Winter 2022

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Winter 2022


CONTENTS 04 FROM THE PUBLISHER In our Winter 2022 issue, we interviewed eight amazing kids in the arts, philanthropy, education, business, culinary and literary spaces. These kids are influencing their communities with authenticity and passion for change.

16 PARENTS CORNER: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE INFLUENCER IMPACT Tips to help you and your kidpreneur navigate the world of social media influence.

28 MEET SASHA OLSEN Sasha Olsen is working to increase ocean pollution awareness through her campaign, Iwantmyoceanback.


MEET TEEN ACTRESS, MARIAH BOZEMAN Teen actress, Mariah Bozeman is a rising star who is a champion on and off the screen. CEOKID




YOUTH. TRAILBLAZERS. COMMUNITY Publisher Contributing Designer Cover Photography Cover Stylist Contributing Photographer Contributing Photographer Contributing Writer Contributing Writer Social Media Intern

Vonna Matthews Taly Melo Charan Ingram Narada El Sol Maggie Shirk Photography Liz Calhoun Pose by LCG Photography Children and Screens The Center for Cyber Safety and Education Zoe Matthews

Editorial Office 9355 John W. Elliott Dr. Suite 25449 Frisco, TX 75033 +1-972-302-9150 | CEOKID Magazine is published by For Her Media Frisco, Texas 75033 | +1-972-302-9150

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER A PIVOT FOR GREATER PURPOSE AND IMPACT Crazy. Unpredictable. Chaotic. Powerful. Those are the words I would use to describe the last two years. Like many of you, CEOKID Magazine had to pivot. For the past two years, we have been working behind the scenes to revamp and reposition our brand in a quest to reach more kidpreneurs, increase our impact and redefine our purpose. We aim to be more than a publication, but a true community for kidpreneurs that connects, educates and equips. We are beyond excited to finally be back to carry out the mission we started with even higher purpose. Before our break, we interviewed eight amazing kids who are trailblazers in philanthropy, education, culinary arts, literature, business and film. We interviewed Jahkil Jackson, founder of Project I Am, an organization that has been working tirelessly to increase homelessness awareness and bring hope in the form of “Blessing Bags.” We also highlighted Gabriel Benitez who is building houses through the Build a Miracle organization. We spoke to Amara Leggett, the 19 year old college graduate and corporate speaker. Read their stories and so many more in our Winter 2022 issue.

Vonna Matthews

Publisher, Vonna Matthews




Three Fun Habits to

TAKE INTO 2022 1 Laugh at yourself. We all make mistakes and life can be stressful. Try not to take yourself so seriously. Let your hair down and enjoy a little chuckle at your own expense.

2. Breathe. This may not sound like fun, but taking a moment to just enjoy being will promote peace and help reduce anxiety. Enjoying the moment helps you smile. Isn’t that fun?

3. Put yourself out there. Sure, you may make a mistake, but allowing others to see parts of you that you hide can be invigorating. If it isn’t perfect, it’s okay to laugh. You’re amazing!

Best Selling Author


When you think of a life coach and motivational speaker, a teenager may not come to mind. That has not stopped young author and founder of Big Idea Kid Coaching, Arianna Fox. Since she was six years old, Arianna has been empowering others to manifest their wildest dreams. CEOKID Magazine spoke to Arianna about working with her family’s business, Splash Designworks as a Junior Marketing Director, and how it prepared her for a career as a motivational speaker and author. Tell us about Big Ideas Kid Coaching. What do you do? Big Ideas Kid Coaching was created to inspire, empower and educate youth and other people on a professional level. It’s more of a beginning to a larger end in mind, and includes authoring and writing, CEOKID



coaching, hosting and inspirational speaking along with youth mentoring, specifically with life coaching and life skills. What was the defining moment that ignited you to start Big Ideas Kid Coaching? I have always had a passion for inspiring people, and when I was younger, I didn’t know how I could get the opportunity to inspire, motivate, energize, and encourage others. But one day, when I was about nine years old, my parents woke me up and asked me, “What if you did inspirational speaking?” I immediately said, “YES!” and we got to creating a brand for Big Ideas Kid Coaching to motivate people on a professional level.

I have always had a passion for inspiring people, and when I was younger, I didn’t know how I could get the opportunity to inspire, motivate, energize, and encourage others.

Photo Credit: Maggie Shirk Photography

Since I was extremely young, I have come up with pretend characters and acted them out, which is also why I’m an actress and voiceover talent, haha. You are a published author of two books, The Princess Chronicles: Not Your Average Princesses and False Awakening: Is It a Dream? or Reality? Tell us what these two books are about. False Awakening is my bestselling sci-fi novel for teens, tweens, young adults, and adults about a man who is in a dream within a dream within a dream, and joins a Rebellion and fights against an evil tyrant. It has sort of a mind-bending The Matrix feel to it, leaving one questioning, “Which reality am I actually in?” The Princess Chronicles is a watercolorillustrated children’s book about princesses who are learning kindness, friendship, forgiveness, trust, honesty, teamwork, and even more important CEOKID



qualities. My last book is one about which I am extremely excited, Sabre Black, which I published in September of 2021. It is about a race of winged people called Andorians, and it’s a sci-fi/fantasy novel for teens and young adults to inspire them and help them understand and identify who they really are, and who they should be. In all of us, we struggle to find out who we really are, and the constant fight between what’s good and what’s not. In the book, the good are called serahs; the bad are called cendars. Sabre Black is born a cendar, yet fights for the serahs. Is she good? Is she bad? Is she both? Stay tuned!

Describe your writing process? How do you develop your characters? I love this question! I tried a new system that works very well: Plot first (develop characters, storyline, major events, and the handy fifteen beats of Save the Cat! Writes a Novel [I very highly recommend it]), then write after. When developing my characters and major events for my latest book, Sabre Black, I wrote it all down in color-coded markers on big pieces of butcher paper and we brainstormed ideas about them, as well as pasts, backstories, and relations/relationships with other characters in the book. What inspired you to become an author? Since I was extremely young, I have come up with pretend characters and acted them out, which is also why I’m an actress and voiceover talent, haha. I have always loved writing. One day I told my parents I wanted to become a published author when I grow up, and my parents asked me, “Why when you grow up? Why not now?” Since that time, we’ve been working on writing and publishing books and have literally umpteen unpublished writing works. Also, I’ve been a long time contributor for KISH Magazine, and hold a National Award with the NFPW (National Federation of Press for Women) along with many awards with the DPA (Delaware Press Association).

