Sometimes the best role models for kids are…other kids! I stumbled upon these two amazing young girls on the planet along the way so far.  And, I’m curious to see what inspiring kids of all ages in the world that you’d add  —  let’s make a list!

1) Maddy in the USA 

Hurricane Sandy came in and scooped up homes, businesses, boardwalks and even a beloved roller coaster and whipped them all into the sea. Many around the world watched footage of people in the aftermath who lost so much. One child in Florida, USA watched a video of a woman on the news from New Jersey who said she didn’t even have any dry socks. Like that, an idea was born…

Maddy is a 10-year old girl who instantly started laying plans for a sock drive for her home state of New Jersey.  She had a meeting with her school’s principal, who allowed her to put a box she created in her school for sock donations.  Over 600 pairs later, Maddy shipped three large boxes of socks up to New Jersey where they were sent to the children and adults who needed them most after Sandy!

All it takes is one kid to make a difference!

All it takes is one kid to make a difference!                      Photo credit to Maddy’s mom.

Born a 25 week old micro preemie, Maddy lost her twin sister, Emily, just days after birth.  She keeps the memory of her sister alive by advocating for micro preemie hats for Neonatal Intensive Care Units in local hospitals.  She and her mother also founded “Emily’s Angels” for this very reason. Maddy is no stranger to social good, and will be accepting a “Do The Right Thing” award from her local police office in Florida this March.

I like the idea of a little girl rallying a community behind her to help others. We have never met Maddy, but we are connected to her family through Facebook. Her story and pictures are definitely shared with my little girls.  It is inspiring for them (and me!) to see a young girl setting such a great example.

TIP:  Is there a kid up to “good” or that exudes self confidence in your local or online community?  Be on the look out and share stories of neat things that older kids are doing with your children! 

2.) Bindi Irwin in Australia 

My daughters and I know her best from the “Bindi the Jungle Girl” series that was made in 2007 and later played in the United States.  Bindi, now 14-years old, but closer to 7 or 8-years old when the series was made, is brave and she breaks stereotypes — who says girls can’t be made of snakes and puppy dog tails?  Or snake skin or kookaburra wings? If you’re looking for pink and princesses, then this isn’t your show. As a young naturalist, Bindi exudes self-confidence around wildlife and adults on the show, and she champions conservation.

Photo credit to the author.

A very young Bindi Irwin “speaks” to children on wildlife. Photo credit to the author.


Hosted from a tree house, Bindi introduces kids to wildlife all around the world on land and under oceans through her own expeditions and lots of footage of her dad, Steve Irwin, the late “Crocodile Hunter.” They cover everything from mealworms, what many of their resident reptiles eat, to the great blue whale, the largest animal on the planet that is bigger than the dinosaurs. The songs and dancing are also a hit with my girls, who are 5 and 2-years old, too.

Due to station changes in the U.S., “Bindi the Jungle Girl” was taken off the air shortly after we found it several years ago.  My oldest daughter so looked forward to the show that I wound up ordering some episodes from the series on DVD from the Australia Zoo.  Best thing we did because it’s years later and now both girls still watch and learn from them.

For example, on a recent family trip to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, my now 5-year old daughter spent hours snorkeling among tropical fish and made it her goal to swim with the sea turtles.  I could see Bindi in her eyes as she pointed out new animals she found and the excitement with which she explained everything she discovered. Maybe that’s an understatement.  She made EVERYTHING she discovered into a learning experience for us, similar to the enthusiasm in which Bindi explains wildlife on her show. That connection to the non-human world around us is so important, and I feel that being introduced to Bindi has deepened that for her.

My Daughter up close with sea life.

My daughter up close with sea life. Photo credit to the author.

The excitement that the Irwin family has for wildlife is “out of this world”, and anyway I can capture it and spread it with my girls — I’ll take it! Bindi is a great role model for this connection with nature in symphony with getting out into nature whenever we can.

TIP: Be on the look out for inspiring children in television or in books, especially in the areas of interest to your children!  

Who are your favorite child role models for kids? Someone from your community? Someone from media or a book?  Help me add to my list — boys and girls of all ages! 

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Jennifer Burden of NJ, USA. She wrote this post on her own accord from the heart and was not asked or paid to feature the children or programs featured in this post. She just likes them!

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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