One year. Nine kids. Hundreds of free scoops of free ice cream. $45,000 donated. Countless lives impacted. One year ago today, Baskin-Robbins launched the Pint-Sized Heroes Program as a way to honor young people across the country who make a difference in their communities and to show that you don’t have to be a grownup to step up. As a place where kids of all ages gather to celebrate, Baskin-Robbins is committed to shining a bright light on the incredible acts of kindness of “Pint-Sized Heroes” nationwide, in hopes that their stories inspire others to do the same.
In celebration of the one-year anniversary of Pint-Sized Heroes, we’re taking a look back at the nine amazing kids we’ve honored thus far. Keep reading to learn how each of these incredible young people make a difference.
- Liv Khoury of Berkley, MI: This fourth-grade student has taken her love of art and photography and turned it into an opportunity to help those who need it most. Inspired by her daily family walks and recognizing how many people long to be outside, Liv began photographing nature and hosting virtual art shows, selling her prints to raise money for charity. Liv’s fans – located all over the world, from her neighborhood in Michigan to France – have helped her raise over $2,000 in donations for local food banks and nonprofits.
- Joshua Runde of Pompano Beach, FL: When Joshua’s competition at the 2020 VEX Robotics World Championship was cancelled due to COVID-19, the seventh grader instead used his engineering talents to give back. With the help of his robotics coach and the money from his own piggybank, Joshua created 3D-printed face shields and donated hundreds of them to frontline workers from his hometown to the Florida Keys.
- Jahkil Jackson of Chicago, IL: Jahkil has been giving back to his community since he was eight years old and has already founded his own nonprofit. As the creator of “Project I AM,” Jahkil distributes “Blessing Bags” of essential toiletries to the homeless and senior centers in his neighborhood. Despite having asthma, the Chicago native has safely doubled down on his cause and enlisted his family to help him deliver “Blessing Bags.”
- Brayden Pape of San Diego, CA: When eighth grader Brayden realized some of his classmates would miss meals because of school closures during the pandemic, he started collecting thousands of dollars in gift cards and donating groceries to supplement the meals his school distributed to the community. After weeks of reaching out to as many local businesses as he could, Brayden donated over $5,000 worth of food and gift cards to help support local San Diego community children.
- CJ Matthews of Atlanta, GA: CJ’s inspirational story began when he and his family experienced a loss when he was only five years old. His own grief sparked an idea: he wanted to do whatever he could to support other kids who might be dealing with similar feelings of sadness. The idea led CJ to create “Blankies 4 My Buddies,” which has since grown into an organization that brings small tokens of comfort, like cozy blankets, to children dealing with traumatic situations from chronic illnesses to homelessness.
- Natalie Salvatierra of Orange County, CA: When Natalie noticed that many people were struggling with anxiety and mental health issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine, she started the organization Solely Sunshine as a way to help spread positivity. Natalie asked her personal Instagram followers to write and send her letters of encouragement and kindness that she’d print and mail to local mental health facilities. Over time, as more and more people became interested in writing letters to those in need, Natalie created a website so that anyone around the world could quickly and easily contribute and make a difference.
- Kaiyi Yang of Pleasanton, CA: Kaiyi learned that because of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, some students didn’t have the technology needed for distance learning, while others were unable to afford school tuition altogether. Kaiyi then began creating rock art, selling his creations and donating the proceeds to the Valley Montessori’s Community Fund, a fund created by his school to help cover students’ tuition and technology costs.
- Willow Herrera of Lavaca, AK: Inspired by seeing her grandfather and others in the community donate to kids in need during the holidays, Willow began saving all her earnings from selling her homemade jams to donate to children's hospitals and local charities that give back to kids who need it most. Having sold over 250 containers of jam to date, Willow has brightened the holidays for local kids for the past two years and was even able to purchase and donate nearly 1,000 toys with her earnings this past holiday season.
- Jaden Lowery of Grand Prairie, TX: After battling and beating Lymphoma, Jaden told his parents that he would like to give his birthday money to the homeless and hospitals to help others who were in tough circumstances. This led Jaden to create his own nonprofit two years later, Jaden Cares, which provides care and assistance to the homeless and kids with life-threatening illnesses through volunteering and in-kind donations. From providing meals and hygiene products for the homeless to organizing a toy drive for sick children at Cook Children’s Medical Center, Jaden has stepped up for his community in a big way, having assisted approximately 4,000 people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Baskin-Robbins is continuing to recognize young people who are giving back to their communities. If you know someone who deserves to be a Baskin-Robbins Pint-Sized Hero, visit www.pintsizedheroes.com. You can also support the program by donating to the Pint-Sized Heroes Fund at www.joyinchildhoodfoundation.org/baskin-robbins-pint-sized-heroes.