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Teen Spirit

In between soccer practice, swim meets and dance class, RandomKid founder Talia Leman helps young people around the world organize their own philanthropic efforts.

Author Layla Sclack Photography Sandra L. Dyas


MISSION • Providing structural support, interest-free microloans and education to kids wishing to raise money for a cause. “When I was ten, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I started a project called TLC,” Leman says. “It stands for Trick-or-treat for the Levee Catastrophe. Kids could trick-or-treat for coins as well as candy, and I raised ten million dollars. From there, I founded RandomKid.” Now she’s also working with the University of Iowa, in her home state, on a project called Great Strides. “We’re sending kids free pedometers, and they get pledges for the miles they walk to help kids with club feet, so it’s kind of walking to help others walk. Instead of surgery, which is really expensive, we’re using something called the Ponseti method, which uses a series of braces.”

MOTIVATION • After witnessing the success of TLC, Leman says, “I realized I really was a random kid. I’m no one special, and I might not be able to do everything on my own, but by reaching out to other people, I can make a difference.”

WHEN SHE GROWS UP • “I don’t know yet if philanthropy is what I want to do,” Leman says. “I’m just taking it one project at a time. If I had to say right now, I’m really interested in medicine, so maybe working with health care in underdeveloped countries.”

LEND A HAND • Ninety-nine percent of funds donated to RandomKid go to projects such as training service dogs, providing clean water to impoverished villages and building schools in underdeveloped countries.

Learn more at www.randomkid.org

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