As part of its celebration of Black History Month, Sprout is introducing kids to four inspiring teens who are making massive differences in their communities and beyond. Every Monday throughout the month of February, the network for preschoolers will air vignettes that celebrates an African American from history in a fresh and exciting way. Each historical figure is paired with a modern, and similarly-talented teen who is making his or her own impact on today’s society. The vignettes are narrated by NBC News anchor Sheinelle Jones and use bright animation, studding historical images and cheerful interviews to share the lives of talented and inspiring people — both old and new — with a preschool audience.
Meet 2016’s inspiring teens and check out their amazing stories!
Maya Penn, from Snellville, GA, is a 16 year-old entrepreneur and CEO of her eco-friendly fashion company Maya’s Ideas. The talented artist and designer started her company at the age of 8, and donates 10-20% of her profits to her favorite charities and organizations.
When Haile Thomas’s dad was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2008, the Tucson, AZ resident made it her mission to learn how to cook healthier food for her family. Now 15 years-old, Haile has cooked an original recipe for first lady Michelle Obama at a White House Kid’s Lunchtime State Dinner and her meal was named Best Kids Dish of the Year.
Andrew Koonce, from Atlanta, GA, is a 17-year-old violin virtuoso who has played all around the globe, including a seven-city tour in China. He recently was named the winner of the 2015 Georgia Music Teacher’s Association Concerto Competition.
18 year-old St. Louis native, Jaylen Bledsoe, built a successful IT company before he even graduated from high school. At the age of 12 — and with only $100 — Jaylen started Bledsoe Technologies, LLC., an information technology consulting company. Today, Bledsoe has over 150 contractors who work for him and has notable celebrity clientele, including Jordin Sparks and Steve Harvey.
Sprout’s Vice President of Marketing, Jennifer Giddens, is proud to introduce this year’s group of terrific teens. She explains, “Sprout is committed to inspiring the possibilities that exist everyday for kids in their real world and experiences they encounter as they grow up. Maya, Haile, Andrew and Jaylen are inspirational and relatable leaders for children of all ages, and perfect examples of how our programming can galvanize and encourage parents and preschoolers as they celebrate Black History Month and other key cultural moments throughout the year.”
I had the opportunity to interview Maya Penn and was struck my Maya’s passion for artistic expression and her dedication to environmental stewardship. She’s an amazing woman and it won’t be long before we’re all wearing Maya’s Creations! Read my full interview Here!