Eleven-year old Mikaila Ulmer wanted to do something about the disappearance of bees and its effect on the eco-system, so she set out to sell a honey-based lemonade. Using a family recipe, she developed BeeSweet Lemonade and began to sell it through local vendors in Austin, TX. After receiving a sizeable investment through the show Shark Tank, her product is now sold at major retailers throughout the southwest. Mikaila has sustained her original motivation to support the environment as a portion of her sales goes back into local businesses promoting bee keeping. Mikaila’s story is an incredible testament to children’s ability to change their communities with the support of their families.
Children as young as two or three years old can notice another’s plight and be moved to alleviate it. The impulse to show compassion and care for others is fostered throughout a child’s development and eventually morphs into action: what starts out as a cursory glance towards another person’s suffering turns into a desire to console, which in turn inspires action to prevent any further suffering. It is this very instinct to improve others’ conditions that has given us some of the world’s greatest leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, Malala, and Mother Teresa.
Families are a prime environment to practice helping others and solve problems. Here are some great books to read with your children to start talking about community and creative problem solving.
Making it Right: Building Peace, Settling Conflict by Marilee Peters
Why are there injustices in the world? Why do innocent people suffer, and what can we do about it? Can one person really make a difference? Peters tackles these tough questions and encourages children and teens to reflect on the meaning of peace and their own road towards healing and reconciliation. This is an impressive little book that addresses heavy topics with wisdom and sensitivity.
Kid President's Guide to Being Awesome by Brad Montague
Kid President may just be the most famous kid on the Internet. Millions have been inspired by his contagious joy and hilarious Youtube videos. Kid President has released a book about awesomeness, featuring awesome people, awesome stories, and tips for increasing your own awesomeness.
It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! by Chelsea Clinton
It’s Your World is a primer on economic, health, and environmental issues throughout the world. Broken down into easy to read chapters, she summarizes what’s going on, and how to fix it. Each chapter has illustrations and graphs and presents world issues in a way that will appeal to teens.