Instead of Hollywood celebrities accepting trophies at the Nickelodeon HALO Awards, the stars are giving the awards — to some amazing, accomplished teens working to make the world a better place. And, in an awards show twist, they surprise the unsuspecting teens on videotape, then, present the awards — all hosted by actor Nick Cannon.
Tomorrow night, Dec 10, at 8PM on the US cable network, TeenNick, the second annual TeenNick HALO Awards will present big prize money to four teens and let them hang out with stars like Mariah Carey, Ashton Kutcher, Rosario Dawson, and Wyclef Jean.
The four award winners are:
Herold Charles grew up in Haiti but has lived in Miami for 5 years. His heart was tugged back to the island after the 7.0 earthquake struck. After finally hearing that his own family was alright, he set about helping others in the same situation. Using twitter, Herold helped 25 families locate their loved ones. Then he began using his twitter account to help guide relief organizations to the exact locations of people still trapped under debris, texting for help.
Since then, Herold has organized food drives at school, and relentlessly makes himself useful to aid organizations like The Human Initiative, Help Haiti Heal, and Help Chile Heal — helping not just Haiti, but anyone faced with a natural disaster.
From a very young age, Joshua Hall spent holidays volunteering with his family — working at food pantries or visiting the sick. Later, as a high school freshman, Joshua traveled with the Journey for Change group to South Africa, assisting residents of the country’s shantytowns with their basic needs of food, water, and clothing.
The following year, Joshua learned of the epidemic of human trafficking — and child slavery — in Ghana. Upon hearing that Ghanaian children as young as three were being sold into slavery by their desperate parents, he visited and resolve to raise awareness of the problem. He’s continued his advocacy, making presentations at universities and the United Nations, all in the hopes of educating the public that slavery is not yet over.
Lauren Huichan came from an abusive home and later drifted within the broken foster care system without any real support. Lauren began skipping school, hanging with the wrong crowd. Today, she is a high school graduate in college, with her own apartment, and has dedicated herself to making sure other foster youth won’t have to struggle the way she did.
As a powerful voice for all foster youth, Lauren educates and collaborates with judges, attorneys, social workers, legislators, and foster parents, helping them understand the experiences common to the children and teens in their care. Her days are busy not just with a full course load, but with conference calls and meetings, planning committees, and volunteer coordination.
Pageant queen Jordan Somer won 2nd place in the teen division of Miss America. But it was after she won a juniors pageant when she was 13 that she decided she could do a lot more with her crown than attend parades.
As a regular volunteer with Special Olympics, Jordan knew how much pride the participants take in receiving their awards — whether it’s 8th place or 1st. And having learned so much about public speaking, poise, confidence, and leadership through her pageant experiences, Jordan knew that she could help give girls with disabilities those same opportunities and that same pride of accomplishment.
So in 2007, at the age of 13, Jordan created Miss Amazing, a pageant for young women with physical and mental disabilities. Participants don’t just get to wear their prettiest outfit on stage and practice public speaking and performing; they enjoy a full day of activities — all organized by Jordan. Since 2007, Miss Amazing has doubled in size to 30 participants, and Jordan is still busy every year personally securing sponsorships and donations, recruiting participants and judges, and coordinating and producing the event itself.
Jordan is currently working on establishing a non-profit organization for Miss Amazing, in the hopes of going national.
For links to their projects and more details on the winners, visit TeenNick Halo Awards.