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to become an author? There’s no such thing as a bad story idea; if you have an idea for a story, write it out! Make that your passion and dream – and make it a reality. And it’s never, ever too early to achieve your dreams to write, publish a book, or accomplish whatever your dreams and goals are! Just know that if you work hard to make your dreams and goals a reality, you will reap the rewards. You are a motivational speaker who inspires kids to dream big now. What is the first step to pursuing your dreams? If your dream is something that you can achieve now (e.g. become a published author or an actress, kidpreneur, etc.), then start researching right away, and get involved with your dream profession as soon as possible. Network, connect with other like-minded dreamers and doers to help propel your success! If your dreams are something that you can only achieve once you’re an adult (e.g. professional basketball player, etc.), start learning and researching right away. Use your time to process your dream by soaking up as much as you can so that you’ll be ready and prepared when you hit that age, and can make an impact. And then your dreams won’t be waiting on you – you’ll be waiting on the manifestation of your dreams. Either way, the more you learn and research, the more prepared you’ll be – and the more opportunities you will get.


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Parents Corner Information & Tips to Help Cultivate Your Future Leader

Legacy is not preparing the next generation to walk in your footsteps, but equipping them to leave their own. CEOKID Magazine

Parents Corner Digital Safety and Cyberbullying Prevention Tips for Students By The Center for Cyber Safety and Education As parents, we’re ready, willing and able to make sure that our children are safe. So, as we start to plan for our kids heading back to school, we may worry that we can’t monitor their surfing habits or prevent them from becoming victims of cyberbullying. Worry no more: Here are tips on how to ensure your kids are safe online. Create a digital safety plan together. According to a study by Salesforce on children’s internet usage, a shocking 40 percent of kids have connected with a stranger online, with 53 percent of those having revealed their phone numbers. (You can also study the results from an internet usage study we did with kids). Sit your kids down and explain the dangers of giving identifying information, such as phone numbers and home addresses, to people they don’t personally know. Tailor the discussion to your kid’s age, but it’s really not too early to tell them that many people online claim to be someone they’re not and, while pretending to be someone else can be fun, some of these people may




be pretending for all the wrong reasons. Set aside time with your children to learn about internet safety, particularly cyberbullying and safe internet practices. (We have videos and other resources— including comic books!—that will make it fun for everyone.) By doing this together, they can ask questions along the way, making it easier for them to absorb why and how they can protect themselves online. They’ll also be invested and more likely to stick to safety guidelines they’ve had a hand in creating. Help them understand cyberbullying. Ensure your children know that cyberbullying can happen to anyone. They need to understand this so cyberbullies don’t have any power over them. Teach your children the signs of cyberbullying so they know what to do if it happens to them or a friend. Cyberbullies might threaten their targets, publish embarrassing pictures without permission and call people names as part of their attack on someone else’s well-being online.




Teach your children that if they ever encounter cyberbullies, cyberstalkers or other dangerous people online, they should report these incidents immediately so the proper authorities can be contacted and investigations started. You can also discuss any way they might have bullied someone in the past. Then you can make it clear that name-calling, insults or mocking are never okay. And now that they know better, they can do better. Limit screen time and encourage other interests. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers specific recommendations for screen time limits by age. Children under 13 should be limited to no more than two hours of screen time per day, while teenagers can have up to eight hours on a weekday and ten hours over the weekend, but they need at least three days off from screens each week for their health and well-being. Children and teenagers should also be encouraged to take breaks from screens, go outside, get exercise or do other activities. Encourage their interest in sports or simply being outdoors. Spending time on their creative interests like art or music can also help them flourish as individuals and keep them out of digital harm’s way. Plus, kids who feel confident they’re good at something have better self-esteem and are not easy prey for bullies or predators. Keep up with their social media activity. Practice continuous internet safety

education in your home as the digital channels your kids visit frequently will change over time. Currently, the most popular social media outlets kids use are Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook. Find out how long they’ve been using each site, and if they’re using the cyberbullying features on these social media platforms. Discuss why they should never post sensitive information, including their school location or name, without approval from a parent first. Agree with your kids that they should seek your permission before downloading any new apps. It’s helpful to get detailed and walk through what’s appropriate (and inappropriate) to post on social media with your kids: Address, no; the ice cream they had last Sunday, yes, etc. Let them ask questions about this or that, and occasionally ask whether they think they should post that and why or why not. Establish an open-door policy— today, tomorrow and beyond—for questions as they think about what they’re sharing online and in games. Make it a house rule that your kids never share their password or other personal information online, even if it’s “just with a friend.” After a great conversation about good ideas and bad ideas, you’ll feel better about sending your student back to school this year—and they’ll feel better about talking through their questions and experiences with you!




“Children see magic because they look for it.” Christopher Moore, writer

The Influencer Impact A Parents Guide to Influencers


Over the past decade, social media personalities have taken the world by storm, influencing the products our children are interested in, how they behave, what they want to be when they grow up, and more. These influencers are exposing children to subtle and overt advertisements and new social trends, and while this type of parasocial relationship is not new - we have seen it in the past with actors and other celebrities - influencers’ feigned authenticity makes their impact even more powerful. How can you, as parents, mitigate the effects of kidfluencers and social media influencers as well as encourage healthy relationships on and offline? Do your kids want to become influencers themselves? We asked an interdisciplinary panel of distinguished experts to weigh in on the motivations and implications of the kidfluencer and influencer age, as well as how you can help your children thoughtfully and carefully navigate the world of young social media stars. It all starts with you. If a child wants to become an influencer, Jennifer Miller, MEd, author of Confident Parents, Confident Kids, suggests that parents “talk about the power and responsibility that it entails, what important boundaries and rules you need to respect as a family, and in which ways your child can contribute.” Miller relays the story of her son, who asked if he could produce unboxing videos, but Miller “set the boundary that he could produce videos that either ‘teach something,’ ‘tell an original story,’ or ‘help someone,’ and offered him examples in his interest areas. Four years later, he publishes videos on YouTube on

ways in which he customizes model trains with his own creativity and has learned extensively about how to manage social media in healthy, constructive ways.” What if my kid wants to be an influencer? “Anybody who has a kid influencer should start with therapy right away - not because you are sick, but because it is an inherently challenging situation,” says Pamela Rutledge, PhD, Director of the Media Psychology Research Center and faculty at Fielding Graduate University. “People equate child fame with the same symptomatology as addiction - first you love it and then you hate it, and then you find out that you can’t live without it. Sometimes trying to keep that level of fame causes you to do things that you wouldn’t otherwise, and it ends with a lot of mental health issues. So while there is a lot of upside to being an influencer, it’s a double edged sword, and only a small portion make enough money to pay the bills.” BE THEIR INFLUENCER Get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations, suggests parent-child psychotherapist Joanna Fortune. “Consider opening a shared social media account and follow some accounts that you can sit and look at together. Express curiosity about the message in posts, the editing in photos, and talk about what is real versus carefully curated.” By being an active part of these conversations, parents can ensure it is their voice, their message and their moral guidance that their children default to rather than other external influencers. CEOKID



