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6 Most Influential Teens and What We Should Learn from Them

These teens all have something in common: their passion to change the world

A lot of us are capable and filled with potential. Unfortunately, we are led to believe that we can’t do great things because we’re too young. In the case of these teens, they made it known to the world that age is just a number.

Coming from different backgrounds and fields, here are some individuals who made it to Time’s Most Influential Teens of 2018. Get this, one Filipina made it to the list!

The Leaders of Tomorrow

Rishab Jain

Image source Business Insider

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to cure. In order to help doctors approach the illness, Rishab Jain from Oregon has built a simulation that makes the treatment of the disease more effective. As a programmer and artificial intelligence enthusiast, Rishab created the PCDLS net to improve pancreas tracking during radiotherapy. 

At only 14 years old, his outstanding accomplishment earned him the top prize of $25,000 at the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. While balancing academics and the demands of teenage life, Jain is continuously saving lives by partnering with doctors and hospitals.

You are never too young to help others. Whether you’re doing something big like Jain’s program or a small act of kindness by helping the elderly cross the street, aid will always be appreciated by those who need it.

Marley Dias

Image source Gary Gershoff/WireImage

Marley started to get sick of all the books in her school library because most of them were about white boys and their dogs. Motivated to change that, she took the time to collect and distribute 1000 books with black female protagonists. Since it started in 2015, her campaign #1000BlackGirlBooks already distributed more than 11,000 books to schools, libraries and communities around the world.

The 14-year-old also made her mark in the world of literature by publishing her book Marley Dias Gets it Done and So Can You. By continuously changing the lives of people through reading, she wants every kid to know that “Changing the world shouldn’t feel imaginary, but something you have the power to do today and always.”

Marley’s project shows us that one small project can make a big impact. Knowledge can transform lives and you have the power to educate others as well. Marley’s book is available for readers across the globe. Shop our prepaid plans so you can surf and purchase her book! 

Kylian Mbappé

Image source Getty Images for FIFA

The future of football is in good hands. After two long decades, Kylian Mbappé led the French football team to its first title. At his age, he has already achieved what other greats—such as Messi and Ronaldo—have never done. Aside from winning, the young phenom stamped his legacy on the pitch by becoming the first 19-year-old—since football legend Pelé—to score a goal in the World Cup final. 

Just like other great stars, he has extended his legacy far beyond the game. Coming from one of the poor suburbs of Paris and as the son of an African immigrant, the athlete hopes that his influence will lead to a more inclusive Europe.

It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. Currently playing at Paris Saint-Germain F.C., his career has only just begun. Kylian may have struggled early in his life but his determination to succeed got him to where he is today. Never let your beginning define your end. Believe in yourself and one day you’ll surely break your own records!

Greta Thunberg

Image source Anders Hellberg

With climate change affecting our environment greatly, this young activist makes sure that her voice is heard. Back in September 2018, Greta went on a three-week strike from school in the hopes of convincing the Swiss government to act upon climate change. Her activism inspired people of all ages to make a stand for the planet—inspiring schools around the globe to join her cause for a greener earth.

The 16-year-old was awarded the first Normandy Freedom Prize for her activism. She was also recognized by the U.N. Secretary-General at the COP24 climate summit in Poland. Working towards sustainable development, she hopes that her strikes will convince the government to align their policies in the fight against climate change.

No matter how small you think your voice may be, you’ll always be heard when you’re fighting for what you believe in. Fight for the planet; fight for the future. Together with Greta, let’s join the battle against climate change.  

Adut Akech

Image source Getty Images for The Business of Fashion

At 18 years old, Adut Akech has become one of the most sought-after models in the fashion industry. Born in South Sudan, she spent most of her childhood inside a refugee camp along with other victims of violence. After moving to Australia, she was scouted by local agencies—earning the support of notable fashion magazine editors and supermodels. 

Grateful for the support she has received, she wants to give back by paving the way for others. She has been very vocal about increasing the need for diversity in fashion and is continuously advocating for poverty-stricken refugees.

Never forget where you came from. By helping others who are going through the same things she did, she gives the oppressed a chance at a better future.

Margielyn Didal 

Image source Scout

Bagging the gold medal in a street skateboard event at 19-years-old, the Cebuana became an inspiration for all Filipinos. What makes her feat impressive is winning despite a number of hurdles. She did not have the full approval of her parents. She did not have her own skateboard. She also did not have a proper skate park to train in.

Redefining how skating is viewed in the country, her triumph earned the respect of many. The current mayor of Cebu even promised to build a skatepark in her honor. Her quest is far from over. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just around the corner, she has her eyes set on bringing home the first Olympic gold medal of the country. 

Life is filled with obstacles that will hinder you from doing what you love. Never let it stop you! Margielyn proves that your passion will take you to heights you can never imagine.

You can make a difference, too. 

Being young doesn’t mean that you can’t make an impact. Find your gifts and develop your talents. These teens are changing the world in their own ways—so can you! Who knows, maybe you’ll make this year’s list. 

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Words Elisa Aquino

Art Alex Lara

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