When Orion Jean entered a contest in July 2020, he had no idea how much it would change his life—or the lives of others. The contest involved writing and memorizing a speech. He had only one day to do it. Luckily for Orion, the topic was kindness, a subject he knows a lot about.
“I talked about how important it is to spread kindness and make people feel loved,” Orion says.
The 11-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, won the $500 grand prize. Orion thought about how he had everything he needed, while others didn’t. He turned his words into action by starting an organization called Race to Kindness.
The group’s first project was a toy drive called Race to 500 Toys. Instead of using his prize to buy video games or books for himself, Orion spent it all on toys for kids in a local hospital. He also asked for donations from his community. In the end, Orion surpassed his goal, delivering more than 600 toys to the young patients.
After the success of his first “race,” Orion kept going.
“I hope that what I do inspires people to be kind in their own communities,” he says. “A lot of things can be fixed by simply being kind.”