MIPY 2009 Top of Slide

Most Inspiring Nominees of 2009

Zach Bonner

Zach Bonner

Caring Kid Who Helps the Homeless

"Kids are never too young to make a difference," says 12-year-old Zach Bonner, a sixth-grader in Tampa, Fla. "No matter how old or how young, how rich or how poor, you can always make a difference. Whether you donate a dollar or a hundred dollars, it all adds up."

Zach began at 6, hauling his Radio Flyer through his hometown, collecting bottled water for hurricane victims. But his greatest concern, even at that age, was the plight of homeless children. At 7 he was filling backpacks with food, hygiene products, and simple toys for kids living on the street, some of whom had never had a new toy. “There are 1.3 million homeless kids in America,” says Zach. “And 13 die each day on the street.”

One of his projects, “24 Hours,” got kids like him to spend a day and night living on the street in cardboard boxes to experience what homeless kids go through. Last year he made a 1200-mile "My House to the White House" walk to raise money to house homeless youth, and he is now embarked on a coast-to-coast walk to benefit a boys' and girls' club in Los Angeles.

Zach is nominated as one of Beliefnet's Most Inspiring People of the Year for living his conviction that no one is ever too young to change the world.

When Zach grows up, he'd like to be an attorney who also spends time giving back to the community. "I hope that service will always be a part of my life," he said. "When we do the projects, we get to interact with the kids. You get to see the joy on their faces. It makes everything worth it, all the hard work."

All Nominee Top
 

Captain Sully
Capt. "Sully"
Sullenberger

Hero of the Hudson

 

Danny Cottrell
Danny Cottrell

Recession Angel

  Kaleb Eulls

Kaleb Eulls
Football Star Saves Lives

 

Zach Bonner
Zach Bonner

Helps Homeless Kids

  Jill and Kevin

Jill & Kevin Wedding
Wedding Dance for Donations

 

Jorge Munoz
Jorge Munoz

Feeding the Hungry

 

Griffeth-Illingworth
Griffeth &
Illingworth

Do-Gooder Officers

 

Paul Levy
Paul Levy

CEO Who Saved Jobs

 

Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox

Devoted Optimist

  Iranian Protestors

Iranian Protesters
Standing Up for Freedom

All Nominee Bottom
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Meet the Winner: Zach Bonner
  • zach bonner most inspiring person

    Zach in Action

    Photos and audio interview with an extraordinary boy making a difference in other children's lives.

  • Zach Bonner

    Read the Interview

    Our winner shares what motivates him, what he wants to be when he grows up, and more.

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