Cause Creative Space: TeenNick HALO Awards
TeenNick’s HALO (Helping And Leading Others) Awards are all about spotlighting ordinary teens doing extraordinary things. Some of the biggest names in Hollywood came out to honor a group of young people who have proven, yet again, that there are many teens
out there doing huge things for a positive change.
The HALO Awards chose four honorees, and surprised each of them with a visit from a celebrity who is a big fan of, and has a personal connection to, the work they’re doing:
James O’Dwyer, Magnolia Disaster Relief. A disaster aid program that targets small rural towns. Surprised by Taylor Swift.
Emily-Anne Rigal, WeStopHate.org. A teen-run website combating bullying through social-media. Surprised by Lady Gaga.
Shanoah Washington, Sista2Sista. A mentoring program aimed at motivating young women. Surprised by Jessica Biel.
Kyle Weiss, FUNDaFIELD. Building soccer fields for kids in developing countries. Surprised by David Beckham.
We were able to catch up with these Honorees on the orange carpet recently, and had a chance to talk to a bunch of celebrities about the charity work they’re doing and causes they support. It was exciting to see so many people from Hollywood here just to support the honorees, and to encourage other young people to get involved in a cause. You’ll see many of these celebrity interviews on Sunday in the pre-show post from the orange carpet.
We were fortunate enough to chat with a couple of the honorees, Kyle Weiss and Emily-Anne Rigal, and hear more about the work that they’re doing.
Kyle Weiss co-founded FUNDaFIELD that raises money to provide soccer fiends and equipment for less fortunate kids in developing countries, particularly Africa.
Kyle, like a ton of other kids out there, lived and breathed soccer growing up. He was such a huge soccer fan that at 13, he and his brother went to the FIFA World Cup in Germany. At one of the games, Kyle met some soccer fans from Angola, Africa, and heard how in Africa “soccer is life” for the kids that live there, but they have no equipment to play with.
“Well, when you have a passion for something, you want other people to be able to do it too,” Kyle said.
Kyle jumped into action. He, his brother, and a group of friends decided to help change things for these kids in Angola. They started by planning to raise money to send over soccer equipment, but almost instantly the plan grew when one of the kids asked “don’t they need a field first?” and FUNDaFIELD came to life.
“I met a 12 year old boy from Swaziland, and he said that the only time he gets to just be a kid is on the soccer field. The rest of the time he was the adult in the house.”
FUNDaFIELD was started by a group of students, and still today the 30 core members of FUNDaFIELD are all young people.
“When we build a field, we try to put it at a school…. it gives the kids a good reason to stay in school. The field is the greatest motivator.”
Over the past few years, the kids at FUNDaFIELD have come up with some amazing fundraising ideas, but Kyle told us about one event they did which might be the most genius idea we’ve ever heard….
“It was called Your Lucky Poo. Basically, the soccer field is divided into 1000 squares. People donate, and then get their own square on the soccer field. Then we had a co roam the field, and whatever square she pooped on, that person won $1000.”
Now that’s how you do a fundraiser. Kids of the world — take note.
FUNDaFIELD is opening up to he entire developing world with plans to expand to the Congo, Sudan, and Haiti, so I think you’re gonna be hearing a lot more from these kids in the near future.
Emily created WeStopHate.org, a teen-run website that combats bullying through social media videos created by teens themselves.
All the anti-bullying work that Emily-Anne really impressed another young lady who is pretty passionate about anti-bullying…. Lady Gaga.
“I went with Lady Gaga to MTV Studios…. she told MTV that I actually inspired HER!” Lady Gaga was so impressed by Emily-Anne’s work that she actually filmed a WeStopHate video herself to be used for the campaign.
Since starting WeStopHate.org, Emily-Anne quickly became a leading figure in the battle to stop bullying, has had the opportunity to speak to countless people all over the country, and meet many people involved in the fight against bullying. She has also seen her fair share of celebs through her work with WeStopHate, and when asked is she feel that celebrities are doing enough for charities/causes — “I may be a bit biased, but yeah!”
Well, we certainly are impressed by the celebrities, and other young people, we met at the HALO Awards, and they are definitely doing there part. It’s people like Emily-Anne, who are working so hard to make this a better and safer place for young people, that inspire us also.