The 14 Most Inspirational Kids of 2012

Joann Pan
The 14 Most Inspirational Kids of 2012
1. Nine-Year-Old Caine Monroy

1. Nine-Year-Old Caine Monroy

Caine Monroy, 9, spent a summer building an awe-inspiring cardboard game arcade at his father's East Los Angeles used car parts store. Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick was one of Caine's first and only customers — that is, before Mullick orchestrated a flashmob of supporters to play with Caine's creative cardboard games. Each time a player scored, Caine would crawl under the box to dispense a thread of arcade tickets through a small slice in the box. Mullick's 11-minute film about Caine's Arcade has been viewed more than 7 million times since it was uploaded in April. Caine's story sparked the imagination of kids around the world who have seen his project. The Imagination Foundation was founded this year, in honor of the cardboard creation movement, to "find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids." Nearly $220,000 has been donated to Caine's Arcade Scholarship Fund.

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This year, children and teens have displayed an incredible amount of passion, determination and vigor to help others. Meet 11 inspirational young people who have already accomplished huge feats this year, and it's only the beginning of their careers.

One young activist prompted a major American magazine to ban heavily airbrushed photos. Another young Californian boy crafted an elaborate cardboard cut-out arcade and sparked the imaginations of hundreds of kids around the world.

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These young innovators are set to discover a cure for cancer, save lives by pinpointing abandoned landmines and generally inspire the world to do better. Did we miss any of your favorite kid innovators in our list? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Greenpin Chang

This story originally published on Mashable here.