What should I watch out for as my child’s followers extend beyond their friend network? It’s very difficult, no matter what your age, to maintain your sense of identity - i.e. what’s my online persona vs. my offline self,” explains Rutledge. “Kidfluencers are showing their fans their authentic self, and if they reveal too much of themselves online, they run the risk of letting the feedback that they get from their fans define their identity, rather than their intrinsic motivations. It’s important that parents closely monitor children who begin to have a presence on social media and help them steer towards their own authentic personalities and interests, and not just what’s getting the best engagement or response from their followers.” Is it OK for my kids to follow their favorite celebrities on social media? In addition to influencers, kids may be interested in following their favorite actors, sports players, or music stars on social media. While these celebrities may have the chance to be a different person on social media than they are when in their television or movie personas, their social media is still often highly curated. It’s normal and natural for children to want to keep up with the rich and the famous -- just like you may have read magazines or put rockstar posters on your walls as a teen -- but it is important that kids understand the “fantasy reel” nature of social media. About Children and Screens Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, informing and educating the public, advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness, and enhancing human capital in the field. For more information, see or write us at CEOKID



“A person's a person, no matter how small.” Dr. Seuss

Winter 2022 Cover Kid






Photo Credit: Charan Ingram


Project I Am At only eight years old, Jahkil Jackson joined the fight against homelessness by creating Project I Am, a 501c3 organization. Jahkil, now 14, was inspired to make a difference in the homeless community after helping his aunt distribute food to the Chicago homeless. Soon, Jahkil began his work to increase awareness of homelessness by offering them what he calls “Blessing Bags,” a giveaway filled with wipes, socks, deodorant, hand sanitizer, granola bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, bottled water, and more. CEOKID spoke to Jahkil about his work with with Project I Am and his mission to help kids fight bullying. Tell us about Project I Am. What do you do and who do you serve? Project I AM is a non-profit organization that was started to build awareness to the homeless issue we have in the world. Project I Am is now two-fold, in addition to building awareness we also work with youth to find their service passion. Project I Am services people impacted by homelessness as well as youth. To date, CEOKID

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Project I Am has impacted nearly 70,000 people in need and have worked with hundreds of aspiring youth change-makers. What was the defining moment that inspired you to start Project I Am? The spark came when I was five while I was passing out chili to the homeless in Chicago with my aunt and cousins. Over the years, I never let that experience go so I bugged my parents all the time about it, so much that my family helped me put together an event where my friends and family could put together toiletry bags. We made 88 bags the first time and haven’t looked back since then. During the pandemic, I had to change the way we did the blessing bag packing parties. We went from doing one packing party with lots of volunteers every month to me, my mom and my dad making blessing bags in our living room, while my grandmother would make the deliveries to local shelters. Four months of this got boring so I came up with the idea of getting on a Zoom call with my friends, and we all make blessing bags together.

To date, Project I Am has impacted nearly 70,000 people in need and have worked with hundreds of aspiring youth changemakers. That turned into quarterly virtual packing parties where I ship kits to kids across the country and we all jump on Zoom and make thousands of blessing bags, all at the same time. The most has been 234 kids from 55 cities creating 5,000 blessing bags this past Giving Tuesday. Congratulations on your many awards and honors including the Children’s Museum Power of Children Award, BET’s 15 under 15 and many more. What does receiving awards for your work mean to you? It feels good to see my work is being acknowledged but the awards don’t really motivate me because that is not why I do what I do. I do my service work to help people. Congratulations on writing your first bestselling book, I Am. I Am empowers kids and adults to stand up to bullying. Tell us about your own experiences with bullying. What inspired you to turn your experiences into a book? When I was in sixth and seventh grade, I experienced verbal and physical bullying. It was a really tough time for me. While I did not wish for a pandemic to happen, I was happy to have to be at home instead of at school where the bullying took place. Quarantine allowed plenty of time for me to reflect and think

about what was happening at school and with the support of my family, I was able to feel relief, happiness and whole. I already had a goal for 2020 to write a book, so I felt that was the perfect time to start creating. The process of writing my book was exciting because it was fun, light-hearted but still had a message, it was intended to help young people get through the tough times of bullying. After releasing the book and getting the chance to speak with my readers, I felt accomplished in the impact that I had created. Your organization is based in Chicago. How can kids across the world get involved with Project I Am and the fight against homelessness? I have actually been fortunate enough to work with kids nationwide and even abroad by way of the virtual packing parties. I have also done guest speaking virtually for many other cities and countries. I would love to get more kids globally in this fight against homelessness with me. Kids who are interested in being involved can visit my website, check out the mission, goals and accomplishments and click the Contact tab. That form comes directly to my email and we can get started from there!




It feels good to see my work is being acknowledged but the awards don’t really motivate me because that is not why I do what I do. I do my service work to help people. Photo Credit: Charan Ingram

What advice do you have for kids who want to make a difference in their communities today? My advice would be to go into something that you actually want to do. Don’t do anything that you are not really passionate about. If you have not identified a passion yet, try volunteering for some different projects to see what sparks you. Once you find that passion point, brainstorm on how to make that a life path.

Where do you see Project I Am in five years? In five years, I will be 19 years old. I see Project I Am in the forefront of demolishing homelessness. I also see more Tiny Home communities nationally. What do you like to do when you’re not doing philanthropic work? When I am not working on Project I Am, outside of school and basketball, I like to catch up on shows that I may have

Photo Credit: Project I Am

missed, watch NBA Games, make Tik Tok videos, hang out with friends, play video games, and get some needed sleep!




The Truman Bar

Truman Wilson

Turning His Love for All Things Chocolate into a Sweet Business


t 11 years old, Truman Wilson was inspired after watching an episode of Shark Tank to start his own business. With a selfproclaimed obsession with chocolate and the Willy Wonka movie, Truman started his own chocolate bar company, The Truman Factory. With a secret sauce that sets the Truman Bar apart from other chocolate bars, a corporate partnership, support from friends and family, unparalleled grit and a heart to give, Truman has grown his business to a multi-product company in over 80 stores. CEOKID Magazine spoke to Truman before the pandemic to learn the key to his success and how he got started as a kidpreneur. The Truman Factory is a lifestyle brand? What does that entail? What are your products and services? The Truman Factory turns six this year, and has grown and transformed as I have gotten more into gaming, streaming and other things that interests me and my Gen Z customers. I very much wanted to transform my branding, increase my product mix and improve my prize system to be more relevant and fun to a national Gen Z gamer audience. We engaged with a branding company that CEOKID



understands my market and my father found a great gummy maker in San Antonio to make additional products. We spent most of the pandemic re-tooling my business and we relaunched the new Truman Factory June of 2021. We increased from one milk chocolate Truman Bar to a dark chocolate Truman Bar and three gummy flavors, all with golden tickets! What is the inspiration behind The Truman Factory? A few years ago, I was watching Shark Tank with my family and I saw some kids on the episode. I thought, if other kids can start a business, I probably could, too. In thinking about what I wanted to do, I decided to start a chocolate business since chocolate is my favorite candy, and I’m obsessed with it. Also, Willy Wonka was my favorite movie at the time so I thought it would be a cool idea to recreate it. We found a manufacturer in Long Island called Nassau Candy to produce and wrap the bars for us. Briefly walk us through how you got started building your own company. Once I had the idea, I pitched it to my dad and he was totally for it. We got started coming up with the concept, name and logo. We also worked to find a manufacturer for

