Orion Jean is making the world a kinder place thanks to his good deeds.
In a press release, TIME, TIME for Kids, and Nickelodeon announced that the 11-year-old Texan has been named the 2021 TIME Kid of the Year.
His good deeds reportedly began with his “Race to Kindness” initiative that began during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I saw a lot of things were happening, people were losing their jobs and losing access to food and homes and all of these essential things,” Orion Jean said in an interview with Angelina Jolie for TIME. “And I knew right then that I wanted to do something to help, but the opportunity actually came around when my teacher suggested that I enter into a speech contest. And if I won the prize money that came with the contest, that means I could start a kindness initiative to help these people.”
Race To Kindness
CBS News reports “that winning that content ‘was really just the catalyst to something so much bigger. It started out as an idea but here we are today, the race to kindness was born,'” in 2021.
The outlet reports that Jean donated toys to the Dallas Children’s hospital with his $500 in prize money thanks to winning the contest.
“Some kids don’t have access to any books, really. I mean, they live in areas that we call book deserts. And I wanted to—maybe not eliminate them, but—make those areas smaller, or at least get books out to those areas. I wanted to be able to partner with organizations in those communities,“ Jean said, according to TIME.
He continued: “I did not do this by myself, it took a whole team behind me: my parents, my family, all of the generous corporate donors and organizations that we partnered with and strangers that I’ve never even met. They are all donating because they feel compelled to help those in their community.”
Kid of the Year
To highlight Orion’s efforts, Orion Jean alongside each of the five Kid of the Year honorees will earn a cash reward. The recipients will also take on the role as a Kid Reporter for TIME for Kids with the added perk of attending a Nickelodeon event exclusively.