When I was a teenager I remember worrying about boys, my job, how I was going to possibly pass my next math test and other trivial things. It's refreshing to see teens of the current age not just worrying about the trivial things in their life but working to help and change their communities for the better.

Congrats are in order for Avalee Goodman, an 18 year old Kalamazoo resident, who is one of just twenty people nationwide to win a $2,500 grant in the Pop-Tart Challenge, as reported by WWMT News Channel 3.

Announced in September of 2020, the Pop-Tart Challenge asked those who were between the ages of 13 and 22 for their ideas on how to improve their communities. They asked questions like what's the big problem in your community you'd like to improve and the ideas that came along with improving said problem, what local non-profit you'd partner with, and how you know that your project would be a success. You can read the full press release here.

These were serious issues that were being addressed. Issues like bullying, food insecurities, homelessness, metal health issues and so on. And Avalee's idea, to me, is genius.

She proposed a community coat closet. People would donate gently used winter coats and others could grab one for free. Something desperately needed as we head into the dead of winter. It's simple. It's obtainable. Her win is well deserved. Congrats Avalee Goodman!

I have to hand it to teens in Michigan. Since moving here in September it seems I've stumbled upon story after story of people under the age of 20 doing incredible things both for themselves and their community. Below are just a couple of examples of those stories.

Keep up the good work!

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