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Children's Nobel Prizes Awarded

World of Children honors adults and kids at ceremony

By Danielle Azzolina | null null , null
Kid Reporter Danielle Azzolina with Talia Leman, one of the winners of the Youth Award for Leadership. (Photo courtesy Danielle Azzolina)<br />
Kid Reporter Danielle Azzolina with Talia Leman, one of the winners of the Youth Award for Leadership. (Photo courtesy Danielle Azzolina)

Each year, prizes are presented to adults who accomplish great things in art, writing, science, and economics. So why not give awards to kids?

Harry Leibowitz asked himself that question in 1996. As an answer, he and his wife, Kay, created the World of Children organization and began handing out awards to kids and adults whose work has helped kids all over the world. The awards World of Children presents are nicknamed the "Children's Nobel Prize."

"You know, children are so important," Leibowitz, a retired business executive, told me. "We should have prizes for children if we're going to have prizes for everything else."

On Thursday, World of Children honored six adults and two kids at its 11th Annual Changemakers for Children awards ceremony held at the UNICEF House at United Nations Plaza in New York City.

Talia Leman, from Iowa, was awarded a Founder's Youth Award for Leadership. She is only 13 years old, but she has accomplished a lot. In 2005, she founded "RandomKid." Since then, the nonprofit organization has raised more than $10 million to help kids in 48 states in the U.S. and in 19 other countries develop funding solutions to real-world problems.

One place helped by RandomKid was a school built in Cambodia to enable 300 kids to go to school. The organization has also helped fix a school for 200 kids in Slidell, Louisiana, and provided interactive play centers that serve more than 500 kids in hospitals in Iowa. In faraway places like Africa, RandomKid has provided money for the purchase of water pumps.

Talia never thought that the organization she founded would be as successful as it has become.

"I did a project called TLC, which meant Trick or Treat for the Levy Catastrophe, where kids would trick-or-treat for coins along with getting candy," she told me. "My goal was to raise $1 million. That seemed really high, but when you reach a goal, you always wind up reaching higher--and we actually raised $10 million." The money RandomKid raised provided help to the victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

I asked her what advice she would offer to other young people who want to help kids in need.

"Well, I'd say the first thing would be to find an adult and tell them your idea," Talia said. "They're really the people who can help, and from there I think it can just really take off."

Other award winners included:

- The Humanitarian Award -- Rita Conceicao of Brazil, Richard Anywar of Uganda, and Dr. Edward Zigler of the U.S.

- The Health Award -- Tibebe Macco of Ethiopia, Dr. Jumana Odeh of the Palestinian territories, and Frank Brady of the U.S.

- Founder's Youth Award for Leadership -- 19-year-old Darius Weems of Georgia.

Read more of Danielle's report from the 11th Annual World of Children Awards Ceremony at the Scholastic News Online Blog!

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

Read today’s story and answer the following question.

blog it How have you volunteered to help your community? What do you think kids can do to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems?

Tell us what you think on the Scholastic News Online Blog!


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About the Author

Danielle Azzolina is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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