Once I had the idea, I pitched it to my dad and he was totally for it. selling my single Truman Bar. That was done over four years by lots of sales pitches to stores on the weekends, my dad driving all over Dallas, me setting up demo tables and educating customers about my product. I learned a lot about sales.

the product. We found Nassau Candy, and they helped us get into our first store. While we were trying to figure out the chocolate part of it, we had to also figure out the prize part of it. Nassau Candy helped us produce the golden ticket experience and then we had to build software to create the codes for the wrappers. Every candy bar has its own unique variable code imprinted on the back of the wrapper in the form of a big ticket. We load prizes into the software so anyone who opens up the wrapper goes to our website and checks a code to see if they win something. On our website, we have a list of all of the prizes like gaming consoles and experiences like Mavericks tickets. It’s a mix of techie stuff and culture. That’s the secret sauce of the Truman Bar. Truman Bar is in several stores across the metroplex. Describe the process for getting your chocolate bars into stores. Before the pandemic hit in early 2020 we were in about 100 stores across the metroplex and in Gopuff

During the pandemic, most of those locations closed so it was an opportune time to pull back and remake the brand. Since we relaunched, we have expanded nationwide by selling to gaming centers, using online wholesale websites, and we have built out a great online store on our website. This month we just started our own stores on Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub in Dallas. You have a profit sharing partnership with Vogel Alcove, an organization that provides services for children dealing with homelessness. Why is the fight against homelessness so important to you? It's important for me to give back to kids and teens that need help. The Truman Bars are my original Dallas candy so I wanted to pick a Dallas charity I believe in. When we first started, we visited a few non-profit organizations that help kids and I really liked what Vogel Alcove does for homeless kids. We have been supporting them with Truman Bar sales for over five years. For the new gummy flavors, we picked a national non-profit called Friends of Kids who supply paid mentors to K-12. CEOKID





asha Olsen is working to save our planet, one ocean at a time. A summer trip to Asia with her mom changed the way she sees the world, and our role in eliminating pollution and preserving our environment. At only ten years old, Olsen started Iwantmyoceanback to spread awareness about what we can do to protect our oceans. CEOKID Magazine was excited to catch up with this young activist to learn more about her Iwantmyoceanback movement and her new book of stories chronicling her time at home during the pandemic, Legends from Mom’s Closet. Tell us about the “I Want My Ocean Back” project. What is your mission? What is the project doing to prevent and end ocean pollution? My mission for Iwantmyoceanback is to end single-use plastic pollution in the oceans and help people use less waste! Right now, I am working on organizing meetings for kids to come together and learn ways to properly recycle and avoid buying unnecessary plastic. I am also collaborating with the city and others to raise awareness. This is the first step! To prevent ocean pollution, I want to make a rule for a plastic free day. This day would be on the first Monday of every month where we don’t use plastic at all. This way people can slowly get used to living without plastic. I actually started a petition to make this happen. I am always thinking of ideas for how we can help the oceans!

What inspired you to launch the project, “I Want My Ocean Back?” Actually, a couple of summers ago I traveled to Asia with my mom and there I started noticing a lot of pollution in the oceans. I would see so much plastic and trash floating in these beautiful seas, and it really upset me. Especially, since I live right by the ocean and it’s basically my backyard. When we got back, I had a lot of trouble being able to go to the beach, because there were a lot of sewage spills happening. I was kind of nervous to swim in the ocean… and I also started finding microplastics everywhere, no matter how clean the beaches were. So, one day I told my mom, “I want my ocean back.” I decided I couldn’t help the oceans alone, so this inspired me to start this movement. First, I asked all my friends to come together and join me, then my mom let me start on social media! What are three things kids can do to help keep the oceans clean? Three things kids can do to help keep the oceans clean: Help your parents stop using singleuse plastics, and recycle the right way. Volunteer for local ocean conservation movements. Always pick up after yourself, and use reusable products. These are just a few ways we kids can help!



By starting small and changing everyday habits, we can show our care for the oceans and the earth.

Photo Credit: Julia Brig



“I Want My Ocean Back” is not just about ocean pollution but protecting the planet as a whole. What are some of the ways we are hurting our environment? What are some new habits we can adopt to take better care of the planet? Definitely. There are a lot of ways we hurt our environment. I see it every day. Producing way too much trash, not recycling, keeping animals in cages, using cars more than bikes… I can go on and on. It’s hard to stop these all at once, but we do have to try to be better. The earth is our home, and we are taking it for granted! There are a lot of things we can do to take better care of our planet. For example, we can choose to ride bikes or walk instead of cars and buses. At the grocery store, ask for paper bags or bring reusable ones. Buy glass instead of plastic, because it’s much easier to recycle. Don’t litter! By starting small and changing everyday habits, we can show our care for the oceans and the earth. When you start thinking about this first, trying to use less waste is always on your mind. If everyone works on it, we can all make a big difference! How have your travels prior to the pandemic influenced your love for the ocean? Traveling has made me love and appreciate the oceans a lot more. I mean maybe I wouldn’t have started Iwantmyoceanback if I didn’t travel! I’ve seen such beautiful seas, so when I see them suffering because of all the pollution, it just makes me feel stronger about helping.

Through traveling, I realize this is happening everywhere, and we can all do something to help. If we join together from all around the world, we can make a change bigger than we ever imagined! You spoke at the Bal Harbour council meeting a couple of years ago about ocean pollution. What was that experience like? It was amazing! It was my first experience giving such a serious speech! I am so grateful to Mayor Groisman for giving me the opportunity to speak up and share my movement with the city. I also was able to see the government working in real time, which was unforgettable. We actually showed my short movie at our movie on the beach event. I’m looking forward to more moments like this in the future! What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be a voice for a cleaner planet? My advice to kids is to believe that we have power. If we want something, we can convince our parents to do it for us. So, this means that we have to speak up. We are the voice of our generation and we are the future! Even if you feel nervous, don’t be afraid to raise your voice. Make sure that you know what you want to share with the world and be confident. Plan it out and reach out to people to support you. Believe in what you say and show people why we need to help our planet. To save our planet is going to take a lot of change and togetherness, so we need more kids to stand up. We have to be the change!




