Contest awards teens money to help make the world a kinder, more empathetic place

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A national organization is launching a contest for teenagers who have an idea for spreading kindness in their communities.

Riley’s Way Foundation is challenging teens ages 13-19 to apply for grants to bring more kindness into the world in the Call For Kindness Contest. The foundation empowers teens to use kindness and empathy to create connections and drive positive change.

“We work with teenagers to give them the support and resources to take their great ideas and turn them into a reality,” said executive director Christine O’Connell.

And no matter whether ideas are big or small, they want teens to share their visions.

The foundation selects winners who have a vision for spreading kindness. For example, teen Matthew Yekell won last year and used the funding to cook meals for LGBTQ+ homeless youth.

“We wanted to cook meals because I thought it was important for, especially a community that already feels thrown out, that someone cares about them enough to spend hours in the kitchen for them,” he said.

Fifteen Call for Kindness winners, announced on May 6, will receive up to $3,000 each to fund their teen-led project. They will join others from across the country in the Riley’s Way Kind Leadership Series, comprising of mentorship, professional development, and peer-learning.

“We know they’re doing wonderful things, we know they’re kind, they have great hearts, and they want to make the world a better place, and our job is to be able to empower them to do that,” O’Connell said.

The contest opened for applications today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of leading with kindness and empathy.

“Riley’s Way is supporting an entire new generation of activists who are capable and will be able to do amazing things,” Yekell said.

Riley’s Way will award up to $3,000 to 15 teen-led projects. Completed applications are due at 11:59pm EST on March 31, 2020.

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