Earlier this week, I received an email from a lady that I haven’t spoken to in quite some time with a link to a video featuring her son, Ethan. I had a look at it and I was moved beyond words.

I originally met Ethan in the Summer of 2010 when my neighbor and I interviewed him for a photography initiative we were working on during the World Cup. When I heard about his story of providing new soccer balls to kids in Africa through his non-profit, Charity Ball, I knew he was a remarkable young man and had a lot to share with the world.

Ethan is an example of a young person who sees through all the adult ‘stuff’ and recognizes something as simple as the fact that providing a soccer ball to someone less fortunate that would otherwise never have a chance to have one can be life changing for everyone involved. He gets it, and he’s changing the world through his compassionate actions toward his fellow youth halfway around the world.

I hope you will take a few minutes to watch this incredible video.

Now that I have watched this video 4 times, I’m not sure who inspires me more, Ethan or his Father. They are both remarkable people that I’m proud to know.

Devon, Devin, and the entire Kids Army provide yet another example of inspiring youth who are creating positive changes around the world by working together and sharing stories, information, inspiration, etc.

I have been fortunate enough to connect with them and work directly with them on Kids of the Gulf and I can honestly say that these kids are making big things happen in this world. Their recent ‘No Labels’ photo shoot is an example of how they are combining their voices to make big, bold statements about social issues they believe in.

Kids Army No Labels

When I read things about atmospheric carbon dioxide reaching 400 parts per million in the Arctic for the first time in recorded history or scientists publishing research indicating that Earth is near a dangerous tipping point on climate change, it’s easy to get freaked out and feel defeated. But I remember stories like Ethan’s, Devon’s, Devin’s and many others that have inspired me to keep up my own quest to make the world better and I feel like it’s possible to bring about the sea change that’s required in order for us to bring the planet back from the brink of massive upheaval.

In 2 weeks, leaders from around the world descend on Rio for the UN Summit on Sustainable Development, and once again youth will be there pushing for big changes in the thinking of governments. 20 years have passed since the original summit in Rio and governments continue to drag their feet and ignore the obvious perils of inaction. Fortunately, there is a wave of kids and youth coming up through the ranks that don’t understand the concept of inaction.

See what they are doing here and here.

Today, I’m encouraged, inspired, and hopeful for the future of humanity because of stories like these. As long as young people continue to rise up and work together to make the world better, I’ll keep focusing my attention on the bright possibilities before us.

How about you?

Is there something you see about the world or even your own community that you would like to see fixed?

What can you do today to help?

What step would you need to take right now to put you on a path to creating a positive shift in something you believe in?


Photo: Suzie Whitt