Our Reporters

Channel Kindness is a force for good, powered by the passion and purpose of young people. Launched by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, it is a platform featuring stories of kindness as documented by young people from around the US. These youth reporters, ages 16 to 24, have been recruited to identify and document the acts of generosity, compassion, and acceptance that define their generation and shape their communities.

Juan Acosta

Juan Acosta, 19, is from Woodland, California. He is currently completing his last year at Woodland Community College before transferring to San Francisco State University where he plans to study Psychology. He has worked with nonprofits such as the Yolo Family Resource Center, attended multiple leadership camps, and hosted a local television show "Teens on the Move." He is interested in research into community dynamics, coping with emotional and psychological trauma, ways to protect minority students, and how to make schools a bully free zone. In Juan's free time he enjoys going out with friends, family, and working out.

Sophie Bernstein

Sophie Bernstein, 17, is a high school junior from St. Louis, Missouri. Sophie is passionate about service learning and is an active volunteer in her community. Along with her siblings, Sophie helps to maintain and update www.volunTEENnation.org, an organization that engages and promotes youth service and she oversees www.gohealthySTL.org, an initiative to build raised vegetable garden beds in the St. Louis region. Sophie enjoys playing softball for her high school team.

Shannon Bradley

Shannon Bradley, 17, currently lives at the Jersey Shore and is a senior at Communications High School in Wall, New Jersey, where she studies journalism and art. She will be attending college next year and plans to pursue a pre-medicine track. She is interested in combining medicine and art and does so through her involvement in projects such as the Prosthetic Kids Hand Challenge. In her free time, Shannon enjoys knitting and reading.

Andrew Brooks

Andrew Brooks, 16, was born and raised in the Chicago area and currently resides in Highland Park, Illinois. He is a student at Highland Park High School and is a leader in his community and an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Andrew is also a professional actor, having appeared in a recent episode of Chicago Med on NBC. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with friends and family, seeing Broadway shows, and traveling to new and interesting places.

Kenesha Chalemon

Kenesha Chalemon, 16, was born and still resides in Delray Beach, Florida. She is a student at Atlantic Community High School. She is an advocate for anti-bullying and mental health awareness, creating and participating in community awareness projects and events. She is the co-founder and co-president of Teen Life in Healthier Delray Beach, a school club that brings mental health awareness and knowledge to youth. She is interested in photography, psychology, food science, mental illnesses, and the effects and influences of social media on youths. In her spare time Kenesha loves napping, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Marc Cohen

Marc Cohen, 22, recently graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio On Broadway with a BFA in Drama. Born and raised in Newport Beach, California, he always strived for the fast pace of the city. Marc is also a fitness instructor at Cyc Fitness in New York City. As an enthusiast for physical and mental health, he continually strives to find the balance between the hustle and being still. A born performer and empath, Marc loves to tell stories, especially those of people who aren’t normally heard and he hopes to shed light on the compassionate people of the LGBTQ community.

Charleen Colón

Charleen Colón, 18, grew up in New York, currently lives in New York. She is a full time art student at Suffolk County Community College. She has been a follower of the Born This way Foundation. Charleen studies fine arts, but would like to go into art therapy. She is interested in Art Therapy and the benefits it could have on other people. She is also very interested in being a social worker. She believes in meditation and the healing properties of crystals. When Charleen has free time she spends time doing Bikram Yoga, spending time with friends and family, shopping on the Lower East Side at thrift stores, and making art.

Kelly D'Amico

Kelly D'Amico, 20, was born in Sacramento and raised in Woodland, California where she currently lives. She is a barista at her local Starbucks and is a sales associate at American Eagle Outfitters. She is studying Cosmetology at Paul Mitchell The School Sacramento. She is interested in hair and makeup as well as traveling the world to see what it can bring her. In her free time she likes to go horseback riding and hang out with her friends.

Miso Demko

Miso Demko, 19, was born in Budapest, Hungary. He moved to New Jersey where he went to middle school, went to Regis High School in New York, and currently lives in Pittsburgh. He is a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University where he is studying Decision Science. In his free time, he likes to try his hand at everything. He aspires to someday build artistic, adventure inspired playgrounds for orphanages around the world.

Myra Dickens

Myra Dickens, 19, was born in Fort Campbell, Tennessee, grew up in Thomasville, Georgia, and currently resides in French Settlement, Louisiana. She is a graduate of Bishop Hall Charter School and is currently studying cosmetology. She was a member of Southeast Peace Jam during high school. Myra enjoys daily journaling and collecting Pokemon Cards, music, and handheld Nintendo games in her free time.