Mariah Bozeman

Teen Actress and Rising Star On Her Budding Career


hirteen-year-old Mariah Bozeman is more than an up and coming actress. She is a model, fitness instructor, national championship winning cheerleader, dancer and Black Lives Matter advocate. In 2021, she made her film debut in the Netflix psychological thriller, The Woman in The Window starring Marvel’s Anthony Mackie and Amy Adams. CEOKID Magazine caught up with Mariah Bozeman to discuss her budding television and film career. In 2019, you played Keisha Jones on NBC’s “Chicago Med.” For kid actors who want to pursue a career in television, walk us through the audition process. Auditions are fun and crazy! Usually I don’t find out until a day or two before when my agent (Jenny Wilson from Stewart Talent) sends the script to me. I have to read through the script at least three times according to my acting Coach, Jossie Harris. Then I try to understand the character, learn the lines, and practice. I usually work with Jossie before auditions to perfect my method. I had to have a seizure in the scene. I had never seen a seizure so that took some work. There are a ton of people going for the part. I got called back to audition a second time with a smaller group and then found out that I

Photo Credit: Liz Calhoun



No one I have met has the same story. You are going to have to work hard and take it seriously. Being able to take direction is the most important part.



got the part! I always remember that there are more "no's than yes's" in this business. I am grateful for the roles that are for me and the experience the opportunity gives me. Describe your experience working on the set of the NBC hit show, “Chicago Med”? I loved it! I was lucky enough to have my own trailer. My great grandma was on set with me the second day and everyone treated her like a queen. I had a burn applied by makeup which was sooooooooo cool. You have to shoot every scene from different angles so I had to ace the role the same way each time. Everyone on set was so nice. CEOKID



What sparked your love for acting? My cousins Morgan and Marcus Martin sparked my love for acting. Marcus was a film student and Morgan is an actress. They both believed in me and I wanted to be awesome like them. Marcus passed away when I was only five so he never got to see me act but I believe that he is always helping me. I did an open audition for a commercial on a director's website and got the role. My godfather, Ray Austin, sent some of my pictures to Stewart Talent and I interviewed with them. I was signed that day!

As a teen actor, a national championship winning cheerleader, dancer, model and fitness instructor, describe your typical day. There really is no typical day because of the things that I do. I wake up at 5 am on school days to catch the school bus. Sometimes I have to leave school early for auditions. I take the bus to meet my sister Amirah after school. Depending on the night, I may have tumbling class, cheer practice (Technique GEMS), lots of homework and to study a script. I am proud to say that I maintain all A’s and B’s because I take school seriously. You have a diverse acting career which includes roles on television, in commercials, a web series and film. Do you have a favorite genre? Why or why not? I think that TV and movies are my favorite. I like getting to know people and characters. What is your key to managing a budding acting career with deadlines, school, extracurricular activities and your social life? I have a lot of help! My mom takes care of my schedule. My dad takes me to tumbling. My Aunt Michelle takes me to most of my auditions. I try to think through my week with my mom to make sure we don't miss anything. She says that I think she is my personal assistant, lol. I try not to stay up too late but

sometimes I can't help it. What advice do you have for a teen actor who wants to pursue a career in acting? I think that you should get a good acting coach. Even though my coach came after I was signed, I have seen how she is able to help people prepare to get agents and be ready for this business. No one I have met has the same story. You are going to have to work hard and take it seriously. Being able to take direction is the most important part. As we’ve discussed, you have a diverse acting career. Is there any project you want to work on that you haven’t so far? I would like to be a regular on a TV show. I want the experience of getting to know a character and being a part of a TV family. What’s next for Mariah Bozeman? I will continue to strengthen my cheer skills as an All Star Cheerleader and perfect my acting craft, by training with my acting coach Jossie Thacker; so I will always be prepared for auditions and future roles. I’m also manifesting a series regular role, hoping to work with Zendaya or Storm Reid and absolutely ANYTHING with Shonda Rhimes! LOL





Photo Credit: Brian Jones Photography




Jasmine Stewart is the season 5 winner of MasterChef Junior. Combining her Caribbean and southern roots to create bright and flavorful dishes, Jasmine took her experience from the ground breaking cooking series and built a brand that is as much about empowerment as it is cooking. CEOKID Magazine spoke to Jasmine about her career following her historical win and why she is using her platform to help young girls realize and live out their worth. What ignited your love for cooking? My parents ignited my love for cooking. My dad is from Jamaica and my mom is from Virginia. They would cook with a lot of spices and such flair that I asked them to teach me how to cook. I then started watching the Food Network and reading cookbooks. That’s what sparked it. How would you describe your cooking style? What are some of your favorite dishes to make? My cooking style is very bright and creative. I use a lot of bright flavors. I Iove putting unexpected flavors together and making the final dish taste great. One of my favorite dishes is curry spiced salmon. I do it with basmati rice and kale. I love it because it highlights both sides of my family. I am always down to try new dishes.

How has your cooking changed since competing on MasterChef Junior? My cooking has changed a lot since being on the show. You can’t help but learn a lot of different techniques. For example, my knife skills are better. My palette is also a lot wider. Gordon Ramsay taught me different tricks that you can only learn from him. Another cool thing is that I have learned to manage my time. You are under time limits. I am a lot more used to making various dishes in a short time. What is the coolest thing you’ve done as a chef since winning Season 5 of MasterChef Junior? I can’t pick one thing but a few are, I filmed my own cooking class called Jasmine’s Delightful Desserts. It was cool to film my own class. I’ve also had the opportunity to be on the Junior Chef Council for Great Wolf’s Lodge. Me and other chefs redesigned their kids menu. To work with them on a national scale was awesome. We got to show them some cool things you can do with foods that people don’t normally put together. Tell us about “Let Your Inner Girl Slay.” What is your mission and how are you inspiring young girls? It is my personal mission. It is a slogan I created after the show. I realized that if you have a platform you should use it for good. Girls my age struggle with self-



My parents ignited my love for cooking. My dad is from Jamaica and my mom is from Virginia. They would cook with a lot of spices and such flair that I asked them to teach me how to cook.

Photo Credit: Shatakia Niles

esteem. I teach that what matters is who you are on the inside. Know that your worth is not defined by what someone else says. I want young girls to be okay with who they are and what they do. It has been awesome doing keynote speaking and motivational speaking. I think it has helped people. I have been able to launch products and show in a tangible way how girls can let their inner girl slay. Where do you see the Just Chef Jasmine brand in five years? I definitely see myself continuing what I am doing on a larger scale. Eventually I would like to have my own cooking show or get into acting. I would love to host my own show and continue to cook. I

Jasmine Stewart pictured with Master Chef Graham Elliott

want to grow my platform, Let Your Inner Girl Slay. I would love to end up on TV again. I always want to continue to be a positive influence on young kids. What advice do you have for kids who want to compete on reality competition shows? I would say one hundred percent be yourself. I think that is one of the best things you can do. When you are yourself you come off as more genuine. If you want to have a better time, just be yourself. Being authentic comes across on camera when you are competing. Just live in the moment when you are competing, and focus on yourself. CEOKID



“I teach that what matters is who you are on the inside. Know that your worth is not defined by what someone else says. I want young girls to be okay with who they are and what they do.”

