inspired a science experiment by a group of 26 primary school students in Blackawton, UK. O’Toole was never interested in science before this project, but now intends to study the human mind and body. The project led to the publication of the first ever peer-reviewed scientific paper written by schoolchildren.


Maya Van Wagenen


Maya Van Wagenen is 16-years-old.  When she was 11, her family moved to Brownsville, Texas.  As a middle schooler in a Texas border town, Maya considered herself an outsider. “I always struggled with making friends and finding confidence,” she says. “I felt ostracized and bullied, and it was really hard for me.” Then she stumbled upon Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide, a 1950s how-to book that her dad picked up at a thrift store before she was even born.

Every day Maya made notes about people’ response to her secret efforts. The results were painful, funny and profound, and included a wonderful and unexpected surprise—befriending and meeting Betty herself. Now Maya’s working on her next book.  “I’m excited to move on to fiction,” – she comments. “Fiction has always been my first love—it’s what I wrote when I was younger, and what I continue to write on the side.”


Jacob Barnett


When Jacob was 2-years-old he was diagnosed with autism. Doctors told the boy’s parents he’d never be able to read or talk. Fortunately, doctors’ prediction didn’t come true. At the age of 10, he was accepted to Indiana’s Purdue University. There he studied astrophysics and earned some money on the side by tutoring his fellow students in advanced mathematics and working as a research assistant.

Two years later, at the age of 15, Jacob applied and was accepted to the world-renowned Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, where he is currently studying for his PhD, the youngest student ever in the institute’s 16-year history.

What is more, the year before he entered Jacob worked on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. After reviewing his work, Princeton’s Professor Scott Tremaine said: “The theory that (Jacob) is working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics…Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.” With a photographic memory, an IQ over 170, higher than Albert Einstein’s one, and having had his research published at the age of 13, there is little doubt in most people’s minds that Jacob Barnett, the boy who still has trouble tying his own shoelaces, is destined for nothing less than greatness.


Zuriel Oduwole


Despite her young age, Zuriel is included in many top-lists: “100 Most Influential People in Africa”, featured in Forbes Magazine, the youngest person to screen a self-produced movie commercially (5 documentaries).

Born in California, 14-year-old Oduwole is a filmmaker and activist. “As a girl, I am concerned that not every girl has a right to get an education or a chance to accomplish her dreams like me. Not too cool,” – Zuriel shares. “My vision is to see that this changes one day, and my mission is to use my “Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up” program and other new ideas to inspire girls to accomplish this mission.”

Zuriel uses her visibility to demonstrate the positive sides of Africa. She tells stories “using my documentaries”. For this, the girl interviews Africa’s political and business leaders.


Ziad Ahmed


Ziad Ahmed is 18-year-old senior at Princeton Day School and passionate social justice activist. Growing up in Princeton, New Jersey, he frequently reflected on his privilege, surroundings, and the current reality of the whole world. Ziad has resolved to work towards a world safe for all and accepting of everyone.

Ziad founded a teen organization, Redefy, committed to defying stereotypes, redefining perspectives positively, embracing acceptance and tolerance, and creating an active community.

Additionally, Ziad has co-founded JÜV Consulting Inc., which is a youth consulting confirm. Ziad firmly believes in the power of young voices and is confident JÜV will be a great success. The company has already grown to have over 50 teen consultants worldwide and around 10 clients.


Patricia Manubay


17-years-old Patricia Manubay has been passionate about community service, writing, and dreams. She brought her interests together, launching the project “Dream Boxes” “to get children and students the supplies and resources they need to be successful in school, as well as the support and empowerment they need to make their dreams happen.” People around the world can donate a box that’s packed with school supplies to help inspire kids along their academic journey. The boxes are then distributed among various communities to students in need.

Moreover, Patricia is currently working on expanding her second organization, Above Apathy, which teaches the importance of being selfless. When she was young, Patricia was bullied and lost some of her confidence. But she was not defeated. Patricia finally has learned to not believe what the haters say; instead, she focuses on what’s important to those who need her help.

Aside from tremendous input on community service and volunteering work, Patricia also has other interests. Fashion, for instance. She works at H&M and does merchandising and design for the company.


Madison Kimrey


Madison Kimrey may not be old enough to vote, but she is determined that North Carolinians should be able to do so without any kind of suppression.

A participant in “Moral Monday” protests and writer of her own blog about politics, Madison has started a MoveOn petition to meet with Governor Pat McCrory, as she calls it, “citizen to Governor.” When she asked the governor to meet with her, she was told that she was a “prop” for liberal groups. Though her petition garnered over 12 thousand signatures, the governor called her request “ridiculous.” In response, Kimrey started a movement called NC Youth Rock. Her speech at a local rally has garnered national attention—which she’s using to reach even more young people with her message.


Jonas Corona



Jonas began volunteering at the age of 4 in downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row. 2 years later, he decided to take it one step further and start his own organization – ‘Love in the Mirror’.

Jonas wanted to help kids that were less fortunate than him by giving them things he felt no child should live without. The idea grew into a non-profit organization that strives to meet the needs of disadvantaged youth, while at the same time, kids like Jonas can gain the ability to develop self-esteem and learn great leadership skills. “Every child should look in the mirror and love what they see,” – Jonas says.


Xiuhtezcatl Martinez


His first name is pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’ and he’s a 16-year-old indigenous climate activist and powerful voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement.

At the early age of 6, Xiuhtezcatl began speaking about environment. Soon, he has traveled across the nation and to many parts of the world educating his generation about the state of the planet they are inheriting and inspiring youth into action to protect the Earth. His message has inspired youth to join the front lines combating the environmental crisis, as well as form Earth Guardian crews in over 30 countries.

In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council.


Adora Svitak


Since the age of four, Adora has been passion about writing, but the problem was nobody wanted to publish her stories, because “she is a child”. One day her first book, ‘Flying Fingers’, was publish.

Since then, she has decided to change the attitude of adults to children. So, she’s visited hundreds of schools, classrooms and conferences around the world.

In 2010, she delivered the speech “What Adults Can Learn from Kids” at TED. The speech received over 3.3 million views on TED alone, and has been translated into over 40 different languages. That same year, Adora started organizing TEDxRedmond. Over the course of years of speaking, her audiences have included teachers, CEOs, entrepreneurs, artists, students, and delegates at the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Youth Forum.

Pacific Standard Magazine described Adora as one of the “30 Top Thinkers Under 30,” going on to call her “an activist for feminism, liberal politics, and youth-oriented causes pretty far up the road to becoming intellectual royalty.”

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