Marsai Martin has been making big moves on screen and off ever since she was a kid and now she’s empowering other youngsters to make their mark on the world.
The black-ish star recently partnered with Invisalign for its ChangeMakers program, which celebrates teens making a positive impact on their communities. Recipients have been doing their part to improve the world by raising money for cancer, helping with food security, and a host of other impressive endeavors.
As part of the initiative, 100 youths aged 13-19 were selected to receive a one-time $5,000 cash award to continue to bring positive change to their hometowns. The winners will be highlighted during a virtual awards ceremony on YouTube, emceed by Martin.
theGrio caught up with the actress to find out how she stays inspired and why she wanted to get in on the action.
“What attracted me was definitely the joy that Invisalign brings to kids around the world, myself included, because I’ve been wearing Invisalign for quite a while. Doing something with them has always been one of the biggest goals of mine,” she said. “We are helping kids be in the spotlight and showing what they do. It’s so amazing and truly inspiring.”
When it comes to staying motivated in her own life and career, Martin has a few things she likes to keep in mind. “You have to stay patient because what’s for you is for you, and it will never pass you. And you don’t chase, you attract,” she explained.
“You’ve got to keep pushing and keep working hard and always have to keep that balance as well. So making sure you have time with your friends and your family and having time to sleep and eat; sometimes that part in itself is tough to do when you’re constantly working.”
Check out a couple of the winning submissions below:
Alyssia Duda, 14, Illinois
14-year-old Alyssia knows that her dream of becoming a professional ballerina will not come easily. Throughout her training, she discovered that there are financial barriers keeping many young girls of color like her from reaching their full potential. That is why she created Alyssia’s Dream — to turn donations into scholarships for ballet classes and to provide costly ballet supplies to girls of color.
“I do not believe that the cost of something should stop anyone from pursuing their passion or their dream. That’s why I created Alyssia’s Dream,” she said.
Christianna Alexander, 15, Florida
Inspired by women’s power in the economy, 15-year-old Christianna founded the Sweet Squad to teach girls financial literacy and business building skills. In 2020, she started an online business bootcamp for 72 girls where she taught the basics of business and the reality of money. A few of the participants were able to launch real businesses and put their skills to the test.
“If we taught girls financial literacy, how to start businesses, and how to become philanthropists, we would create an impactful ripple effect,” she said.
To see the full list of recipients and learn more about their amazing efforts to create smiles within their communities, visit Invisalign’s website.
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Cortney Wills thegrio.com
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