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Children's Author Inspires America's Youth To Make A Difference: Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes Announces 2012 Winners


NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Courage, commitment, compassion, creativity.  These are the qualities that bestselling children's book author T.A. Barroninstills in his heroic fictional characters, and the same traits he recognizes in the recipients of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited, highly diverse young people from all across America. Each year, the Barron Prize honors twenty-five outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18, who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. The top ten winners each receive a $2,500 cash award to support their service work or higher education. The primary goal of the Barron Prize is to shine the spotlight on these amazing young people so that their stories will inspire others.

"I've always believed that our country's youth has the power to change the world," says T.A. Barron, "and year after year they prove me right.  I am incredibly impressed by the range and scope of their accomplishments. I also feel that the best way to show young people that they can make a difference is by sharing examples of what others have done"  

The 2012 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes winners are:

Avalon Theisen, age 11, of Tampa, Florida, who founded Conserve It Forward in order to share her passion for protecting frogs, raise money for conservation causes, and inspire other kids to take care of the natural world.

Victor Davila, age 18, of Bronx, New York, who created EcoRyders, a program for teens that promotes environmental justice and community activism through workshops, discussions, and skateboard design.

Jackson Button, age 14, of Waialua, Hawaii, who founded Dream of a Better World, a non-profit group that has raised over $105,000 to build a permanent home on four fertile acres for 57 children living with HIV at an orphanage in Uganda.

Brooklyn Wright, age 9, of Powder Springs, Georgia, who acts as Earth Saver Girl in teaching thousands of elementary students about ways they can help save the planet. She has written a book, created an Earth Saver Girl skit and costume, and developed a website to support kids who want to protect the Earth.

Ben Hirschfeld, age 18, of Hastings on Hudson, New York, who founded the Lit! Project, which has provided safe, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly solar lanterns to improve the lives of 11,300 people living without electricity in the developing world.

Wyatt Workman, age 9, of Glendale, California, who has combined his love of the ocean with his passion for creating art to raise more than $5,000 for ocean conservation causes. His claymation film and picture book titled Save the Sea from the Trash Monster! were created from 70 clay sculptures of sea creatures that he made and then sold to raise the funds.  

Max Wallack, age 15, of Natick, Massachusetts, who founded PuzzlesToRemember, a non-profit organization that has distributed over 14,600 new jigsaw puzzles free of charge to facilities that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

Devin Schroeder, age 14, of Durham, New Hampshire, whose Take Back the Tap Campaign has greatly reduced the amount of bottled water used at events in his community. Devin has also replaced all of the water fountains in his town's schools with hydration stations, which allow teachers and students to fill reusable water bottles.

Clay McMullen, age 18, of Chesterland, Ohio, who founded WET, the Wetlands Education Team, which has received over $200,000 in grants and donated materials to educate more than 10,000 students in Ohio about the importance of wetlands and how they can protect them.

Sophia Salmore, age 17, of Los Angeles, California, who created the Seedling Project, a gardening initiative at her school that provides produce for the cafeteria and an outdoor classroom for students. She has also developed an eco-literacy program that teaches children across Los Angeles about gardening, sustainability, and healthy eating.

Zachary Certner, age 16, of Morristown, New Jersey, who co-founded SNAP, Special Needs Athletic and Awareness Programs, which gives over 150 special needs kids the chance to play sports each week. Zach has trained nearly 3,000 students, as well as local police and emergency responders, in better understanding and accepting people with special needs.

The winners of the Barron Prize Award, both past and present, represent the great diversity of America. They are female and male, urban and rural, and from many races and backgrounds. The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes is in association with National Geographic Education Foundation; the Jane Goodall Institute; Youth Service America; and Student Conservation Association.  For more information on the Barron Prize, visit

SOURCE  Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

CONTACT: Liz Ammirato, +1-845-621-2005,

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Information in this article was accurate in September 17, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.