We'd like to introduce you to 12 kids, all 12 and under, who are setting a high bar when it comes to inspiration. They show that without a doubt, the Northwest is home to some pretty extraordinary young people. These are our picks for 2020's 12 Under 12.
Charley Lahmeyer, Young Humanitarian
This 5 years old gets inspired by school activities: she learned about beads and helped those in need. Charley has collected nearly $800 from selling her jewelry. She set up shop at special Market events, and every time she collected money she made deposits in Rachel the Pig – a giant sculpture next to the fish market that’s collected donations for the Pike Place Market Foundation since 1982.
Anthony Schmidt, Toy Car Photographer
Diagnosed with autism, this 12-year-old sees details that others don't see. To get the best possible shots of classic cars photographer Anthony Schmidt must first find the perfect angle. One that usually means getting close to the ground.
Samara Canley, Valentine's Day Altruist
For most, Valentine's Day is a time to show your sweetheart how much you love them. But 9-year old Samara Canley spends the holiday showing love to total strangers. It was at four when Samara saw a man on the side of the road holding a sign asking for help. Since then, every February 14, Samara and her family hand-deliver care packages to different shelters around Tacoma.
Lena Coggins, Rabbit Whisperer
Over the past 5 years, the Stanwood 5th grader has won grand championships, reserved championships and many blue ribbons for showing her rabbits in 4-H. She's done so well she started her own business raising rabbits called, Pioneer Girl Rabbitry.
Addison Strode, Pillow Pet Fundraiser
A campfire mishap left 4-year-old Addison with severe burns over much of her body. She was recovering from multiple surgeries and skin grafts. During that hard time, there's a favorite toy always seemed to ease Addie's struggle - her bumblebee Pillow Pet. Now Addie wants to give back to the kids that are going through the same thing as she did with the money she collects from Pillow Pets.
Tristan Schwiethale, Avid Recycler
Tristan has recycled more things than most people do in a lifetime - from cardboard, cans, to every kind of metal. He sometimes volunteers at a local farmers market on Mercer Island or collects just about anything for his nearly weekly trip to the recycling center. For his years of dedication, Tristan recently received a special city stewardship award from the Mercer Island City Council.
Rylin Caramandi, Philanthropist Baker
Rylin was born with a cleft palate, a condition that has required multiple surgeries and many months of speech therapy at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma. Rylin wanted to support the work performed at Mary Bridge by selling her homemade cookies and candies to neighbors and friends. Her goal is to make the hospital to be more of a normal place for kids.
Murphy Foster, Boy Santa
An 8-year-old Murphy Foster told his mom and dad that what he really wanted for Christmas is to help others. His parents suggested he call MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup and ask about their needs. When he found out that toys were at the top of their wish list, he started Murphy's Magical Toy Drive.
Bailey Black, Philanthropist Bibliophile
At age 10, Bailey Black has already spent more than half her life doing philanthropic work. She plans to construct a library in her small community, but nothing can happen until enough money is raised. Bailey decided on a bake sale and enlisted the help of neighbors and community businesses.
Jaylin Harris, Young Entrepreneur
Jaylin started making button earrings when she was five years old - but her business developed after she discovered her mom couldn't afford to send her to Hamlin Robinson, a school for students with dyslexia and other language-learning difficulties. Jaylin sells button earrings, ascot ties, and paintings both online and at events throughout the year that called Creations by Jaylin.
Keoni Ching, Food Equality Advocate
Keoni Ching not only paid his school's lunch debt, but he also helped pay that of 6 other schools. He wants to tackle a problem plaguing parents probably 4 or 5 times his age. To help raise money Keoni makes customized keychains whether it's a name or a phrase -- each cost 5 dollars.
Autumn Smith, Anti-Bullying Advocate
Autumn started getting bullied when she was in kindergarten. The bullying went on for years, but she found a way to fight back. She created a shirt with a simple but powerful message, Bullying Stops Here. She raised $1500 dollars and found kids who could use her support on her Facebook page.