The fresh perspective and energy of young hearts and minds has often led to inventions and efforts that have literally changed the world. This is one in a series of articles profiling people who have done just that before their 18th birthday. Our hope is that they will remind you that because of continual progress in education and technology, today’s teens have amazing power and potential to make our lives better in so many ways.
Zach Bonner has literally changed the world one step at a time. He wanted to help the victims of Hurricane Charley where he lived, near Tampa Bay, Florida, so he pulled his red wagon around his neighborhood, asking for donations. From food and water to clothes and blankets, he collected 27 truckloads of household goods that would help those who lost their home in the storm. In the beginning, his generosity may have seemed small, but the people around him were inspired. In 2005, Zack formed the Little Red Wagon Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to helping homeless children.
Since the Little Red Wagon Foundation was founded, Zach has continued to raise awareness for homelessness through walking:
- Zach’s House to the White House – Trip 1: Tampa, Florida, to Tallahassee, Florida, 280 miles, 2007
- Zach’s House to the White House – Trip 2: Tallahassee, Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia, 250 miles, 2008
- Zach’s House to the White House – Trip 3: Atlanta, Georgia, to Washington DC, 668 miles, 2009
- March Across America: Tampa, Florida, to Los Angeles, California, 2,448 miles, 2010
Awards and accomplishments:
- Presidential Service Award – Awarded by President George W. Bush, 2006
- Points of Light Award – Awarded by Florida Governor Jeb Bush, 2006
- Named one of 12 “Huggable Heroes” by the Build-A-Bear Workshop, 2007
- Alexandra Scott Butterfly Award from the Volvo for Life Awards, 2008
- Bonner was chosen as the Most Inspiring Person of the Year by the readers and editors of Beliefnet, 2009
- Named a hometown hero by Reader’s Digest, 2011
- Featured on Good Morning America
- After Zach completed the 1,200-mile-walk from Tampa, Florida, to Washington, DC, Elton John donated $25,000 to his cause.
What Zach Bonner has taught us:
Each step that Zach takes is one step closer to the change he wants to see in the world. From his series of epic walks, to spending a week in a 512 cubic feet plexiglass box to recreate a homeless person’s lodgings, he makes every step count. Zach Bonner has taught us that although “Most people don’t walk a thousand miles, or 2,500, but… we all need to take that first step to get something big done.”
Have Zach Bonner’s steps towards change inspired you? Have you raised awareness for a cause that you are passionate about? Share in the comments below, and, if you haven’t already, take your first step towards change.
Featured Image – Wikimedia