Meet the 2021 SEEN Young Changemakers! From groundbreaking scientific research to mental health advocacy and more, how 5 local kids and teens are making a difference
Photography by Darrel Ellis
SEEN recently asked the community to nominate young changemakers in Metro Detroit. We then selected five kids and teens who are impacting their communities in a big way. Their stories show you don’t have to be a “grown up” to make a difference.
Ethan Endelman launched a Detroit chapter of Balance Boxes, a nonprofit started by two Chicago-area teens aiming to help those most impacted by school closures during Covid. Since its inception in June 2020, he’s raised nearly $15,000, and he and his friends and volunteers have distributed almost 600 boxes — filled with fun, educational supplies, activities, and snacks — to local recipients. Read Ethan’s full story here.
Jeremiah is the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan’s 2021 Youth of the Year, an annual honor given to an outstanding young member. He’s used his influence to advocate for boosting mental health services at the club. The issue is close to his heart: He is autistic and was bullied in school as a child. Jeremiah, who grew up around the Boys & Girls club, credits it with helping him through his struggles. Read Jeremiah’s full story here.
Avery Schwartz is helping others battle isolation with his “Hug Buddy” postcards, which are sent with purchases of Viewspire merchandise. Buyers receive a postcard bearing the Hug Buddy image and allocates 10 postcards for Viewspire to donate to an organization. So far, Viewspire has donated 16,000 cards in 12 states to hospitals, schools, Girl Scout troops, and more. “It feels really good that the movement is continuing through the country and may be impacting thousands of people,” Avery says. Read Avery’s full story here.
Rahi organized the first-ever LGBTQ+ Pride Parade in her hometown of Rochester in June. “There is a feeling, when you’re marching down Main Street, holding up flags and posters celebrating your identity, when it’s not only people in the [LGBTQ] community but also allies marching…that there’s a greater sense of support,” she says. Read her full story here.
Vivian’s research on the social factors that impact health outcomes was adopted by the Congressional Coronavirus Task Force to help guide them in policymaking during the Covid-19 pandemic. The kind of work she did “is and will continue to be critical” for emergency preparedness from a health standpoint, says Dr. Asad Moten of the U.S. Department of Defense. Read Vivian’s full story here.