Jasmine Stewart is pictured here with former Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Bottoms

Photo Credit: Shatakia Niles









So, in order to inspire more kids to get in the kitchen, I invited my fellow kid chef friends to be part of my group, and the Taste Buddy Program was born.

Photo Credit: Creative Soul Photography


he last time we spoke to Julian Frederick, founder of Step Stool Chef, was in 2018 for our premiere CEOKID Magazine issue. At just 10 years old, Julian was already building a culinary empire. In 2020, as a part of his pivot, Julian started the Step Stool Chef Taste Buddies, a global culinary platform (and now membership), that allows kid chefs from all over the world to connect while teaching aspiring young chefs how to cook. CEOKID Magazine caught up with the now teen chef to see what he’s been up to since making his CEOKID debut. What have you been up to since your last CEOKID interview in 2018? Since 2018, The Step Stool Chef has found many new avenues to explore, such as previously making a deal with an international food-tech company named SideChef to launch Step Stool Chef OnDemand Cooking Classes for Kids. It featured step-by-step instructional videos for different skills and recipes built to teach kids the fundamental skills they need to be independent in the kitchen. We’ve also been able to launch a group made up of kid chefs from all over the world. Both of these new avenues significantly paved the road for an exciting new addition to The Step Stool Chef. What is the Taste Buddies program? The Taste Buddies program is made up of several kid chefs from all around the world. I started this program in 2020 to



inspire kids all over the world. We had kid chefs from Japan, Canada, India, and the US. Through the Taste Buddies, we share cooking recipes, videos, and kid hacks that help kids be more independent in the kitchen. What inspired you to start Taste Buddies? During the COVID-19 quarantine, we noticed that so many families were staying at home, yet not a lot of kids got the chance to cook in the kitchen. Since everyone was busy at home, it became even more important for kids to learn how to cook because parents were busy with work. So, in order to inspire more kids to get in the kitchen, I invited my fellow kid chef friends to be part of my group, and the Taste Buddies Program was born. What’s next for the Taste Buddies? To achieve the goal of inspiring kids across the world to cook, we have turned the Taste Buddies into a Membership Program for Step Stool Chef. Our members will have access to our private library of on-demand cooking recipes, videos, and tips taught by our team of global kid chefs. It will also feature hands-on activities and challenges as well as monthly live cook-alongs where members can cook with our team and ask them questions to grow their culinary knowledge. This membership program will create an international community for kid independence through cooking.

TASTE BUDDIES Become a Member Social: @stepstoolchef



Photo Credit: Dagny Thompson




I REALLY LOVE BAKING. I FIND IT SO SATISFYING TO MIX THE DRY AND WET INGREDIENTS WHEN BAKING. What inspired you to start cooking? I really like to take different ingredients and mix them together to make something really yummy. I find cooking and baking really exciting and it makes me happy to be in the kitchen. Also, I just really like to eat good food! I’m a kid foodie. How would you describe your cooking style? I’m not sure I have a particular style. I love cooking. I really love baking. I find it so satisfying to mix the dry and wet ingredients when baking. Then you pop it in the oven, bake it, and you have something amazing at the end. What is your favorite or signature dish to make? Cakes and cupcakes! I love decorating them to make them look really beautiful and elegant. One of my goals is to become really talented at cake decorating. What do you love most about being a Step Stool Chef Taste Buddy? I really like learning from other kid chefs. I’ve made new friends from around the world who like to cook and bake just like me. Being a Taste Buddy has given me so many opportunities to do and learn new things. Best of all, it’s a lot of fun.

Who is your chef hero and why? I really likae Gordon Ramsay. He’s a really good chef and I like his personality. He’s really serious but also funny and seems kind. He also owns many successful restaurants and I too would like that when I’m an adult. I also really like Jamie Oliver and his son Buddy. I follow them both on Instagram and have made so many of the recipes they make. They are both so good in the kitchen and I’ve learned so much from them both. Buddy is the same age as me so it’s great to see that. What role will cooking play in your career goals? I hope to go to culinary school to learn all about cooking and baking. I also would love to have my own cooking show. My show would be called “Cooking with Ayo” and it would be on the Food Network. I also hope to travel to different countries to explore different food and cooking styles. I really would love to go to Mexico to learn more about Mexican cooking and cuisine. Also, one day I want to have my own fine dining restaurant, my own bakery, and even maybe a food truck.


Photo Credit: 38SHOTS by 38Creatives




IN THE FUTURE – I HOPE TO TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD COOKING AND BAKING WITH INTERNATIONAL CHEFS… What inspired you to start cooking? I get asked this a lot… and it is so hard for me to answer… as I have been in the kitchen ever since I can remember. I would sit in the sink and help Mum wash the vegetables when I was a baby… I progressed to kneading – and once I started kneading I couldn’t stop!! How would you describe your cooking style? I`ve been influenced by both my Asian roots and my New Zealand roots so my style of cooking is very mixed. (Asian/Kiwi fusion) What is your favorite or signature dish to make and why? It is very hard to pick a signature dish as I love to challenge myself to make something new all the time. But I do love baking coffee cakes. I really like using coffee in my cooking. I feel like it really brings out the flavor. What do you love most about being a Step Stool Chef Taste Buddy? I can try new recipes from different countries and also I can make new friends from all around the world. (Such as the USA and Canada). I feel like we are beginning to become a family and I know one day we will be able to cook together in real life! That would be so amazing.

Who is your chef hero and why? Definitely Chelsea Winter and Nadia Lim because they are both from New Zealand and have both won MasterChef New Zealand (MasterChef and MasterChef Junior are two of my favorite cooking shows). Chelsea Winter and Nadia Lim both have amazing cookbooks with awesome recipes that I love using. Their recipes gave me the confidence to try new and technical dishes. I am also very grateful to have an amazing chef living closeby, Chef Anthony from Britain. He often gives me cooking lessons and teaches me special cooking techniques and advice. What role will cooking play in your future career goals? Cooking has given me a lot of amazing opportunities including, of course, being a Step Stool Chef Taste Buddy, and being able to work for the global brand Otafuku. I have also been able to meet and interview a Michelin star chef, Thomas Frebel. In the future – I hope to travel around the world cooking and baking with international chefs, learning more about different cultures through food. I also hope I can influence more kids to get into the kitchen and give cooking a try!


