Inspiring True StoriesCommunity
American Girl Magazine July/August 2017
After 10-year-old Naja and her 8-year-old sister Suri heard about destruction in the Bahamas after a hurricane, they wanted to help, especially because their great-grandma lives there. The violent storm had ripped homes apart, including blowing the roof off their great-grandmother’s house. “I felt scared because we didn’t know if Grammy was OK,” Naja says.
The two sisters got busy helping long distance. They emptied their piggy banks to help buy supplies like bottled water and tarps. When their mom returned from delivering supplies to the island, the girls came up with more ways to help.
Naja raised money to buy blankets. Suri held a toy drive at school. Their older brother collected clothes. Over the holidays, their whole family drove to Florida, and then took a boat to the island. They delivered six crates of toys, 100 blankets, and 60 boxes of clothes and other supplies. The family handed them out in person. “The people looked like they hadn’t been happy in a while,” Naja recalls. “It was nice to see them smile.”
Suri says she loved helping with her family. “All the kids’ toys were destroyed, and Christmas was coming,” she says. “I’m only eight years old, and I felt like I made a big difference.”
American Girl Magazine January/February 2017
When 9-year-old Trisha heard about the war happening in Syria, she knew she had to help out. “I felt very sad for the children who lost their families, homes, and childhood,” says Trisha.
Trisha used her artistic talents to create a book that could give hope to Syrian refugees. “I love colors, and I paint from my heart to express my feelings,” she says. The book is written and painted by Trisha and is inspired by her dog, Sunshine. The story follows a puppy and its father traveling around the world and learning about hope, believing in yourself, and never giving up.
Trisha’s story received a gold medal in a book award competition, and Trisha gave a speech at the ceremony. “I was nervous about giving a speech, but I practiced a lot to overcome my fear.” Trisha explains that it’s important to pursue your passion or dream, even if you’re scared. “We all have great power within ourselves to make a difference in the lives of others,” she says.
American Girl Magazine September/October 2015
Annie calls her grandfather “Papa.” But because his memory has faded from Alzheimer’s disease, he can’t remember Annie’s name when she visits. “He has a scrapbook with pictures of all his 35 grandkids in it,” she says. That scrapbook has labels for each picture, which gave Annie an idea when her teacher challenged students to design an app for a national contest.
Just twelve years old at the time, Annie and six close friends—Isabelle, Autumn, Molly, Clare, Ellen, and Bridget—designed an app that would use a smartphone’s camera to recognize people (and even pets). Snap a picture and the app identifies the individual and provides details about him or her.
The girls’ design won both the state and regional contests and $5,000 for their school’s science program.
“When I told Papa about it, he was very proud of us,” Annie says. “It made me feel great, too, mainly because it could help him.”
American Girl Magazine March/April 2016
Skylar loves stuffed animals. “They are always there to comfort you,” she says. When she found stuffed animals in a pile of things that her mom wanted to clear out of the basement, the 12-year-old decided to find the animals a good home. She discovered an organization that gives stuffed animals to cheer up and provide comfort to kids in emergency situations.
Around the same time, Skylar’s school asked students to do community service projects. Skylar wondered if other kids had stuffed animals to donate, too. She talked to her teachers, made fliers, and set up a collection box at school. She collected more than 300 stuffed animals, including a lot of bears, dogs, and pandas—and a few frogs and boa constrictors, too.
Making the donation felt great, she says. The hardest part was deciding what to donate from her own collection of stuffed animals. She kept a few favorites, but donated a pink pig. “He was a very special animal,” Skylar says, “but I thought another kid might need him more than I did. I knew it was time to say good-bye.”
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