RIVERVIEW - Zach Bonner, founder of the Little Red Wagon Foundation Inc. and focus of the feature-length film, "Little Red Wagon," recently won a $1,000 Kohl's Cares Scholarship for further education.
Bonner, 15 and in 10th grade, wants to study law at Harvard University. He attends Florida Virtual School, so whether at home or on the road, he can continue his education and efforts to eradicate youth homelessness.
In 2012, he spent in excess of 1,000 hours packing school supplies, food, toys, candy and personal items into more than 1,900 backpacks, which he then distributed to homeless youth across America.
"Something as simple as a backpack filled with things, a random act of kindness, can change a person's life," Bonner said. "It's not a permanent solution to a problem, but it can give them hope."
Bonner continues to seek ways to help children in need. He has painted schoolrooms in Uganda; hosted 24-hour, homeless-simulation events; and spent six days in a Plexiglas box in Brandon collecting donations for his foundation.
"When you learn there are more than 1.3 million kids who are homeless and that behind these numbers is a kid with their own story, it's insane," Bonner said. "Once you hear the stories, it's not, 'Why help?' it's 'Why not help?'
"A lot of people want to do something, but aren't sure how," he continued. "When people are given an opportunity to make a difference, they're quick to jump onboard."
Zach was one of 200 students chosen from among more than 35,000 nominees nationwide for the Kohl's Cares award. From those 200, the Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program will announce a national winner at the end of July.
Since the Kohl's program's start in 2001, the volunteer efforts of more than 19,000 students have been acknowledged and nearly $4 million in scholarships and prizes have been awarded.
For more information, visit www.kohlskids.com and www.lrwf.org.
Send news of community interest to Barbara Routen at Neighbors@tampabay.rr.com.