Zach Bonner Interview

Meet Beliefnet’s Most Inspiring Person of 2009

Find Out More About the Most Inspiring Person of 2009.

Zach Bonner was selected as Most Inspiring Person of 2009 for his compassionate, selfless service to homeless children. Not only has Zach made it his mission to call attention to the plight of needy kids, he literally walks his talk. 

He is only 12, yet since the age of six he has been living his conviction that  no one is ever too young to change the world. Zach is the youngest winner in the decade-long history of this award.

We caught up with Zach for a short interview between his homeschool lessons and his preparations for a big holiday party for homeless kids.

Beliefnet: Congratulations on being the Most Inspiring Person of 2009. How are you feeling about this new honor that's been bestowed on you?

Zach Bonner: I think it's pretty awesome that I was even chosen to be in the running for it, and to be selected is even cooler.

What do you think it is about you that people find so inspiring?

Zach: I think when people see a kid trying to do good—and not just me but any kid trying to do good—I think that they are really supportive and they really want to help.

You've been doing this kind of work since you were six. What is your inspiration? What motivates you?

Zach: It's really the kids that keep me going. You know, getting to do the projects and stuff like that, and really getting to go out into your own community and to see these kids, it really just makes you want to continue going and to continue helping.

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Beliefnet: How were you first exposed to the plight of homeless children? You're so young. How did you learn about it?

Zach: Well, my first project was with Hurricane Charley. I started [collecting] food and water and supplies for victims of Hurricane Charley. I just had a really good time with it and I continued to do a couple more projects. And one day, my mom was kidding with me and she said, "Well, what are you going to do now?" And I said that I wanted to help homeless people. And she said, "Well, why don't you try and do something a little bit smaller?" So we came up with homeless children.

You've taken some big commitments on. Do you ever feel like it's too much, or does it always feel easy to you?

Zach: Well, there's definitely days in there that it feels like, "Why did I ever get into this," and stuff like that. But I just think about the kids. And that's what really keeps me going, because these kids, they're homeless and they don't get to just say, you know, "I'm tired of being homeless. Oh, well, I'm not going to be homeless anymore." So why should I get to quit walking or whatever project I'm doing? And plus, it's a lot of fun. That's what kind of keeps me going.

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Laurie Sue Brockway
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