Wesley Dixon

Wesley Dixon, 23, grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida but currently lives in the Connecticut. Wesley serves as a Program Manager at the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute where he leads the development, design, and implementation of health system strengthening programs in the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, and China. Wesley completed his Bachelors degree in Environmental Engineering and African Studies at Yale University. In his free time, Wesley binge watches reality television, bartends, and organizes HIV/AIDS education and awareness events in his community.

Matthew Farrell

Matthew Farrell,18, was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. He currently works at Eller's Restaurant and will study Technical Theater at Quinsigamond Community College in the fall. Matthew has volunteered at Leicester Middle School as a teacher’s aid for art classes. He is interested in research about mental health and cognitive psychology. In Matthew's free time he enjoys making music, spending time with family and friends, and photography.

Lauren Galley

Lauren Galley, 22, was born and raised in Texas. She currently attends the Sam Houston State University’s Clinical Psychology Master’s Program. As an award winning teen mentor and President of the nonprofit Girls Above Society, Lauren is dedicated to empowering young girls to be confident and digitally smart as they navigate the tough pressures of today’s media-driven society. She shares her powerful voice on a variety of platforms as a TEDx speaker, Amazon Best Selling Author and the United Nations as a Youth Delegate working towards gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030. According to Lauren: Family, Friends, Books, Kindness, Traveling & Matthew Gubler are the key ingredients for happiness.

Riley Gantt

Riley Gantt, 16, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is currently a junior at Laurel Springs Gifted and Talented Academy. Riley has been running the nonprofit organization Rainbow Pack since she was ten years old. She has also recently launched a second project called Just Start The Conversation, through which she has been invited to speak to elementary school students all over California. Riley is also a member of the youth advisory board for Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Making Caring Common. When she is not working on one of these projects, Riley loves reading, writing, photography, and playing guitar.

Matthew Gates

Matthew Gates, 22, is from Bowie, Maryland and is currently studying Journalism at Hampton University. He is an active advocate for the queer and bleeding disorders community, using various platforms to spread awareness. As an Eagle Scout, one important slogan that Matthew carries, in his everyday life, is the saying "do a good turn daily." Matthew believes that kindness is contagious and when we allow ourselves to be a light and spread kindness, people find beauty in that are encouraged to do the same.

Katie Gormley

Katie Gormley, 24, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. She moved to Nashville in 2010 to study nursing at Belmont University. She began her career as a Registered Nurse at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital on an acute inpatient child and adolescent unit where she had the opportunity to lead group sessions on coping skills, nutrition, sleep hygiene and mindfulness meditation. Recently Katie transitioned into the role of School Nurse working within the Metro Nashville School system. In her downtime, Katie enjoys yoga, going to concerts with friends and hiking.

Grace Hatfield

Grace Hatfield, 17, lives in Houston, Texas, is a senior at St. Agnes Academy and will be attending University of Houston in the fall. She loves to sing, write poetry, and make weird clothing. She values kindness and honesty above all else. Grace's favorite thing to do is spend time with her friends and family, and to play with her new puppy, Ava.

Em Hoggett

Em Hoggett, 19, is a British actress and singer based in New York City. Always involved in the arts, from the age of four Em trained as a classical concert pianist in England. She holds ATCL and LTCL diplomas in Piano Performance. Em attended a theatre high school where she studied acting and also began songwriting and jazz singing. Finding her true passion in acting, Em moved to New York to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts from where she will graduate in April. Em is a sexual assault advocate and is determined to make a difference in the world through the art mediums of film, theatre and music.

Josh Hollin

Josh Hollin, 19, is a songwriter, musician and commercial music major at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. In addition to working with FAU's student run record label, Josh plays the string bass in his school's orchestra ensemble. In 2014, Josh had a hand in helping his classmates at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland, take home the $10,000 grand prize in the "Join The Shift" contest, a competition created to encourage young people to practice safe driving. When Josh isn't busy with music, school and work, you can catch him on Twitter where he loves to share his thoughts on music, pop culture and politics.

Alix Hughes

Alix Hughes, 19, was born and raised in Trumbull, Connecticut. Currently, a senior at Trumbull High School and is planning her next four years in college. Alix is a Peer Leader at her high school and is an avid volunteer within her community. In her free time, she plays lacrosse and field hockey which she has had the opportunity in being a captain for each, she also enjoys art and spending time with friends and family.

Alexis Lehrman

Alexis Lehrman, 19, was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida and currently lives in New York City. At age nine, she began her "Art Can Heal" project to fundraise for breast cancer research through art and founded The Love Lexi Fund. A National Young Arts Award Winner, Alexis is a graduate of the Design and Architecture Senior High School, majoring in Fashion Design, and continues her love of art and fashion as a student at Parsons School of Design.

