Here at ONE we’re celebrating International Youth Day (August 12th) all month long! Today we’re kicking it off by spotlighting Matt Millstein, a 15 year old entrepreneur from Maryland who founded an organization called Cards of Joy.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt this past weekend, and when I asked him why he started this organization at such a young age, he responded simply by saying that age is not a factor in changing the world—anybody, regardless of age, has the power to make a positive impact in the life of somebody else.
When he was just 9 years old, Matt decided that he needed to do something to give back to the world and help kids less fortunate than him. Matt realized that, fundamentally, all kids are the same and want the same things in life. Inspired by his this universal connection that all kids share, Matt decided to channel his passion for art into an organization founded on the idea of children helping children. Children in the United States make greeting cards and the money raised from them goes directly to children in Haiti. And that’s how Cards of Joy was born.
Watch my full interview with Matt below:
When he was in 4th grade, Matt partnered with Beyond Borders, a nonprofit that seeks to end slavery and violence against women in Haiti. Today, Matt, his little brother Michael, and his friends design cards and sell them online and in various local establishments in their community. One hundred percent of profits go to Beyond Borders, and as of today, Cards of Joy has raised over $15,000 for them!
Matt defies any skeptical adults who might say that he’s too young to really do anything meaningful in the world. Not only did he start a successful non-profit, but he inspired both kids and adults alike to make a positive difference by turning an ordinary, everyday activity like buying a greeting card into an opportunity to make the world a better a place.
As Matt gears up to finish high school and get ready for college, I asked him where he sees himself in ten years. What I learned is that he’s just like any other teenager—he loves music and he has big dreams. Ultimately, he wants to tour the world as a famous musician, while still running Cards of Joy at the same time!
We can all learn something from Matt: No matter how old you are, no matter how wealthy you are, no matter what your profession is, you can still find little ways to change the world for the better.
Now, that’s what I call an inspirational youth!
All photos credits to Chelsea Hudson Photography.