Entrepreneurial humanitarians make me optimistic about the future, especially when they start innovating ways to do good before they can even drive. Take Ian Cahr. At the ripe-young-age of eight-years-old, the Chicagoan earned $12 selling beaded jewelry from a sidewalk stand, which he promptly donated to New Leash on Life, a dog rescue organization in his hometown. Of course, that was only the start. He quickly launched Ian’s Bead Company, accepted donated supplies and enlisted willing volunteers (including 30 kids), to make and sell beaded jewelry, hand-drawn cards, key chains and more. By mid-2008, they had raised and donated more than $10,000.
Ian was recognized for his humanitarian efforts as one of two grand-prize winners of the American Humane’s 2008 Be Kind to Animals Kid Contest. He shared the honors with Kristen Uyeoka, a 17-year-old from Aiea, Hawaii, who developed interactive lesson plans to teach pre-school-age children responsible and compassionate care for animals.
Well, it’s time to discover and celebrate the work of other Ians and Kristens. The American Humane Association is currently accepting nominations of kids (between the ages of six and 17) whose humane values and actions serve as an example to others. Grand-prize winners receive $1,000; runners up receive $500.
If this sounds like a boy or girl you know, please send in your nomination by April 15. Look for the winners to be feted during the 95th annual celebration of Be Kind to Animals Week, May 3-9, 2009.