By JUDI CHENG
Some kids like to kick a ball around. Some kids watch television. Other kids, like Zachary Bonner, age 12, from Tampa, Florida, are raising awareness about problems that need to be talked about. He decided to walk across the United States in order to raise money for kids who become homeless. Zachary has walked between 20 and 26 miles a day since March 26, 2010. His mother and brother join him on the walk, and Zachary studies through online classes. Through his walk across the country, he is hoping to help homeless kids by talking to people he meets and collecting donations for the Little Red Wagon Foundation, the charity he started in 2005.
Between 1.6 to 1.7 million youth under age 18 become homeless each year. IndyKids interviewed Zach about his work to help homeless kids.
IndyKids: How did you first become aware of social issues like homelessness?
Zach Bonner: I started doing community service at age six. When Hurricane Charley hit Florida in 2004, it missed our area by a little bit, but another area near us, Punta Gorda, was hit hard. I got neighbors and friends to donate water and other supplies by handing out flyers.
How do kids become homeless?
For many reasons. Sometimes it has to do with situations at home, parents losing jobs, and other problems. Some gay kids get kicked out of their homes for being gay. Some kids feel it’s safer to live on the streets.
What do you think can be done to help homeless kids?
Everyone needs to work together. A lot of people don’t know that homeless kids exist. People should know that kids are not homeless because they want to be. They are not homeless because they don’t want to follow rules. For these kids, things just get out of control.
What would you say to kids who want to do something to make positive changes in our world?
Find something that you are passionate about. Research it. Think of ways you can make a difference.
For more information, and to track Zachary on his walk, go to: