How a 12-Year-Old Is Brightening the Lives of Children in Foster Care

Amelia Lisowe created Lisowe's Lights in 2018 to help give children in foster care a sense of safety

Amelia Lisowe
Amelia Lisowe of Lisowe's Lights. Photo: Courtesy

When Amelia Lisowe was told she was too young to volunteer, she decided to make a difference by herself.

The Benton, Arkansas, native launched her own non-profit, Lisowe's Lights, in 2018, donating 500 nightlights to kids in the Arkansas foster system that year alone.

Since, she has expanded to all 50 states (and nine countries!) and raised funds to distribute 15,000 nightlights — with no plans of slowing down.

"Kids in foster homes sometimes have to leave in the middle of the night without taking anything with them," she says. "I wanted to help them feel less scared and more safe."

The 12-year-old hopes to give away at least 2,500 more lights in 2023.

Amelia grew up volunteering with her mom, Lauren, who encouraged her daughter to "find something you're good at and use it to make the world a better place," she recalls.

"I'm so proud of her," Lauren adds. "She's involved in every decision we make, every time we spend money, helping decide if something is a good idea or will further our cause."

Amelia also gets help from friends in the Royal International Miss pageant system, who run their own nightlight drives in person and online.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Amelia, a sixth grader who also volunteers at her local food bank and nursing home, says she feels the impact of her work most when she hears from organizations who've put her lights to use.

"I heard about one boy in Oklahoma who never turned off his hall light, not because he was scared, but because he wanted to make sure his little sister was always doing okay across the hall," Amelia shares. "When they got their nightlight, he knew she wouldn't be afraid anymore."

Related Articles