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    15 Teens Who Will Inspire (and Embarrass) You

    Got a passion for social action? These teens do!

    From empowering underprivileged youth to raising money for life-saving cancer research, these teens are changing the world with their amazing service projects. They might make you feel a little guilty for sitting on the couch and watching all that Netflix...

    Meet 15 stellar teens who are making a big difference. They recently received $36,000 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards for their dedication to social good. Check out to learn more about these young heroes and their projects.

    1. Paige Alenick | Donate A Toothbrush, or 100,000…

    Got dental health? Paige Alenick, 18, fights tooth decay and oral cancer across the globe through her organization, Donate A Toothbrush. This all-star teen is responsible for donating more than 106,000 toothbrushes to 60 impoverished nations, allowing everyone to have vastly improved oral health – and a 100-watt smile.

    2. Tyler Barbee | Challenger Baseball and Basketball, a social action homerun

    Tyler Barbee, 16, hit it out of the park when he launched Challenger Baseball and Basketball leagues. Tyler gives teens with special needs the opportunity to participate in community sports programs, building their teamwork skills, independence, and self-confidence. His fantastic program has now expanded to three cities to continue promoting inclusion opportunities through sports.

    3. Zach Certner | SNAP (Special Needs Athletic Programs), where helping the world is a marathon, not a sprint

    “Kids Helping Kids” is the motto of Zach Certner’s nonprofit, SNAP. Zach, 18, embodies this mission, giving kids with special needs the opportunity to participate in organized sports and extracurricular activities. He’s also educated more than 3,500 students across seven states about autism and raised over $150,000 for educational programs and athletic clinics.

    4. Jonny Cohen | GreenShields, the school bus superhero

    Getting to school every day shouldn’t harm the environment. Jonny Cohen, 19, engineered an aerodynamic add-on — a GreenShield — for school buses that increases fuel efficiency by 10% and reduces environmental emissions. Jonny hopes to continue towards his goal of providing GreenShields to every U.S. school at-cost or for free.

    5. Morgan Davidson | Ambassadors for Hope Club, making optimism a way of life

    Morgan Davidson, 16, fights to cure blood cancers by recruiting for the National Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Registry through her club, Ambassadors for Hope. Morgan has now founded two chapters of the club, recruited over 250 people to sign up for the registry, is personally responsible for matching four patients with donors, and has raised more than $45,000 for cancer research.

    6. Jacob Gardenswartz | Theater of Peace (TOP), performing for a better tomorrow

    Jacob Gardenswartz, 18, deserves a standing ovation for helping launch Theater of Peace (TOP). TOP is a teen theatre troupe that performs interactive pieces with an anti-bullying, pro-peace message. Jacob has inspired more than 4,000 kids to be “upstanders” to bullying and has raised nearly $10,000. Bravo, Jacob!

    7. Katie Hamelburg | Operation 18,000, a not-so-secret mission to save the world

    Katie Hamelburg, 19, helped spark USY (United Synagogue Youth) teens all over the nation to engage in community service by matching them with volunteer projects. Initially aiming for all participants to log a collective 18,000 volunteer hours, Katie not only met the goal, she exceeded it, with teens logging a total of 32,686 service hours, nearly double the original target. Katie is mentoring her successor to work toward an even more ambitious target next year: Operation 54,000.

    8. Amanda Harris | Wear then Share: A tutu for you, too!

    For Amanda Harris, 20, dance can build a stronger community. Amanda created Wear then Share, a program that teaches dance to underprivileged children and collects and distributes dancewear to community organizations. Amanda has donated over $80,000 worth of dancewear to thousands of kids and has shared the joys of dance with hundreds of students.

    9. Maxine Harvey | Debbie’s Treasure Chest, where you don’t have to be a pirate to strike community service gold

    Maxine Harvey, 18, has become her community’s go-to collecting connoisseur. As co-founder of Debbie’s Treasure Chest, Maxine raises funds and collects toys, books, clothing, and toiletries, enabling her to donate over 75,000 items to more than 1,500 foster children and their families. What a treasure!

    10. Yoni Kalin | Color My World, spreading joy far outside the lines

    Yoni Kalin, 20, launched a colorful project with tremendous impact. Color My World collects new and gently used crayons and distributes them to shelters, schools, and refugee camps across the world. Yoni has recruited 75 teens and 130 restaurants to launch their own Color My World projects. With their help, Yoni has donated over 300,000 crayons globally.

    11. Lillian Pravda | Vision for and from Children: One teen’s world-changing perspective

    Lillian Pravda, 14, was born with a cataract. During her time in the hospital, she gained another type of sight: the ability to see the need to change the world. Her nonprofit, Vision for and from Children (VFAFC), helps visually impaired children across the world by providing access to the eye surgery and vision care they need. VFAFC has raised over $100,000 for these treatments, and has helped more than 24,000 children in six countries.

    12. Adena Rochelson | Operation Soap Dish, washing away the world’s problems

    Adena Rochelson, 15, is the founder of Operation Soap Dish, a project that gives families in need critical hygienic supplies. Distributing over 23,000 toiletry items, collected from 15 states in the US, Israel, and Canada, Adena helps over 1,600 people each month access the necessary toiletry and household products that community organizations aren’t always able to supply.

    13. Yaniv Sadka | Teens Curing Cancer: never underestimate a teen with a mission

    Yaniv Sadka, 18, started his project, Teens Curing Cancer, as a way for young people to make an impact in the fight for the cure. He has rallied more than 2,000 teens from two schools to raise over $11,000 for cancer research labs and has led 137 club volunteers in educating the community about cancer.

    14. Joshua Toch | Mind Before Mouth: Words can hurt; they can also heal

    Joshua Toch, 17, experienced bullying firsthand and knew something had to change, so he created Mind Before Mouth. This teen-run initiative gives student speakers the opportunity to go into schools and start an open dialogue about what it means to be a teen and the challenges of adolescence. Joshua’s project has effectively addressed bullying in schools, reaching more than 7,000 teens. Keep on speaking your mind, Joshua!

    15. Samantha Vinik | iTold4, and together, we told 2,300 teens

    Samantha Vinik, 17, has gotten her message across, loud and clear. After being born with severe hearing loss, Samantha now works to prevent others from losing their hearing. Samantha started iTold4, an educational program that has educated more than 2,300 students on noise-induced hearing loss with the help of 40 student volunteers.

    Do any of these teens sound like you? Are you a Jewish teen who is interested in applying for the 2015 Awards, and the opportunity to receive $36,000? Want to learn more about the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards and the outstanding 2014 recipients? Please visit: