American Dreamers: Extraordinary Kids Taking Charge and Making Change

By Lu Hanessian

“I think we can get so caught up in social media, we lose the bigger picture….we need to spend some time away from the screen finding our passion and pursuing it.” – Katie Stagliano, 13, Katie’s Krops

Picture this. You plant a tiny cabbage seedling. You never imagine that it will grow into a forty-pound cabbage. You don’t call Ripley’s or Guinness; you don’t want to win a contest.

You want to feed the hungry.

You donate your cabbage to a local soup kitchen, where you personally serve and feed 275 people. There, you begin to imagine feeding a whole nation.

Meet Katie Stagliano. Her goal is to wipe out hunger in America. When she won a Launch My Dream! t-shirt design contest in 2009, part of the Amazing Kids!’ Launch My Dream! initiative, she began donating proceeds from the sale of the shirt to grow gardens. She and a master gardener, mentor and a group of volunteers have planted and tend several thriving gardens, and continue to donate all produce to those in need. Now, at 13, Stagliano, founder and Chief Gardening Officer of Katie’s Krops, based in South Carolina, is a growing a dream. When she planted that first seedling just four years ago, she was nine years-old.

We are living in complex times, an increasingly fast-paced world, in a country where many children are not thriving. Lack of food, suboptimal care and family support, little or no resources or safety create chronic stress for millions of today’s youth.

In addition, growing numbers of kids are at risk of becoming alarmingly disconnected in an age of 24/7 connectivity, what some researchers are calling “overwired.” Current studies show the average American youth is spending up to eleven hours online and on their devices each day, with teens approaching four thousand texts a month.

Neuroscientists are concerned that today’s kids may actually care less because their brains are changing. According to a recent 30-year study by researchers at the University of Michigan involving 14,000 subjects, college students after the year 2000 have 40% less empathy (our capacity to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes) than their predecessors and a whopping 48% drop in sympathy (our capacity for empathic concern).

Katie Stagliano has something to say about spending hours a day online. “I know that we spend a lot of time on technology, but I think that we can get so caught up in social media, we lose the bigger picture. We get caught up in the drama. Social media is a good tool, but we also need to spend some time away from the screen finding our passion and pursuing it.”

She has clearly found hers. Her goal is to have at least one garden growing in every state across the country that will donate its whole harvest to feed the hungry.

Stagliano may be the exception, but she’s not alone.

Shannon McNamara, who, at 19, is the founder of an organization, Share In Africa, that supports students to go to (and graduate from) school in Tanzania.

Adele Taylor, 15, is empowering thousands of kids through her literacy campaign, Adele's Literacy Library.

Olivia Bouler, 13, was so distraught over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that she donated 500 original bird paintings to the Audubon Society, wrote a book “Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf,” and has raised more than $200,000 for the organization to support the recovery of coastal birds.

Over the last few months, I’ve met and interviewed each of these young change-makers, among many others, in GBTV’s Liberty Treehouse studio in New York. During this week, we are kicking off “Project Treehouse,” our ongoing initiative to search the country for kids making a difference, to shine a light on their efforts and their causes. In this weekly segment series, we will be highlighting powerful stories of today’s youth who are taking a stand and making change in the world, offering them, in effect, a world stage on which they can share their messages of hope and purpose.

Illiteracy. Hunger. Cyberbullying. Pediatric cancer. Endangered wildlife.

One key factor I noticed in each of their stories is that these kids feel called to make a difference. They don’t want to make change in order to be leaders; they become leaders in order to create change and make a difference for others. They lead, because they believe they must.

Two potent catalysts in the individual and collective efforts of these young dreamers are their families and a growing community who are inspired to share and help fulfill their visions.

Shannon McNamara has grown up with parents who organized “family vacation service trips,” from Peru to Tanzania, where she was inspired to create SHAREinAfrica. To date, SHARE has created fully functioning school libraries and organized after-school reading programs; collected 33,000 donated books, thousands of school supplies, and dozens of used laptop computers and e-readers; installed electricity and solar power in three schools; and built a dining hall that seats more than 700 students.

“That first trip to Tanzania when I was 15 really moved me. I decided that I wanted to empower girls there to believe they can learn and do whatever they dream of doing and have access to whatever they need to realize it,” explains McNamara, who has expanded her non-profit’s mission to include a scholarship program in a country where only 5% of girls graduate from high school. She is not only empowering girls in Tanzanian schools, but also inspiring her peers.

This is how the tide turns, how kids who feel disengaged from their dreams might just realize that they do have a voice and a calling.

Bouler explains, “Every kid has this talent in them, even if they haven’t unlocked it. It’s about having the initiative to go out and try it.  Get out. Immerse yourself in nature. Go places.  Travel. Read about causes that you want to devote yourself to. Don’t look at the negative. You may miss things that captivate you.”

“Find a niche,” adds Stagliano. “Have a great time and help others at the same time. That would motivate more kids to want to make a difference. I don’t think I’m extraordinary. I think anybody can do this.”

But if anybody can, why isn’t everybody doing it?

“It’s about motivation,” she says, without hesitation. “If you have great motivation, you’re compelled and inspired to say ‘hey there’s a need and there’s something I can do.’ My cabbage was my motivation.”

To that end, Stagliano is giving out grants to other young people across the country so they can start their own vegetable gardens to donate their harvests.

These are our nation’s change agents. Young people who are showing us that it doesn’t actually take a village to raise them, but takes them to raise the village. To raise awareness and resources. To raise the bar on service. These kids may be the exception, but they’re also exceptional for their efforts, passion, determination and sense of purpose.

Not to mention their humility.

“I’m not quite sure if I’m a leader,” says Stagliano. “I couldn’t lead without all the people helping me. I have a lot of people supporting me. I couldn’t do this without them.”

Lu Hanessian is co-host of GBTV's Liberty Treehouse, author of the acclaimed book “Let the Baby Drive: Navigating the Road of New Motherhood” (2004) and "Picnic On a Cloud", award-winning journalist, former NBC anchor/host (“Real Life”; “Unsolved Mysteries”) and Discovery Health Channel host of “Make Room for Baby,” international parent educator, founder of Parent2ParentU and WYSH Wear Your Spirit for Humanity. For five years, she hosted The Science Show, syndicated in 110 countries.

Most self-proclaimed Marxists know very little about Marxism. Some of them have all the buzzwords memorized. They talk about the exploits of labor. They talk about the slavery of capitalist society and the alienation caused by capital. They talk about the evils of power and domination.

But they don't actually believe what they say. Or else they wouldn't be such violent hypocrites. And we're not being dramatic when we say "violent."

For them, Marxism is a political tool that they use to degrade and annoy their political enemies.

They don't actually care about the working class.

Another important thing to remember about Marxists is that they talk about how they want to defend the working class, but they don't actually understand the working class. They definitely don't realize that the working class is composed mostly of so many of the people they hate. Because, here's the thing, they don't actually care about the working class. Or the middle class. They wouldn't have the slightest clue how to actually work, not the way we do. For them, work involves ranting about how work and labor are evil.

Ironically, if their communist utopia actually arrived, they would be the first ones against the wall. Because they have nothing to offer except dissent. They have no practical use and no real connection to reality.

Again ironically, they are the ultimate proof of the success of capitalism. The fact that they can freely call for its demise, in tweets that they send from their capitalistic iPhones, is proof that capitalism affords them tremendous luxuries.

Their specialty is complaining. They are fanatics of a religion that is endlessly cynical.

They sneer at Christianity for promising Heaven in exchange for good deeds on earth — which is a terrible description of Christianity, but it's what they actually believe — and at the same time they criticize Christianity for promising a utopia, they give their unconditional devotion to a religion that promises a utopia.

They are fanatics of a religion that is endlessly cynical.

They think capitalism has turned us into machines. Which is a bad interpretation of Marx's concept of the General Intellect, the idea that humans are the ones who create machines, so humans, not God, are the creators.

They think that the only way to achieve the perfect society is by radically changing and even destroying the current society. It's what they mean when they say things about the "status quo" and "hegemony" and the "established order." They believe that the system is broken and the way to fix it is to destroy, destroy, destroy.

Critical race theory actually takes it a step farther. It tells us that the racist system can never be changed. That racism is the original sin that white people can never overcome. Of course, critical race theorists suggest "alternative institutions," but these "alternative institutions" are basically the same as the ones we have now, only less effective and actually racist.

Marx's violent revolution never happened. Or at least it never succeeded. Marx's followers have had to take a different approach. And now, we are living through the Revolution of Constant Whining.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.

Americans are losing faith in our justice system and the idea that legal consequences are applied equally — even to powerful elites in office.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail what he believes will come next with the Durham investigation, which hopefully will provide answers to the Obama FBI's alleged attempts to sabotage former President Donald Trump and his campaign years ago.

Rep. Nunes and Glenn assert that we know Trump did NOT collude with Russia, and that several members of the FBI possibly committed huge abuses of power. So, when will we see justice?

Watch the video clip below:

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The corporate media is doing everything it can to protect Dr. Anthony Fauci after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) roasted him for allegedly lying to Congress about funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China.

During an extremely heated exchange at a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Paul challenged Dr. Fauci — who, as the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, oversees research programs at the National Institute of Health — on whether the NIH funded dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Dr. Fauci denied the claims, but as Sen. Paul knows, there are documents that prove Dr. Fauci's NIH was funding gain-of-function research in the Wuhan biolab before COVID-19 broke out in China.

On "The Glenn Beck Program," Glenn and Producer Stu Burguiere presented the proof, because Dr. Fauci's shifting defenses don't change the truth.

Watch the video clip below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

Critical race theory: A special brand of evil


Part of what makes it hard for us to challenge the left is that their beliefs are complicated. We don't mean complicated in a positive way. They aren't complicated the way love is complicated. They're complicated because there's no good explanation for them, no basis in reality.

The left cannot pull their heads out of the clouds. They are stuck on romantic ideas, abstract ideas, universal ideas. They talk in theories. They see the world through ideologies. They cannot divorce themselves from their own academic fixations. And — contrary to what they believe and how they act — it's not because leftists are smarter than the rest of us. And studies have repeatedly shown that leftists are the least happy people in the country. Marx was no different. The Communist Manifesto talks about how the rise of cities "rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life."

Studies have repeatedly shown that leftists are the least happy people in the country.

Instead of admitting that they're pathological hypocrites, they tell us that we're dumb and tell us to educate ourselves. Okay, so we educate ourselves; we return with a coherent argument. Then they say, "Well, you can't actually understand what you just said unless you understand the work of this other obscure Marxist writer. So educate yourselves more."

It's basically the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, the idea that when you point out a flaw in someone's argument, they say, "Well, that's a bad example."

After a while, it becomes obvious that there is no final destination for their bread-crumb trail. Everything they say is based on something that somebody else said, which is based on something somebody else said.

Take critical race theory. We're sure you've noticed by now that it is not evidence-based — at all. It is not, as academics say, a quantitative method. It doesn't use objective facts and data to arrive at conclusions. Probably because most of those conclusions don't have any basis in reality.

Critical race theory is based on feelings. These feelings are based on theories that are also based on feelings.

We wanted to trace the history of critical race theory back to the point where its special brand of evil began. What allowed it to become the toxic, racist monster that it is today?

Later, we'll tell you about some of the snobs who created critical theory, which laid the groundwork for CRT. But if you follow the bread-crumb trail from their ideas, you wind up with Marxism.

For years, the staff has devoted a lot of time to researching Marxism. We have read a lot of Marx and Marxist writing. It's part of our promise to you to be as informed as possible, so that you know where to go for answers; so that you know what to say when your back is up against the wall. What happens when we take the bread-crumb trail back farther, past Marxism? What is it based on?

This is the point where Marxism became Marxism and not just extra-angry socialism.

It's actually based on the work of one of the most important philosophers in human history, a 19th-century German philosopher named Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

This is the point where Marxism became Marxism and not just extra-angry socialism. And, as you'll see in just a bit, if we look at Hegel's actual ideas, it's obvious that Marx completely misrepresented them in order to confirm his own fantasies.

So, in a way, that's where the bread-crumb trail ends: With Marx's misrepresentation of an incredibly important, incredibly useful philosophy, a philosophy that's actually pretty conservative.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.