HALO is Helping and Leading Others
From Haiti to Ghana, these kids have made a difference
Herold Charles had family living in Haiti when the earthquake struck last January. He lived in Miami at the time, and was lucky enough to get in touch with his lost family members quickly. That wasn't the case for others looking for loved ones, so Herold decided to do something to help.
His efforts to find the loved ones of 25 U.S. Haitian families by using Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail earned him a TeenNick HALO Award. Herold was one of four teens given a HALO award.
The TeenNick HALO Awards is an hour-long TV special conceived, hosted, and produced by Nick Cannon, a rap singer and host of America's Got Talent. HALO, which stands for Helping and Leading Others, recognizes teens who are making a significant difference in the world. The awards show was televised on TeenNick in December. It matches winning teens with celebrities who support their causes.
"I got tired of seeing all those awards shows and it was just celebrities talking to other celebrities, and telling them how great they were," Cannon told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps at a screening of the awards show. "We want to connect the celebrities with real people and pass the baton to the next generation."
Each of the winners also receives $10,000 for college and another $10,000 to keep on making a difference.
Joining Herold as award winners were Joshua Hall, Lauren Huichan, and Jordan Somer.
When Joshua found out about Journey For Change, a volunteer travel program for young Americans, he knew he had to get involved. One of the issues Journey for Change addressed was child slavery. Joshua went with a group of kids to Ghana to try to solve the problem. In Ghana, his group actually negotiated the freedom of two child slaves.
"It doesn't matter what you do, just do something to help out," Joshua said.
As a foster child herself, Lauren knew about the everyday struggles of living that life. She learned about an advocacy group called Adelante that helped her deal with her problems and made her feel much better. She became inspired by Adelante and soon joined the organization. Now she acts as a mentor, helping kids in her same position by giving them advice.
"To help change other peoples lives really helps me overcome my own obstacles," Lauren said.
Jordan was a beauty pageant winner who wanted to share her experiences with girls who had not had her opportunities: the disabled. From this hope, Jordan started the Miss Amazing pageant, which gives girls with mental or physical disabilities the chance to build confidence and compete.
"I would love to expand the Miss Amazing pageant worldwide," Jordan said.
All four young people have made a profound difference in the lives of others.
"Somebody can't do everything, but everybody can do something," Joshua said.
CRISIS IN HAITI: ONE YEAR LATER
More than a million people remain homeless and schools are just now being rebuilt in Haiti a year after the country's capital city was devastated by a major earthquake on January 12, 2010. Scholastic Kid Reporters continue their reporting on the earthquake with stories about how people are continuing to help the embattled country in the Crisis in Haiti: One Year Later Special Report.
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