Photo Credit: Machiko Cole




I WANT TO HAVE A TV SHOW, A RESTAURANT, LOTS OF COOKBOOKS AND CONTINUE TO SHARE AND INSPIRE! What inspired you to start cooking? My parents inspired me to start cooking. They are always in the kitchen, which made me want to go in there and join the fun. I love to cook for people and make them smile! Also, I am actually a picky eater, so cooking let's me know what goes into my food! How would you describe your cooking style? Creative, Kid-friendly, Asian-American fusion! I love making food art also! What is your favorite or signature dish to make and why? My Mini Bake-licious egg bites, because I love cracking eggs (especially with one hand!) and love that we can change the ingredients every time! I also love using potatoes in my recipes, and oh let's not forget I LOVE making whipped cream!

What do you love most about being a Step Stool Chef Taste Buddy? I love the interaction with other awesome chefs on our team! I learn so much from them and they are like my cooking family! Who is your chef hero and why? My daddy! Because he is so creative and teaches me a lot of cooking tips! And his food is fun because he always surprises us with different flavors and recipes. Mommy cooks "normal" food (which is delicious too!). What role will cooking play in your future career goals? I want to have a TV show, a restaurant, lots of cookbooks and continue to share and inspire!


Photo Credit: Libby Meguerian




I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE MY OWN RESTAURANT ONE DAY! I’D LIKE TO BE ABLE TO WORK WITH LOTS OF CHEFS WHILE I AM GROWING UP… What inspired you to start cooking? I have loved cooking for as long as I can remember. As a really little kid I was always helping my parents in the kitchen or playing with my toy kitchen. My parents always let me help and as I got older I was able to do more and more on my own. My favourite part about cooking is seeing the reactions of the people eating the food I have made. How would you describe your cooking style? I don't know how I would describe my cooking style. I try to learn a variety of dishes and techniques from cooking to baking and am always trying to improve my cooking skills. What is your favorite or signature dish to make and why? My favourite thing to make is pancakes. I like making fun designs, flipping them and my family has a great recipe so they are always delicious! What do you love most about being a Step Stool Chef Taste Buddy? My favourite thing about being a Step Stool

Chef Taste Buddy is getting the opportunity to connect with other kid chefs from around the world who love cooking as much as I do. I also love getting to encourage kids to be more active in the kitchen. Who is your chef hero and why? It is very hard to pick just one chef hero, I look up to so many. Some of my favourites are Gordon Ramsay, Matty Matheson and Brad Leone. I like that they are so talented in their own way and that they are all trying to share their skills...I love watching all of their videos! What role will cooking play in your future career goals? I would love to have my own restaurant one day! I'd like to be able to work with lots of chefs while I am growing up so I can learn as much as I can. Hopefully my restaurant will be really popular and I can watch everyone enjoying my food!

Photo Credit: Nadia Leggett of Leggett Legend Photography


Amara Leggett Taking advantage of a dual enrollment program at her school, Amara Leggett graduated from high school and college at 16 years old. At just 19, Amara has a B.S. in Computer Science, is a Tedx Talk speaker, an author, and an entrepreneur who helps kids and adults leverage the resources around them to make the impossible possible. She is now the founder of A Young Legend, a consulting firm, and the Dual Enrollment Company which helps students graduate early and debt-free. Amara spoke to CEOKID Magazine about the power of learning to start from nothing, and the three components that she believes are vital to any plan. Congratulations on graduating from high school and college at 16 years old. Walk us through how you accomplished that and how graduating early has impacted your life. When dual enrollment first rolled out in my state to allow students as young as seventh grade to take college classes for free, it was

a no-brainer for me to take advantage of the program. At the time, I didn't understand everything that dual enrollment could provide. For example, I was an eighth grader going to a dual enrollment meeting to talk about taking college classes for free, but I wouldn't know all of the doors it would open for me until after I graduated. Getting your associate's degree is really beneficial to getting a four year degree. A student could get an associate’s degree for free and then get a job. Or if someone wanted to go on a career track, they could specialize in one field. The dual degree program is a really great opportunity for people to get a free college education. Tell us about your life as an entrepreneur. Describe your many roles and how you got started. I got started when I launched my blog. I was about to graduate from two schools and I wanted to start telling others how they could do it, too. During that time, I learned how to build a business without using social media which involved a lot of networking CEOKID

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I learned how to build a business without using social media which involved a lot of networking and being genuine about wanting to help people in my community.

and being genuine about wanting to help people in my community. One of the first things I did to get started was to reach out to the president of my college to be an ambassador for the school and represent the dual enrollment student body. I did that for a while, and learned about being an advocate for education. My work as an education advocate afforded me the opportunity to deliver a Tedx Talk which was on my to do list for that year. Doing the Tedx Talk launched my speaking business. As soon as I got off the stage of my Tedx Talk, I was offered a job and many speaking opportunities. One of my first paid speaking engagements was for a corporate conference. From there, I released a book which allowed me to talk about things I couldn’t talk about on stage. I taught people how to leverage the resources around them to access success. What does your company, A Young Legend do? I have different services. My services expand

all of the time, because I never know what I can teach people until they ask. Consulting is one of my services. I help with a variety of things, dual enrollment is the biggest one. A lot of people reach out to me to see how their kids can participate in dual enrollment and what unconventional ways they can pursue advanced education and business. I do speaking engagements for corporate organizations to small groups. I also have my book, as well as free information like my three step guide to graduate early and my three step guide to start a business. You are the author of The Strategic Mind of a Young Legend. What is this book about and what inspired you to write it? I think there's a great quote by Beverly Cleary that sums it up. “If you don't see the book you want on the shelf, write it.” That entails everything I was feeling when I wrote the book. And really when I look back on it, I don't know how I wrote that book. There was some inspiration in me that allowed me to write it.


Stay focused on the one goal and the one opportunity you have in mind. You want to remind yourself of what you are fighting for, what you're going after. The book teaches people how to leverage the resources around them to gain access to success in their lives. One of them is making a strategic plan, which was big for me when I started dual enrollment. I made a two year plan to graduate early, and things changed along the way. I had to change classes but I stayed consistent to my end goal. I didn't want to graduate at 17, I wanted to graduate at 16, and sometimes that is where it starts. You come up with this crazy goal and you know you have to become the person who can achieve that goal. It will take a lot of personal development, but if you stick to it, the results will come. You teach aspiring entrepreneurs how to create a plan to accomplish their goals. What are three components that are vital to any plan? One component is a dream. When we start to get older, we have all these things coming at us that tell us we're not supposed to dream big anymore. And I think that's why the perspective of kids is so valuable. Kids don't see the limits yet. So make the impossible possible by first coming up with a dream.

