Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know all about Emma Raducanu and the AMAZING win she has just had at the US Open. Raducanu has not only made British history as the country’s first woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in 44 years, but by becoming the first qualifier to win a major, she has made tennis history too! Not bad for an 18 year-old!
At Banjo HQ, we’ve been talking about how inspirational she is and how our little ones can be inspired by these accomplished, motivated individuals, so thought we would list our top teenage role models:
This week she reached her career-high singles ranking of world No. 23 on 13 September 2021, and is the current British No. 1. At only age 18, she was ranked No. 338 in the world, Raducanu was awarded a wildcard into the main draw at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, and reached the fourth round there in her major debut. Two months later, she entered the qualifying competition for the 2021 US Open, and after reaching the main draw, she went on to become the first qualifier, male or female, to reach and win a Grand Slam singles final! Wow! In the final, she won the title without losing a set throughout the tournament! She has said, “”From a young age I’ve always been brought up to have mental strength. My parents played a huge part in my upbringing. They were pretty tough on me when I was young and it kind of shaped the way. I think now it is helping on the biggest stages in the world when you really need it.” Such a hero!!
There’s no way we couldn’t add Greta to our list! Born in 2003, this strong Swedish teen activist has become a leading voice for climate change activism. In 2018, she came up with the idea for the school strike movement after staging her first, solitary, protest in August on the steps of the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. Since then, more than a MASSIVE one million students have joined her by walking out of their classrooms to protest against climate change inaction. She has said, “We have to understand what the older generation has dealt to us, what mess they have created that we have to clean up and live with. We have to make our voices heard.”
Not quite a teenager anymore at age 24, Malala Yousafzai wrote and published an anonymous diary about her life in Pakistan under Taliban rule at age 11. She then began to speak out more publicly about the need for girls to have proper access to education. Unfortunately, this wasn’t seen as something that a child should be talking about and three years later, she was shot by a gunman on a school bus. This did not stop her though and after appearing on the front cover of Time magazine, she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014! She said in her acceptance speech, “This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change. I am here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice. It is not time to pity them.” So inspirational!
Amy and Ella Meek
Sisters Amy and Ella Meek from Nottingham are founders of Plastic Clever Schools and Kids Against Plastic with the goal of collecting 100,000 pieces of single use plastic (one for every sea mammal killed by plastic waste each year). What started as a home school project has since become an award-winning charity, and the sisters — who are both British #IWill Ambassadors for youth social action — are now campaigning to get single-use plastic bottles off the shelves of every UK supermarket.
In October 2018, Rishab Jain was named America’s Top Young Scientist for his award-winning tool which harnesses artificial intelligence to improve radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer patients! Woah. That would be impressive no matter who discovered it, but what makes it almost unbelievable is that Rishab was only 13 when he invented it! Today Rishab is 16 and keeps working on other inventions to help patients with pancreatic cancer. Rishab has also been an active supporter of pancreatic cancer awareness, having called for more research regarding this specific type of cancer.
In February 2018, a gunman stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people. Rather than being defeated by this tragic event, many of the teens who survived the shooting instead began a national campaign to try to end gun violence. When she was only 18, she emerged as one of the leaders of this new movement and co-founded the gun-control advocacy group Never Again MSD.
Nicholas met two siblings, a girl and a boy, who were homeless and unable to attend school regularly. They had one pair of shoes between them so they took turns wearing them to school every other day. Nicholas was heartbroken and gave the boy the shoes off his own feet. But one kind gesture wasn’t enough, he also founded the Gotta Have Soul Foundation in 2010 when he was just 12. In the past 10 years, he has put shoes on over 100,000 children in homeless shelters across every state in the US. Follow the Gotta Have Soul Foundation here.
Jahkil Jackson was 8 when he founded Project Am I. After helping his aunt distribute food to homeless people, Jahkil now offers “Blessings Bags” to the homeless, a giveaway with water bottles, deodorant, toothbrushes, hand sanitizer, and more. Now at age 13, has already impacted more than 50,000 people worldwide with his project!
Speak to your little one and find a passion that fuels them and they’ll become unstoppable!
Love, Banjo HQ x