What... (i.e. camp, dance class, birthday party)
Pick a NYMetroParents Region: All Regions   Manhattan    Brooklyn    Queens    Westchester    Rockland   Fairfield    Nassau    Suffolk  




     Home  >  Articles  > Local News - Westchester County
by Kaitlin Ahern

Related: volunteer opportunities in westchester, kids who start nonprofit organizations, gloria barron prize for young heroes, barron prize winners, litworld,

A teen from Westchester, NY is recognized for his work of bringing clean light to kids across the world and earns the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.

When Ben Hirschfeld was a freshman in high school, his neighbor Pam Allyn told him about the work her literacy organization, LitWorld, was doing for students in Kenya.

ben hirschfeld litworld

Courtesy Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Hirschfeld was awed, but also concerned: Without any electricity, he learned, the students had to use dim kerosene lamps that caused burns, released toxic fumes that were linked to pneumonia and lung cancer, and contributed to air pollution. “I had had a lot of health issues myself and knew how hard it is to learn when not feeling well,” Hirschfeld says. “I had to help.” He started small, replacing kerosene lamps with solar lanterns in one Kenyan school, and the Lit! project was born.

Now a freshman at Columbia University, the 18-year-old from Hastings-on-Hudson has distributed lanterns to more than 11,000 people across the developing world, and his goal is to increase that number to 100,000 in the coming year. “I certainly feel proud of this work,” Hirschfeld says, “and when I get up in the morning knowing that there are kids out there who are healthier or reading better because of this project, I am really happy.”

Hirschfeld is one of 25 recipients of the 2012 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which honors young people who have planned and carried out a significant service project to help others and/or the environment. The annual prize was created about a decade ago by children’s author T.A. Barron, in memory of his mother. Each winner receives $2,500 to be applied to their service project or higher education.

“I was absolutely elated,” Hirschfeld says of winning the award. “The prize will help us give over 1,000 more people in the developing world access to clean, healthy light. I was excited too that the Barron Prize would allow us to raise awareness of how helping people in developing countries and stopping global warming are related.”

Hirschfeld says he’ll continue working to bring clean light to children throughout the world who need it. And he hopes that other teens who hear about his project will come up with their own ways to contribute to the world. “You are never too young to start making a difference—in fact, youth is a powerful ally!” he says. “By starting a project to help others, you connect with other people who are also caring. And when young people who care come together it really can change the world.”

For more information on the Lit! project or to get involved, visit litsolar.org. “We are always looking for more leaders to bring the cause to their schools,” Hirschfeld says.

For more information on The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, including a complete list of this year’s winners and instructions on how to nominate a young hero in your community, visit barronprize.org.

Also see

Where to Volunteer With Your Kids in Westchester

Get Your FREE Indoor Activity eGuide!

More Local News - Westchester County Articles

Ballet des Enfants Opens in Armonk, Offers New Classes

Billy Beez Offers Date Night Drop-Off Program
M.E. Smiles Dental Hosts American Girl Doll Event
Program to Reduce Gun Violence Launched in Mount Vernon
Ninjago Laser Training Camp Opens at Legoland Discovery Center

Be a good fellow parent and share this with a friend who would be interested
Email Friend

Local Local News - Westchester County Sponsors

The Westchester Mall
125 Westchester Avenue
White Plains, NY

Back to sCOOL at The Westchester Saturday, Septem...

Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Matthews Park, 303 West Ave.
Norwalk, CT
203-899-0606 x228
Stepping Stones opened in March, 2000, and was fou...

White Plains Family YMCA
250 Mamaroneck Ave.
White Plains, NY
TOGETHER we will make a difference by nurturing th...

Pre-School Reading Program By The Dicker Reading Method
75 Brook St.
Scarsdale, NY
Your 3,4, or 5 year old will learn to read 15-30 w...

Redi-Cut Carpets & Flooring
535 S Columbus Ave
Mt. Vernon, New York
(914) 371-6003
When you come to us, we want to make sure we are ...
See Our Local News - Westchester County Directory

local zones


Nassau cont.


Suffolk cont.


Westchester cont.



Rockland cont.


Queens cont.


Brooklyn cont.


Copyright 2014 NY Metro Parents Magazine Site Design: THE VOICE