Beyond Traditional Solutions: 10 Creative Thinkers Who Solve Social Issues
When it comes to creativity, we often think of artists or entrepreneurs who use their creative talents. But creativity has many dimensions. For example, within the spectrum of ‘doing good‘. People who have managed to achieve a huge social impact in a very creative way are often not highlighted enough. While they may be the ones who deserve more recognition. Below are 10 people who have creatively and selflessly enriched the lives of millions of others.
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Joshua Coombes and his Haircuts4Homeless project
Joshua Coombes is a hairstylist from the United Kingdom who gained international recognition for his “Haircuts4Homeless” initiative. Coombes started this project in 2015 when he began offering free haircuts to homeless people on the streets of London. He saw this as a way to use his skills as a hairstylist to give back to his community and help those who are less fortunate.
As he continued to provide haircuts to homeless individuals, Coombes began to see the impact that this small act of kindness could have on people’s lives. He realized that a fresh haircut could boost someone’s confidence and self-esteem and that it could also serve as an opportunity to have a conversation and connect with someone who is often overlooked or ignored.
Coombes has since expanded his project to other cities across the UK and beyond, and has used his platform to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness. He has collaborated with various organizations and individuals to provide not only haircuts, but also other services and resources that homeless people may need, such as food, clothing, and shelter.
Through his work with “Haircuts4Homeless“, Coombes has shown that small acts of kindness can have a big impact and that it is important to recognize the dignity and worth of all individuals, regardless of their circumstances.
Megan Hobson and her “Free Little Pantry” project
Megan Hobson is a teacher from Indiana who started a “Free Little Pantry” at her school to provide food and other necessities to students and families in need. The idea for the pantry came to her after she noticed that many of her students were coming to school hungry or without the necessary supplies for their classes.
Hobson worked with her school’s PTO and community members to set up the pantry, which is a small cabinet filled with non-perishable food items, toiletries, and other essentials. Anyone in the community is welcome to take what they need, no questions asked.
The pantry is stocked by donations from community members, and Hobson also organizes food drives and other fundraisers to ensure that the pantry is always well-stocked. In addition to providing food and other necessities, the pantry has also become a place of community and support for those in need.
Hobson’s “Free Little Pantry” has inspired others in her community and beyond to start similar initiatives, and she has been recognized for her efforts with various awards and honors. Her work demonstrates the power of small acts of kindness and the importance of supporting those in need within our communities.
Chris Nikic and his full Ironman triathlon project
Chris Nikic is a young man with Down syndrome who made history in 2020 as the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full Ironman triathlon. An Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run, and is considered one of the most challenging endurance events in the world.
Nikic trained for months with his coach and father, Nik, and completed the Ironman Florida race in just over 16 hours. His accomplishment has inspired people around the world and has been celebrated as a symbol of determination and inclusion.
Nikic uses his story to raise awareness about the capabilities of people with disabilities and to encourage others to pursue their goals, no matter how big or small. He has become a spokesperson for the Special Olympics and has been recognized with various awards and honors for his achievement.
Nikic’s journey to becoming an Ironman also sheds light on the challenges and barriers that people with disabilities face in pursuing their dreams, and the importance of creating inclusive environments and opportunities for all. His story is a powerful reminder of the potential and resilience of individuals with disabilities and has helped to shift perceptions and attitudes toward inclusion and acceptance.
Jaden Smit and his I Love You Restaurant project
Jaden Smith is an American actor, musician, and activist who founded “I Love You Restaurant” in 2019. The restaurant is a vegan food truck that provides free meals to homeless people in Los Angeles.
Smith started the project as a way to give back to his community and address issues of food insecurity and homelessness in the area. The food truck serves healthy, plant-based meals to those in need, with a focus on promoting health and wellness.
Since its launch, “I Love You Restaurant” has become a fixture in the Los Angeles community, with Smith and his team working to expand their reach and impact. In addition to providing free meals, the project has also raised awareness about issues of poverty, inequality, and the need for community support.
Smith has been recognized for his work with “I Love You Restaurant” and his commitment to social and environmental causes. His project is an example of how individuals with platforms and resources can use their influence to make a positive impact on the world around them.
Sherry Johnson and her handmade dolls project
Sherry Johnson is a retired teacher from Arizona who uses her sewing skills to create handmade dolls for children in hospitals and orphanages. Johnson started making the dolls in 2009 after seeing a child in a hospital who was without a stuffed animal or toy to comfort them during their stay.
Johnson’s handmade dolls are made with love and care, and each one is unique and personalized for the child who will receive it. She uses a variety of materials and designs and often incorporates features like pockets, zippers, and other interactive elements to make the dolls even more special.
Over the years, Johnson has donated thousands of dolls to hospitals and orphanages around the world, bringing comfort and joy to countless children in need. Her work has been recognized with various awards and honors, and she continues to sew and donate dolls to this day.
Johnson’s project is a powerful reminder of the impact that small acts of kindness can have on others and the importance of using one’s skills and resources to make a difference in the world. Her handmade dolls bring comfort, joy, and a sense of love and care to children who are going through difficult times, and her generosity and kindness inspire others to do the same.
