In celebration of International Youth Day, we’ve compiled a list of youth changemakers hailing from the Beyond Borders, Haitian, and global communities. Whether their contributions to a better world came yesterday, are here today, or will come tomorrow, we thank them for being the leaders of engaged and passionate youth.
At age 9, Haitian-American Leanna Archer became the youngest CEO to ever enter the New York Stock Exchange through own hair product line, Leanna’s Inc. Today, her great grandmother’s secret recipe for the product has allowed her provide education to over 200 Haitian students through the Leanna Archer Education Foundation.
3 years ago, 10-year-old Vanis Buckholz became one of the nation's youngest eco-entrepreneurs, through "My ReCycler", his recycling business in Corona del Mar, California. A large portion of the profits go to Project Hope Alliance, an organization that provides outreach to homeless and underprivileged kids.
Since 2011, 11-year-old Jackson Davis has been petitioning to get the face of York on a US stamp to honor his contributions to American history. York was the slave who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition, and Davis’ efforts have gotten the attention of both President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Zach Marks is the founder of Grom Social, the under-17 equivalent of Facebook. He started the social networking site to pull younger web users away from Facebook and provide them with a space to interact in an educational and collaborative way.
The Holocaust victim Anne Frank began writing her diary on her 13th birthday. The book--now in over 67 languages--has sold over 25 million copies to date.
14-year-old Matt Millstein, a longtime youth supporter of Beyond Borders, began fundraising through his greeting card company five years ago.
Louis Braille invented the famous writing system for the blind when he was only 15 years old.
Sybil Ludington was the lesser-known counterpart to Paul Revere. The Revolutionary War heroine was 16 when she mounted her horse and rode twice the distance of Revere to warn of the approaching forces.
Well-acclaimed Haitian-Peurto Rican graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat started to gain recognition for his Brooklyn murals at the early age of 17.
18-year-old Leonce Love a.k.a. Sanparey is just one of several members of Timoun Rezistanz, a collective of talented youth in Grand Rue, Haiti, who produce media and art that explains their reality in Haiti.
The well-known heroine commander Joan of Arc was 19 when she was put on trial for her revolutionary ways.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg was a 20-year-old college student when he founded Facebook.
At 21, Somalian rapper K’naan attended the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees conference and delivered a spoken word piece criticizing the UN’s failed missions to his home country. It was this piece that put him on the U.S. music industry map.
22-year-old Pedro Veiga is the co-founder of Instituto Atuação (Action Institute), an organization that promotes political engagement among Brazilian youth.
Ghanaian-born Sandra Appiah is the youngest black Editor and COO of an international magazine in the world. The 23-year-old co-founded Face2Face Africa, a print and online media company intended to “restore Africa’s image within the global community.”
In 2004, then-24-year-old Jean Miller Beauvoir started Pathway Toward the Future, a project through the Center for Reflection, Education and Debate (CRED) that provides educational opportunity to children on Gonave, one of Haiti’s most isolated areas. CRED “seeks to empower the emerging generation of young citizens in Haiti to be active contributors to their communities and nation.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. was only 25 when he became the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama and began his career as a leader of the Civil Rights movement.