That's really important, too, because you can see the tasks that you can do each day to get to your goal in a year. That was really important for me when making my education goal. I made goals for each semester. I had to break down what classes I was taking at my high school, and my college. I also had to do volunteer hours so I had to put that in my plan. My goals had to be attainable and specific with what I wanted. That goes along with making a smart goal- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based. The third piece of advice is to write it down and write it down everywhere. Stay focused on the one goal and the one opportunity you have in mind. You want to remind yourself of what you are fighting for, what you're going after. So if you need to, put it on post-it notes or on your mirror. Put it on your refrigerator or put a reminder on your phone. You can make Google Alerts which are daily emails that keep you updated on whatever. Those are the three things that I think are really important starting points.

Next, create attainable steps. Break them down to what you need to do every day, every week, every month.




GABRIEL BENITEZ On His Work to Transform Lives Building One Home at a Time Gabriel Benitez is showing that age is not a factor when working to change the lives of others. For the past few years, he has worked with Build a Miracle, a nonprofit organization that has been building homes for deserving families in Mexico since 1999. From fundraising to actually building the homes, Gabriel believes that there is always something you can do to help others, regardless of age or experience. CEOKID Magazine spoke to Gabriel about his work as a young humanitarian and Kids Board of Director for the kids clothing subscription service, KIDBOX. You were appointed to the Board of Directors for KIDBOX. Tell us more about KIDBOX and what your role on the board entails. KIDBOX is a clothing company that does so much to help others. They have their own subscription boxes, which are full of amazing, brand-new clothes from many well-known brands. With each box purchased, they donate clothing to kids in need. They have been able to donate over $12,500,000 in clothing to kids who need it. I had the amazing opportunity of joining the KIDBOX Kids Board of Directors back in 2019, and have been able to accomplish amazing things because of them. Each kid on the board of directors group was selected based on their humanitarian efforts. We were flown out for a board

meeting in NYC, where we got to connect with other likeminded kids, and discuss ideas to expand our social work. An amazing part of my time on the Kids B.O.D was when KIDBOX gave $10,000 worth of brand-new clothing to each board member to donate to the charity of our choice! Of course, I picked Build A Miracle, which was so fun to do. I gathered a group of volunteers, and went down to Tijuana in December of 2019 to pass out the clothes to many kids in the BAM community. We had a great time down there, and were so thankful to KIDBOX for giving us the opportunity to be able to give early Christmas presents to numerous kids in need! You do a lot of work with Build a Miracle including fundraising and building homes. Tell us more about Build a Miracle and their mission. Who do they serve? Build A Miracle is a non-profit organization that I am very close to that takes $18,000 to build and furnish beautiful homes for families living in dire need in Tijuana, Mexico! The founders’ mission is to take families living in severe poverty and place them in a brand-new house with running water, insulation so they can stay warm, bedrooms with beds for every person, a bathroom with a toilet and shower, and a fully functional kitchen. The charity’s community center supports the families through education and


Seeing the people living in such harsh conditions was very sad, but it was amazing that there was something that we could do to change that.

Photo Credit: KIDBOX anything that you think will change the lives of people, like passing out blessing bags to the homeless, or even going out and picking up trash to reduce pollution. training to help them break their cycle of poverty. In 1999, when the founders Julianne and Chris North created BAM, they had a goal of building one home per year. Since then, they have exceeded their goal, building over 400 homes because of the extreme generosity of many sponsors! How did you get connected with Build a Miracle? Why is their mission and work so important to you? Back in 2017, my former physical education coach introduced Build A Miracle to my school by sharing his experience with the organization. He had a passion for Build a Miracle and thought it would be awesome for our school to sponsor an entire house. After a period of time, and the donations of many people in the school, we were able to raise the funds necessary to build and furnish one house. My family and I went down with other students from my school to physically build this house. The incredible experience of crossing the border, and seeing firsthand how other kids my age were living was eye opening for me. Seeing the people living in such harsh conditions was very sad, but it was amazing that there was something that we could do to change that. That next year, after seeing my sister Daniella, who is only two years older than me, raise money for and complete her first BAM

home, I was inspired to put together my own team to build a home to change the lives of a family who needed it! What advice do you have for kids who want to make a difference in their own communities? So many people can make even the smallest difference in their communities, and they don’t know how easy it is! I would say to just go ahead and do anything that you think will change the lives of people, like passing out blessing bags to the homeless, or even going out and picking up trash to reduce pollution. It doesn’t have to be something very big, as long as you are helping others. It is so simple to help people, and you can do it as much as you want! What are your upcoming projects with Build a Miracle? How can our readers get involved? My goal from the start has always been to do one home a year, but it has grown from there! In the past four years, we have done way more than one home per year. I will always continue to do at least one home a year, and I hope that I can multiply that number in the future. The founders had the same goal to build one house per year in 1999, and have built over 400 homes since then. That is definitely more than one house a year!




Anyone can get involved by donating to my GoFundMe, backgabe, or you can even start building your own house! Visit to learn more!

Photo Credit: Gabriel Benitez




Tips to Make 2022 Your Best Year Ever




Without realizing it, we do the same things over and over without asking why or questioning their validity. Routine can be great for maintaining stability and consistency, but can sometimes threaten creativity and keep us in a comfort zone that stunts growth. One of the best ways to get out of a rut is to simply, get out of a rut. Do something new, something you’ve never done before that will force you to get uncomfortable and stretch your capabilities. It can be a hobby, daring or otherwise, a business venture or a social experiment. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you’ve never done before, and make it fun.

Meet new people. There’s a saying, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.” The kidpreneur network is growing exponentially. As you work to grow your business, be intentional about meeting other kidpreneurs. With social media and technology, you can meet so many amazing kids from around the world. Your network should consists of kidpreneurs you can learn from and others who share similar interests, experiences and ideologies.

REPLACE OUTDATED PRACTICES WITH UPDATED METHODS THAT ARE PROVEN TO WORK This is very similar to trying something new, except it is more methodical and requires assessment. You have to analyze the current practices and procedures you’re using to determine what is working and what isn’t. Don’t just do something, because you’ve always done it. Too often, ideologies and practices are passed down without question. Instead of inheriting old ideas, question their effectiveness. Find and develop new ways of doing things that are cost-effective, streamlined and increase productivity and efficiency.

TRIM YOUR NETWORK Just as we encourage you to be intentional about growing your network. we recommend you put just as much thought and intention into trimming your network. As you grow your business, think about who’s on your team and why. Are you mutually investing in one another’s growth? Is everyone trustworthy and dependable? When it comes to building a healthy network, subtracting can be just as vital as adding.

CELEBRATE YOU! Celebrate your growth and your victories. As you look ahead to what you want to accomplish, take a moment to relish in what you’ve already done. Even if you’re not where you want to be yet, chances are you have done a lot already. Celebrate each step you take forward. You deserve it.




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