Mary Cate Lynch and her Uplift Cards project
Mary Cate Lynch is a young girl from Illinois who founded “UpLift Cards” in 2015. The nonprofit organization sends handmade cards to people going through difficult times, such as illness or grief, with the goal of providing a little bit of comfort and support during challenging moments.
Lynch started the project after her father was diagnosed with cancer and she saw firsthand the impact that small gestures of kindness and support can have on those going through difficult times. She began making handmade cards and sending them to people she knew who were facing health challenges and soon realized that there was a need for this type of support on a larger scale.
Since its launch, “UpLift Cards” has sent thousands of cards to people around the world, and has been recognized for its impact and inspiration. The organization has also expanded its mission to include other forms of support, such as care packages and virtual events.
Lynch’s work with “UpLift Cards” is a powerful example of the impact that even one person can have on the world around them. Her project shows that small acts of kindness can make a big difference and that providing support and encouragement to others during challenging times can be a meaningful way to make a positive impact on the world.
Mohamed Bzeek and his fostering terminally ill children project
Mohamed Bzeek is a Libyan-American man who has dedicated his life to fostering terminally ill children who have been abandoned by their families. Bzeek started fostering children with special needs in the 1980s and has since opened his home to more than 80 children, many of whom were diagnosed with terminal illnesses.
Bzeek’s work with these children is deeply compassionate and selfless. He provides them with love, care, and a sense of family in their final days, and works to ensure that they are comfortable and surrounded by love until the end of their lives. He also coordinates with healthcare providers and other support services to ensure that the children receive the best possible care.
Bzeek’s work has gained recognition and praise from around the world, with many people inspired by his kindness and generosity. He has been recognized with various awards and honors, including the 2017 Angel in Adoption award from the US Congress.
Bzeek’s work with terminally ill children is a powerful reminder of the importance of showing love and compassion to those in need, especially during difficult and trying times. His selflessness and dedication to providing comfort and care to these children have touched countless lives and inspired many others to do the same.
Paul Lamar Hunter and his No Love, No Charity project
Paul Lamar Hunter is a man from Michigan who overcame homelessness and wrote a memoir about his experience in order to inspire others and raise awareness about the issue of homelessness. Hunter’s book, titled “No Love, No Charity: The Success of the 19th Child,” chronicles his journey from being homeless and living in shelters with his family to achieving success as a business owner and motivational speaker.
Hunter’s story is one of resilience and determination. He grew up in poverty with 19 siblings and faced numerous challenges, including racism and discrimination. Despite these obstacles, he remained focused on his goals and worked hard to achieve success.
In addition to writing his memoir, Hunter also speaks publicly about his experience and works to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty. He has been recognized with various awards and honors for his advocacy work, including the 2018 “Champion of the Underdog” award from the Detroit City Council.
Hunter’s story is a powerful reminder of the impact that determination and hard work can have on one’s life and the importance of supporting and advocating for those who are facing similar challenges. His memoir and advocacy work has inspired many others to persevere through difficult times and work towards a better future.
Rick Lookebill and his refurbished bike project
Rick Lookebill is a man from Ohio who collects discarded bicycles, refurbishes them, and gives them to children in low-income neighborhoods. Lookebill started his project in 2012 after seeing a need for bikes among children in his community who did not have the means to buy them.
Lookebill collects donated bikes from various sources, including thrift stores, garage sales, and individuals who no longer need their bikes. He then spends time repairing and refurbishing the bikes, making sure that they are safe and functional for the children who will receive them.
Once the bikes are ready, Lookebill distributes them to children in low-income neighborhoods, often working with schools and community organizations to identify those who could benefit from his project. He also provides helmets and other safety gear to ensure that the children are safe while riding.
Lookebill’s project has had a significant impact on the children who receive the bikes, providing them with a means of transportation and a sense of independence and joy. His work also promotes physical activity and outdoor play and has helped to build community connections and support.
Lookebill’s project is an inspiring example of how one person can make a positive impact on their community by using their skills and resources to address a need. His work has inspired others to get involved and has shown that small acts of kindness can make a big difference in the lives of others.
Mariah Nablo and het Readd Indeed project
Mariah Nablo is a young woman from Minnesota who founded “Read Indeed” in 2009, a nonprofit organization that collects and donates books to children in need. Nablo started the project when she was just 8 years old, after realizing that many children in her community did not have access to books and the benefits of literacy.
Since its launch, “Read Indeed” has donated over 2 million books to children in need across the United States and around the world. The organization collects books through book drives and partnerships with schools, libraries, and other organizations, and distributes them to children who may not have access to books otherwise.
Nablo’s work with “Read Indeed” has been recognized with various awards and honors, and she has been invited to speak at conferences and events around the world. She has also been featured in numerous media outlets for her efforts to promote literacy and inspire others to make a positive impact in their communities.
Nablo’s project is an inspiring example of how one person’s passion and commitment can make a big difference in the lives of others. Her work with “Read Indeed” has not only provided children with access to books and the benefits of literacy but has also inspired others to get involved and make a positive impact in their communities.