A record number of American teens are being honored for the way they are helping their communities — and upholding the legacy of the late Princess Diana.
On the day that would have been the princess’s 57th birthday, the charity that has been set up in her name highlighted several young people from around the world and have picked 10 teens from across America in its annual Roll of Honor.
The Diana Award is the only charity set up in the royal’s name and is supported by Diana’s sons, Prince William, 36, and Prince Harry, 33, who often join the organization for public events. Last year, in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris, they hosted a special Legacy Award at one of the palaces in London to honor an anti-bullying activist from Florida.
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Chief executive Tessy Ojo says, “Today we celebrate young people for their selfless contribution to society, their courage and bravery, sometimes in the face of adversity. At The Diana Award we value and invest in young people encouraging them to make positive change in their communities and the lives of others.”
Here are the Americans being honored.
The 17-year-old from Oak Harbor, Washington, has a “strong belief that everyone, no matter what their background, is entitled to fair treatment,” the charity says. He is lobbying Washington State to create legislation relating to media biases, and fights for equality, from social action work on the District School Board to LGBT campaigning. “Every person is entitled to be free and to live their lives no matter any differences they might have. To treat those people differently is wrong and immoral,” he says.
Katrina’s Hon, 17, has donated hundreds of pairs of recycled eyeglasses and raised money to provide cataract surgeries in Ghana and India via non-profit VISION. “Her leadership has inspired others to join in the fight for sight; Katrina now leads a team of 30 students in her school,” the Diana Award says. Through the club, the native of Southbury, Connecticut, has helped spread the word by providing her classmates with service opportunities, and teaching them about global health disparities.
Sophia, 17, from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, formed the non-profit organization, I Am Not A Statistic, after she traveled to India to explore her native country and learn about her heritage. She set out to raise money to provide school supplies for children of migrant workers in Gurgaon — and raised enough to give supplies to 50 children. In July 2017 she generated another $30,000 donation towards a new orphanage in Lakshmi Nagar which now provides 25 girls with vital safety and support service.
Sixteen-year-old Shreya Mantha, from Charlotte, N.C., set up non-profit Foundation for Girls after her late grandmother had asked that she do what she could to help vulnerable young girls. Mantha’s charity is dedicated to at-risk young women and girls. So, survivors of trafficking, refugees and domestic violence victims and teen mothers are provided with training, skills and resources to build their self-confidence and skills so they can get jobs and build on their own independence.
Corey Nieves has an entrepreneurial spirit, which combined with a love of treats, led him to set up Mr. Cory’s Cookies, selling natural gourmet cookies, when he was just 6 years old. Since then, he founded Mr. Cory Cares, donating money and cookies to various charities creating “positive change” and spreading “the message of positivity and inclusion,” the Diana Award says.
Annsley, 14, has written a book, A Brave New Day, and developed training programs to tackle bullying in her local schools, reaching over 1,000 students so far. Annsley, from Lancaster, South Carolina, “is the epitome of a great role model for students younger than her and her peers, striving to be inclusive and making sure she appreciates everyone’s different talents,” the Diana Award says. She has been recognized with a Gold Presidential Community Service Award for her efforts and service.
The Diana Award calls Emily, from Miami, Florida, “a beacon of hope and a mentor for those who face bullying and intimidation.” She took her experience of being bullied emotionally and verbally via social media and converted it into a tool to help others. She created ‘S.T.O.P – Students That Offer Peace — a club at her school that deals with bullying, and tactics to prevent and overcome it. “Her mission is to empower students and provide a supportive, nurturing environment that promotes early success that will transfer into adult life,” the award adds.
PROJECT AID: ASSISTANCE IN DELHI
After witnessing the extreme poverty in New Delhi in December 2016 Ashley Wade, Arpit Rana and Nan Miles returned home to Washington, D.C and set up Project AID: Assistance in Delhi, aimed at providing medical treatment for impoverished mothers and children at Safdarjung Hospital (a public hospital), Jeewan Hospital (a private hospital), and a school for disabled children. The trio – who met at Spartanburg High School — raised $11,300. Project AID continue their quest to provide lifesaving medicines and surgeries to hundreds of Delhi’s children. Rana was quoted in the Washington Times saying, “They still have the cheapest health care in the world, but 99 percent of the population (still) can’t afford the health care there. A lot of people die waiting to get care.”