Archive for » April, 2009 «

April 26th, 2009 | Author:

I’ve said this before but I think it is worth saying again, “A little bit can make a BIG difference”.   A lot of people don’t give to charity because they think that they have to give a lot or can’t afford even a little.  The fact is, it doesn’t have to be money or gifts.  Sometimes volunteering your time may be just what someone needs.

When I first started my business, I donated money to a local foster family agency.  Last year, I started buying toys and games to put together gift bags for the kids in Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA.  Even though I don’t get to deliver them to the kids personally because of my age, I know I am making a lot of kids happy and hopefully making there stay in the hospital not so bad.

 I just found out that Rady was ranked in the top 25 children’s hospitals in the US by Parents Magazine (Feb 2009 issue).  Rady is also part of the Children’s Miracle Network.  Each year, Rady helps tens of thousands of children.  Thay are building a new facility which will help them care for even more kids in the future.

Helping a children’s hospital is a good place to start since they need so many things for the kids each day.  I deliver my donations every quarter so if anyone is interested in helping out, please contact me through my website.

April 22nd, 2009 | Author:

On the way to school this morning, I was telling my mom how I couldn’t get the water temperature in the shower adjusted just right.  She said sometimes there’s a fine line between the hot and cold on the handle.   I thought it would be better to have a digital shower dial so you knew exactly what temperature you were trying to get.   Mom had a counter point to my brilliant idea.

For safety reasons, she said there would have to be an instant shut-off button in case the temperature got too hot for some reason.   Digital may be easier to set initially but not as fast to change.

Before so many things went digital, she said it was actually easier with dials because you could change it quicker in one turn or rotation.  Think of a digital alarm clock.  If it were set to 6:45 a.m. yesterday and now you want to set it to 7:20 a.m., you usually have to set the hour and minutes separately.  Changing the hour isn’t so bad.  It’s just one number.  But when you get to advancing the minutes, you have to scroll through from :45 to :20 and on some clocks, they make you click through every number which is kind of silly.  You can’t just hold down the button and speed through all the numbers.

Then Mom remembered about the old rotary phones like she had when she was growing up on the farm.   She said that was about the only device that improved once it went to a push button type.   It was much faster to punch in 7-10 numbers instead of dialing them one at a time and then waiting for the dial to rotate back into starting position.

As with any digital or push button device now (phones, calculators, etc.), if you push a wrong number, you just hit a clear or back button to erase that digit, then continue on.  So I asked Mom how they cleared a number if you realized you dialed the wrong digit on those rotary phones.  She started laughing but I didn’t see what was so funny about my question.  She said she never thought about “clearing” a number on those old phones.

I said, “well, how did you do it?”  She said you just hung up the receiver or clicked the button in the receiver cradle and started over.  Because it took much longer to use a rotary dial phone, apparently they were more careful about not making mistakes and dialing the wrong digits.

Things are sure different now and most kids have a really hard time thinking about anything but the way it is today.  I’m glad Mom grew up when and where she did because her childhood stories are really interesting and sometimes pretty funny.

In case you don’t know, some stores sell a retro version of that old rotary phone.  They are kind of cool.

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April 20th, 2009 | Author:

100_0100How many times does a seventh grader get to judge a high school business competition?  Probably not too often.  On April 17, I was invited to judge and speak at a Junior Achievement business competition in LA.  It was really interesting.  There were about 17 groups from different schools in the LA area.  Each group created a business and had to present their plan.  I judged the table displays for the teams.  I was paired with two adult judges and we didn’t always agree but I made some pretty good points.


The overall winners were:

  • JA Company of the Year (Venture Capital League) went to Falcon Royal Tees from CALS Early College High School.
  • JA Company of the Year (Board of Directors League) went to Higher Grounds Cafe from Chaminade College Preparatory School.


Through the Inland Empire’s Junior Achievement rep, we were able to also invite Mark Victor Hansen, author of “The Richest Kids in America” to be on the business panel.  He has so much energy, the kids were amazed.


I am looking forward to working with Junior Achievement in the future.

April 18th, 2009 | Author:

Twitter does have a learning curve for most people, especially figuring out the abbreviations.

Recently, I received a tweet from @jyl_MOMIF inviting me as a guest on their weekly Twitter #GNO pajama party.  Since my mom monitors all my tweets, she wondered what GNO stood for.   I’m not really sure why I knew that abbreviation but I quickly told her, “girls night out.”

You would think it was just for girls but they often invite men guests.  Last week, they had @guykawasaki on talking about entrepreneurship.  On Tuesday, April 21, I’ll be one of their guests for the topic, “Charity.”  I’m pretty sure I’ll be the youngest Twitter guest/entrepreneur, not mention the youngest boy, they’ve ever had.  How cool is that?!

Since I started my own business when I was nine (I’m 13 now), I’ve been donating to help foster kids and also a children’s hospital.  I always encourage people to at least give something because even the smallest things can make a difference in someone else’s life.  It doesn’t have to be money or gifts either.  If you can volunteer your time, that’s good too.  Besides helping kids in California, I’ve taken on a much bigger project also.

Last year, an organization called Nurture Smart located in Nairobi, Kenya found me on Internet when they were searching for a young entrepreneur.  They have a program to teach kids ages 7-15 the skills to become productive business people so when they grow up, they can continue to help people in their own country.  They invited me to Kenya as a peer ambassador, keynote speaker, and judge at their annual Young Entrepreneur Search competition.  As details were being worked out for the trip, their funding partner backed out on them leaving their program, and especially the kids, with nothing.

I’ve seen a lot of things on TV about people donating food and clothes to other countries which is really good.  But when that stuff is gone, the people are still in the same situation they were before.  Nurture Smart’s program is trying to educate the kids to be more self-sufficient when they grow up.  I think that’s a lot smarter in the long run.  That’s why my family and I are looking for ways to help them raise money to keep their program going for the kids.

Join me at #GNO on Tuesday, April 21 from 6-8 p.m.  I’ll be online answering questions and giving some tips that I’ve learned about business and charities.  For more details, check out Mom It Forward .

April 05th, 2009 | Author:

000_0003Last Friday, April 3, I went down to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA with my parents for my quarterly donation.  We delivered lots of fun toys for the kids and their playroom such as Play-Doh, bubbles, and cool musical toys and books.  This time, we were given a short tour of some of the public areas in the hospital.  Because I’m under age, I’m still not allowed to go into the medical areas but we saw some cool things.


101_0016101_0015When the coordinator said she was going to show us their cow first, I wondered why they had a cow at a hospital.  It turned out to be a very colorful statue which stood in the courtyard. It was designed by artist Eduardo Parra and painted by some of the patients.  It was spectacular because of the vibrant use of colors.  It was on display for La Jolla’s Cow Parade which runs from March 15 to June 15.  On one side, it was painted in yellows representing day and on the other, in blues for night. 


The tour continued inside through the lobby and we saw all of their remodeling efforts.  As we walked through the emergency room waiting area, it was empty.  I guess that was a good thing at least for the moment.  She said they typically get busy after school is out.  On the other side of the reception area was a hallway lined with hand painted tiles by sponsors.  They are doing a lot of construction which will mean they can care for more kids when everything is done.


The day was really fun and since we had just gotten a new digital camera, I used it to take lots of pictures of random stuff.  Here are some of the more meaningful pictures.


I donate to them every quarter so if anyone is interested in helping out a really good cause, let me know.  The next donation will be about the first week in July.  They always need toys and activities because so many kids go through that hospital.