Nickelodeon, TIME and TIME for Kids today announced the top 20 finalists for the first-ever Kid of the Year honor, a multiplatform initiative recognizing extraordinary young leaders who are making a positive impact in their communities.
The top five honorees from the list will be featured in a TV special hosted by Trevor Noah (The Daily Show with Trevor Noah), with one kid ultimately being recognized as Kid of the Year and featured on a cover of TIME with a companion story in TIME for Kids. The special will simulcast across Nickelodeon, CBS Television Network, TeenNick and Nicktoons on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).
The Kid of the Year TV special will introduce the top five honorees ahead of the ultimate Kid of the Year being named, and feature guests stars from entertainment, sports and pop culture to help surprise them and celebrate their work. Celebrity guests scheduled to make appearances throughout the special include Kristen Bell, Simone Biles, Brie Larson, Zachary Levi and Russell Westbrook, among others.
The top 20 Kid of the Year finalists were selected following a nationwide search that received over 5,000 inspirational kids being nominated. The top 50 were presented to an Advisory Board made up of representatives from Nickelodeon, TIME, Special Olympics, Rosie’s Theater Kids and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA to help narrow down the top 20 finalists.
Of the 20, the five honorees were selected with the help of an influential kid committee comprised of Dylan Gilmer (Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan), Chinguun Sergelen (All That), Little Chef Ivy (MasterChef Junior), Sky Katz (Raven’s Home), and TIME for Kids Kid Reporters Raunak Singh and Tiana Sirmans, and will be revealed during the special.
Each of the five Kid of the Year honorees will receive a cash prize and have the opportunity to serve as a Kid Reporter for TIME for Kids with exclusive access to a Nickelodeon event.
Nickelodeon’s Kid of the Year TV special is a co-production of TIME Studios, Day Zero Productions, Mainstay Entertainment and Nickelodeon, with Rebecca Gitlitz and Jeff Smith serving as showrunners.
The executive producers include Andrea Delbanco (TIME for Kids), Ian Orefice and Mike Beck (TIME Studios), Trevor Noah and Haroon Saleem (Day Zero Productions), Norm Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin (Mainstay Entertainment) and Rob Bagshaw, Stacey Carr and Paul J Medford (Nickelodeon). Production of Nickelodeon’s Kid of the Year is overseen by Rob Bagshaw, Executive Vice President, Unscripted Content.
Kid of the Year Top 20 Finalists
Rebekah Bruesehoff (13; Camden County, N.J.), a transgender activist working to strengthen support systems for transgender and LGBTQ+ youth and show the world that LGBTQ+ kids are just like all other kids and deserve the same love, protections and representation.
Keedron Bryant (13; Jacksonville, Fla.), a musician and activist using his passion for music to help inspire social change, with the song “I Just Wanna Live” becoming an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Dylan Capshaw (14; Scottsdale, Ariz.), a wildlife activist and COVID-19 frontline worker advocate, helping animals in need through his nonprofit, Dylan Capshaw Wildlife Foundation, and printing 3D face-shields to help protect the frontline workers battling the coronavirus pandemic, which he ships through his nonprofit, For the Frontline.
Jack Dalton (10; Nashua, N.H.), a kid conservationist helping to educate other kids on how important it is for them to be involved in preserving the environment and the world through his fundraising campaigns and videos on YouTube. He also uses his status as a Youth Ambassador for the international nonprofit Orangutan Alliance to sell 100% recycled Kid Conservationist bags in support of orangutan rehabilitation, with all proceeds being donated to the organization.
Chloe Mei Espinosa (14; Newport Beach, Calif.), an environmental advocate working to protect the oceans through the reduction of single-use plastic straws worldwide, including providing education through her website, SkipthePlasticStraw.com.
Tyler Gordon (14; San Jose, Calif.), an artist using his love of painting to advocate for anti-bullying and social justice issues, as well as helping other kids with speech impediments through his foundation, Tongue Tyed.
Ryan Hickman (11; San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), an environmental advocate working to spread awareness of recycling and its ability to help save the planet through his company, Ryan’s Recycling, and his nonprofit, Project3R. He recycles over 30,000 cans and bottles each month, with over 1.1 million recycled to-date.
Hannah Jackson (16; Washington, D.C.), a criminal justice reform advocate fighting for the rights of those in the prison system and those directly affected by it, including having successfully lobbied Congress and the White House for the bi-partisan “First Step Act.”
Elijah Lee (12; Richmond, Va.), a child abuse and social justice activist devoted to combating child abuse and helping those currently facing it, including organizing his own annual anti-child abuse march and serving as a speaker on the issue at conferences.
Ian McKenna (16; Austin, Texas), an activist committed to providing hunger relief to kids and their families through harvesting fresh produce for them and educating others on its importance.
Samaira Mehta (12; Santa Clara, Calif.), a tech entrepreneur with a passion for teaching and spreading the love of coding through her initiative “Yes, 1 Billion Kids Can Code” and her coding ecosystem company, CoderBunnyz.
Anna Miller (13; Baltimore), an accessibility activist encouraging kids to code while using her rare genetic disorder, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, to help spread her message of positivity, inclusivity and equity for all.
Caleb Oh (15; Gambrills, Md.), a philanthropist helping the food insecure, homeless and foster children in his community and inspiring young people to serve others through his nonprofit, Kid Changemakers.
Gitanjali Rao (14; Lone Tree, Colo.), an inventor and scientist who centers her work around empathy to advocate for a people-centered approach to invention and problem-solving and provide innovation sessions to students around the globe to inspire them to create their own creative solutions to world problems.
Jordan Reeves (14; Columbia, Mo.), an advocate for those with physical disabilities working to challenge perceptions through designing new solutions and providing education through digital workshops with her nonprofit, Born Just Right.
Sophia Scott (17; Los Angeles), an education activist working to reduce the socioeconomic disparities in education during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering high-quality academic support for free through her nonprofit, QuaranTEENS Tutoring.
Za’Nia Stinson (14; Charlotte, N.C.), a philanthropist passionate about helping homeless women and children through providing food and toiletry items to local shelters with her nonprofit, Z Feeds Angel Food Project.
Ronak Suchindra (13; Chester Springs, Pa.), an activist dedicated to helping spread the love of learning by motivating youth to help teach kids all around the world through his non-profit organization, Kids Connect.
Khloe Thompson (13; Irvine, Calif.), a philanthropist working to inspire other kids to create change and provide essential items to the Los Angeles homeless community through her nonprofit, Khloe Kares, as well as traveling to Ghana to help build wells for villages in need.
Bellen Woodard (9; Loudoun County, Va.), the world’s first crayon activist highlighting the issues of empathy, leadership and diversity through the eyes and experiences of a child. Her campaign, The More than Peach Project, donates its own skin-tone and multicultural crayons and sketchbooks to students and senior citizens.