Amazing Kid: Brianna Cart

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Brianna Cart Picture

Amazing Kid Brianna Cart sends care packages to soldiers serving overseas. Credit: Maryanne VanBurger

Amazing Kid: Brianna Cart
Age: 16
Grade: 11th
Home Town: Owego, N.Y.
School: Homeschooled
Favorite Ice Cream: Rainbow Sherbet

Why Brianna is Amazing: Brianna started Angels Over Iraq, a non-profit organization that sends care packages to soldiers serving overseas in all branches of the U.S. military. Though, initially she just wanted to send packages to a few soldiers selected at random from website, Brianna has sent over six tons of boxes, valued at about $40,000, to more than 1,000 soldiers since 2005.

Out of the first group of 32 recipients, one soldier from Texas was so grateful for Brianna's care packages that he actually flew to her home town in upstate New York to thank her personally. He later returned overseas to a company with 100 men, but Brianna still wanted to support him since he was so nice and obviously really appreciated what she was doing. So the program grew from there, and then just kept getting bigger and bigger, with people sending her names of friends and families who were serving overseas.

To raise funds for these much-appreciated care packages, Brianna -- with the help of 15 of her friends -- hold donation drives at supermarkets; conduct garage sales and car washes; serve coffee at veterans' motorcycle runs; and appear as many other events as they are invited to, so they can do as much as they can to get their name out and raise funds.

Today, Angels Over Iraq sends out eight to 10 boxes every week or so, with each box costing around $25. Originally, most of the packages were going to Iraq, but now they're sending mostly to soldiers in Afghanistan. The boxes contain things the soldiers ask for are basic needs such as food and snacks -- they send a lot of soup and drink mixes -- as well as some hygiene items, books and magazine. They also send items that help in other invaluable ways.

"We've also sent Beanie Babies over because they hand them out to the kids," Brianna tells ParentDish. "The kids in return have told them if they knew where bombs were hidden in the road, so they could go dig them up so nobody would get hurt."

Recent Recognition: 2010 Prudential National Spirit of Community Award; Rotary Club 2010 Paul Harris Fellowship

Brianna's Advice to Kids: Even if you don't think you can do something, if you don't think you can start a project, as long as you just try, get some help and believe, you should be able to do it and turn it into helping a lot of people.


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