Young People Who Are Changing the World

I’m sure that I’m not the only person who has noticed that, amid all the horrible things going on in our country, there are some extraordinary young people who are doing good things. It seems that they are born to care about other people as well as growing their talents in ways that help people and the planet.

Two of the many areas of positive change by young people are food and music. Those who love cooking come from all kinds of backgrounds and circumstances, and they all share a love of preparing food and feeding others. I enjoy cooking competition shows, especially Chopped Junior.

This is a competition between young cooks to win both money and status as becoming a Chopped Junior champion. When they are asked what they plan to do with their money, most of them have plans to go to culinary college, start a small food-based business or donate to a local food pantry, etc.

The kids who compete have made it their business to take classes in culinary arts, or they have learned how to cook from their families. They are all proud of their various cultures, and enjoy making meals incorporating the flavors from their cultures. Some of them have part-time jobs in kitchens where they learn cooking from the ground up.

Some have already begun taking part in feeding the homeless by donating their time to help prepare meals in shelters. Others have started their own small businesses such as teaching children their own age how to prepare healthy and good-tasting meals. They are positively driven to feed people, and they deeply believe that food is love when prepared by loving hands.

Then there is music. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a huge fan of Grace VanderWaal, the 12-year old girl who writes and sings her own songs, accompanied by her ukulele. She won this year’s America’s Got Talent contest. She is brave but shy, honest but self-effacing, brilliant but humble, and her voice and lyrics are mesmerizing. At this time many people, old and young, grownups and children—all are playing and singing her songs.

Although you might not compare her to protegees such as Mozart, anyone listening to her seems to fall under the spell of Grace’s thoughtful lyrics, her unique voice, her humility and her strength. I feel that she is an old soul, come back to Earth as this lovely and amazing child with a voice that resonates in hearts everywhere.

But for all that, she is still a 12-year old girl; at turns silly, happy, poised, generous and delighted with life and music. She is unfailingly grateful for her success, and continues to be modest about herself.

This is a wonderful young person with a message to us all, and that is that we all shine. We all matter. We all have our place in this world, and we all need to celebrate our uniqueness. I believe that this child came into the world to bring hope and to remind us all that we are here to love and to be loved.

Part of her original song, “Light the Sky,” follows. The line I love best is “I think we were born to shine;” isn’t that what we are all here for? That this young girl, with her sparkly headbands and candy bracelets and her sweet smile—can light up the world, is proof that we all do indeed shine.

“You and me, me and you
We will shine through
You and me, me and you
We will shine

Cause my head is spinning
And my feet off the ground
And I can’t stop dancing
Like no one’s around
And yeah I think we were born to shine

Cause the stars are dull when they’re compared to you and I
And if people don’t like it then they can close their eyes
Cause’ we’re not the same and we don’t have to try
We’re brighter than fireflies, we’re gonna light the sky!”

I believe with all my heart that these amazing young people are on a mission to make this country and our entire world a better place. I believe that this is their time to shine, their time to help heal the world with positive change. They are here to remind us that we all are born to shine.