Amazing Kid: Zach Bonner

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Amazing Kid Zach Bonner raised money for homeless kids this year by walking coast-to-coast. Credit: Laurie Bonner




Amazing Kid: Zach Bonner
Age: 13
Grade: 7th
Home Town: Valrico, Fla.
School: K12
Favorite Ice Cream: Mint Chocolate Chip

Why Zachary is Amazing: In 2005, Zachary started a non-profit organization called the Little Red Wagon Foundation that helps underprivileged kids -- such as those in Title I schools -- and those affected by natural disasters, domestic violence and in emergency foster care. But Zach's acts of charity actually started a year earlier, when he collected food and water for the victims of Hurricane Charley in his home state of Florida.

Currently, Zach's main focus is on helping homeless youth, to whom his foundation provides basic needs, such as food and supplies, but also "kid needs," such as holidays parties and things to remind them that no matter what they're going through, they're still kids.

Zach raises money mostly through donations and some speaking engagements, but he tells ParentDish he also does walks to raise funds. In fact, one of the most amazing things Zach has done is walk coast-to-coast this year -- from Florida to California -- for six and a half months, raising over $125,000 and creating tons of awareness for youth homelessness. Previously, Zach had also walked from Florida to Washington, D.C., completing the journey in three parts, from 2007 to 2009.

Although Zach wants to be a prosecuting attorney when he gets older, he says he always wants philanthropy to be a part of his life.

"My life would be so different if not for philanthropy," Zach tells ParentDish in an e-mail. "Philanthropy gives you the power to be the change in this world. It gives you a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment like nothing else."

Recent Recognition: WEDU "Be More" 2009 Be More ... Brilliant Award; Beliefnet Most Inspiring Person of 2009; Volvo 2008 Alexandra Scott Butterfly Award; Build-a-Bear 2007 Huggable Heroes; 2006 Presidential Call to Service Award

Zachary's Advice to Kids: If you're a kid and you want to help, just do it -- take your idea and run with it. Don't let anyone tell you it isn't possible or you're too young or anything else ... To see the difference in the lives of those you're trying to help is the most incredible feeling you will ever have.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.