originally published in Ball Bearing Magazine
Photos/Illustrations by Stephanie Amador
These kids might not yet have the tools to fix the problems they see around them, but they already know how they want to help in the future.
Creating change can seem like a big task, especially for young children. These four kids, however, are eager to change the world. They want to follow their passions, donate money, and even become president in order to create the change they want to see happen.
Natalia is 6 years old and loves to draw animals in her free time. She wants to help animals when they are sick—which is why she wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up.
“I really like taking care of animals,” she says.
Her passion to help animals expands to both land and sea creatures. Her favorite animal is a dolphin. She likes dolphins because they can swim “really good and deep.” When asked how she planned to change the world, she put her finger on her chin and thought hard, then said she wasn’t sure. However, she isn’t afraid of her future and embraced going into first grade this fall. She says her favorite part so far has been drawing and painting.
Gavin is 8 years old and in second grade. He has been bowling for three years, and his favorite part, of course, is winning. But he understands that not everyone can win. He says he’s not a sore loser because others who don’t win could be sad. So, if someone is sad, he knows it’s important to comfort them.
“I would say, ‘What’s the matter?’ and then I’ll, like, pat them on the back and be nice to them,” he says.
Gavin thinks if everyone didn’t have to work and could do what they love instead, then everyone could be happy.
Ten-year-old MJ is in fifth grade and dreams of becoming an NBA player. Although he dreams big, he still recognizes the world is not perfect. He views homelessness as one of the biggest problems in the world, and as a famous basketball player, he would want to make sure that no one is homeless anymore.
“I would give half my earnings to [build] houses for homeless people,” MJ said.
He is passionate about this issue because he thinks it is the most important thing for people to have a place to live. He also thinks it’s important for soldiers to be able to come home during the holidays, which is another issue he would like to tackle. He knows it will take hard work, but he is excited about the changes to come, such as moving on to sixth grade next year and getting closer to shooting for his dream.
First-grader Rose says if she could have one superpower to help change the world, she would use the power of being a little girl.
While she has the dream of being a teacher when she grows up, she would help change the world by being a good person. Rose even has visions of becoming president, in which case she would stop people from littering.
Since starting first grade in the fall, she hasn’t known how to feel about the change.
“I was a little excited and a little nervous because of being in a classroom and not knowing people,” she says.
Now, however, she’s excited for the rest of the year because she has a great group of friends.
While she says she’s scared of change and the unknown, if she sees others who are scared of it, she tries to reassure them. “I cheer them on. I would say, ‘Go you. Be you! It’s okay. You can do it.’”
This photo essay was originally published in the fall 2018 print edition.