Hey – It’s Tea. I was in middle-school when I helped start Open Families. Now as a rising senior at Acalanes High School, I’m on a new mission: bringing Open Families to more people, wherever they are.
Open Families’s events in-real-life are extremely successful in gathering our community to give back, and they made me excited to build on them to generate even more giving.
There are so many families in need across the US and around the world. Realizing this made me want to bring the ideas and the people behind Open to a broader audience than we can see in-person. As a first step to help Open reach beyond the San Francisco Bay Area, we are connecting people digitally by highlighting inspiring examples of young people changing the world.
So we have launched Open Changemakers, as a virtual speaker series. Tapping into the stories and experiences of compassionate, creative young people and amplifying them here, we will help move our extended digital audience to take action in their own communities well beyond the Bay Area.
Watch this space: over the coming months a lineup of Change-making speakers will participate in virtual sessions comprised of 15 minute share-outs followed by 15 minutes of facilitated attendee Q&A.
Right now, check out our inaugural set of Changemakers who are close to Open Families already:
Landon Krug, Open Families Co-Founder: What is important in making change happen is to make it personal, knowing what resonated with you. For me, it’s homelessness which is a global problem but you can see it close by too. My favorite Open Event was when we went to an unfurnished home in Oakland. We cleaned it and furnished, filled the kitchen the plates and utensils. Just seeing the family’s reaction when they walked in the door was the best part. And it only took us a couple of hours. Open gives you a sense that you can make an impact in the world around you. The more you see others reactions and appreciation their life – it gives you a new mentality.
Kailyn Broad, Open Families Co-Founder: What is important in making change happen is to just start. It breaks you out of the bubble that is our small world. For example, we created care package with blankets given to people who need it and then actually found people living on the street and who needed the warmth or even tampons and pads – things we take for granted. Open has made me see what real people go through and gets you exposed to things we never thought of. It widened my world.
Hollis Belger – Juggling for Jude: Hollis started the initiative at age nine to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She combined her passion for soccer with fundraising by asking people to pledge donations based on her juggling a soccer ball. Hollis has inspired other young athletes to participate, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the hospital. Her dedication showcases the impact young people can have on those facing serious health challenges.
Murshidul Bhuiyan – Team Bertho: Murshidul created a platform to share narratives and wisdom from around the world. The youth-led organization documents and conveys human knowledge by collecting stories across races, ages, genders, statuses, and occupations. Team Bertho has reached over 450 thousand people from 79 countries. His outstanding leadership earned him The Diana Award and Asia’s Top 10 Young Talents. He’s also the author of the book Fueling Hope, which portrays admiration for the world and its people through collected anecdotes. His vision is to construct an empathetic society by sharing advice collected from human experiences.
Sophie Hamilton – Sophie’s work with music and mental health started at age nine after she discovered music’s therapeutic power through her father’s battle with bipolar disorder. In addition to writing her own music, Sophie worked to bring music therapy programs to children with mental health struggles and served as a youth suicide hotline operator. She would go on to develop a first of its kind peer-to-peer support network at Providence Hospital and work on CS+ Mental Health initiatives at Stanford that leveraged tech for preventative mental health intervention.
We are further inspired by these young Changemakers from across the globe…
Haile Thomas – The HAPPY Organization: Haile, a young wellness and compassion activist from New York, started The HAPPY Organization at age 12 to address the need for accessible plant-based nutrition education for young people. HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth) has educated over 15,000 children about healthy eating through cooking classes and workshops.
Jahkil Jackson – Project I Am: Chicago-based Jahkil Jackson founded “Project I Am” at just 10 years old. His organization distributes “Blessing Bags” filled with essential toiletries, snacks, and other necessities to homeless individuals. Since 2016, Jahkil and his team have distributed over 40,000 Blessing Bags to those in need.
Maya Penn – Maya’s Ideas: Maya Penn, a young entrepreneur from Atlanta, founded “Maya’s Ideas” when she was just eight years old. The eco-friendly fashion brand donates 10-20% of its profits to global charities and non-profit organizations, including ones focused on environmental conservation, girls’ education, and providing clean water.
Robbie Bond – Kids Speak for Parks: Robbie Bond, a young environmental activist from Hawaii, founded “Kids Speak for Parks” at age 9. Robbie’s organization educates children on the importance of preserving national parks and monuments. Through this initiative, Robbie has inspired children across the US to become advocates for public lands.
Grace Callwood – The We Cancerve Movement: At 12 years old, Maryland-based Grace Callwood founded “The We Cancerve Movement” after being diagnosed with cancer. Her organization has since provided support and resources to other young people experiencing serious illnesses or going through homelessness, impacting thousands of children in need.
Ziad Ahmed – Redefy: Ziad Ahmed, a young activist from New Jersey, founded “Redefy” at the age of 14 to promote social justice, tolerance, and acceptance. Through education, community outreach, and advocacy, Redefy has engaged thousands of young people in conversations about racial, religious, and cultural understanding.
Danielle Boyer – The STEAM Connection: Michigan-based Danielle Boyer founded “The STEAM Connection” at age 18 to make STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education more accessible to children from underserved communities. She has provided free or low-cost educational resources to over 3,000 children, fostering a love for learning and inspiring future STEM leaders.
Khloe Thompson – Khloe Cares: Khloe Thompson, a young activist from California, founded “Chloe Cares” at just 8 years old. Her organization sews and distributes reusable bags filled with essential items to homeless women. Since its inception, Chloe Cares has provided support to thousands of women in need.
Joshua Williams – Joshua’s Heart Foundation: Joshua Williams founded “Joshua’s Heart Foundation” when he was just five years old in Miami, Florida. The foundation’s primary goal is to stomp out world hunger and help those in need by providing food and essential items to underprivileged individuals and families. Joshua’s Heart Foundation has distributed over 2.2 million pounds of food to more than 300,000 individuals since its inception.