Krystian Leonard

Krystian Leonard, 20, was born in New Mexico and raised in West Virginia where she currently attends West Virginia University Reed College of Media. She is the president of the nonprofit Shining S.C.A.R.S., which she founded four years ago, and is the author of the award winning children's book, Shining Scars. A speaker at TEDx and Contagious Optimism Live, Krystian takes her anti-bullying and self acceptance message to area schools and teen conferences. She is interested in working in the television industry. Krystian enjoys spending time with her Chihuahua, traveling with family, and finding adventure.

Tyrah Majors

Tyrah Majors, 20, was born and raised in San Diego but currently lives in Orange County, California as she studies Broadcast Journalism at California State University, Fullerton. She recently published "Grammy and Me," a children's book she both wrote and illustrated. Tyrah also has a passion for modeling and acting. She has been seen in advertisements for international companies such as Coca-Cola, AT&T, and Purell. Tyrah's dream job is to work at E! News.

Hana Mangat

Hana Mangat, 17, is a junior at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland. In 2012, she co-founded the youth-run organization, Sikh Kid 2 Kid, with the mission of eradicating ignorance with the power of education. Through Sikh Kid 2 Kid, she has played a key role in developing and implementing a cultural and religious literacy training program for educators. Hana is also the president of her class, the founder of Cultural Society, an active public speaker for bullying prevention initiatives, an officer of the Minority Scholars Program, and a delegate of the Anti Defamation League’s National Youth Leadership Mission.

Kathryn McCarthy

Kathryn McCarthy, 22, is a student at Salem State University studying Early Childhood Education and Sociology. She was born and raised in Reading, Massachusetts. Kathryn is involved with the Student Education Association of Massachusetts as well as a nonprofit summer musical program in her town. In Kathryn’s free time she enjoying working with children, volunteering, and hanging out with her family and friends.

Peighton McRobie

Peighton McRobie, 20, hails from Laguna Beach, California. She is currently a sophomore at Colgate University where she plans to major in English Literature. At Colgate, Peighton is a member of the varsity women's volleyball team and writes for the Colgate Maroon News, the school's newspaper. Her passion for writing began at an early age, and she is looking forward to making writing a part of her life after Colgate. This past summer, Peighton interned at Surfline/Wavetrack Inc. on the marketing team as a copywriting intern. When Peighton isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, surfing, and playing beach volleyball.

Rahul Mehta

Rahul Mehta, 19, grew up in Millstone, New Jersey and is currently a freshman at Northeastern University studying Behavioral Neuroscience on a pre-medical track. Rahul is intrigued by how the chemical and biological makeup of the brain affects behavior. His interest in spreading kindness began in high school when he founded a club that aimed to reduce bullying in school, and this passion has extended into college. In his free time, Rahul enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music, and going to the gym.

Maria Mongiardo

Maria Mongiardo, 21, was born and raised near Boston, Massachusetts. She is currently a senior at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts studying Biology and plans to get her masters in public health. She is also a senior writer for the nonprofit LupusChick where she has been working for the last three years. She is interested in research on chronic illnesses, mental health, and ways to educate the general public on invisible illnesses like Lupus. In Maria’s free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, volunteering for her school’s relay for life, hiking, and blogging.

Blake Newborn

Blake Newborn, 16, was born in a rural town in Pennsylvania and currently lives in the Pittsburgh area. Blake has founded Teen Talk Hotline when he was 15 years old to motivate and empower people to use their voices for good and to make a positive difference. He is enrolled in cyber school and is expecting to go to college within the next two years. He is interested in pursuing modeling, journalism, and acting in the future. Blake loves traveling, photography, writing poetry, and running in his free time.

Elyse Notarianni

Elyse Notarianni, 21, grew up outside Scranton, Pennsylvania but is currently studying Spanish and print journalism at American University in Washington, DC. She has spent the past few years working as a writer and editor for a the startup website Asecondchance.com. She has worked as a communications consultant for small businesses in the Scranton area and was the strategic communications intern for the US Chamber of Commerce last fall. Elyse spent six months learning Spanish in Madrid, Spain, and in her free time enjoys spending time with friends, yoga, writing and Netflix.

Angelo S. Ortiz Vela

Angelo S. Ortiz Vela, 19, was born and raised in Houston, Texas and is a freshman at the University of Houston. As a first generation college student, he plans to major in Entrepreneurship. He is interested in helping youth become better, and seeks to promote emotional intelligence, leadership skills, and a growth mindset. In Angelo’s free time he focuses on photography, attends drag shows, and works at his university’s Wellness Center.

Sanjana Ravi

Sanjana Ravi, 16, was born and raised in the Bay Area of California where she currently lives. A junior at Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School, she is President of the Acts of Random Kindness Club and started her own small business selling hats to raise money for heart research. She is interested in helping others and meeting new people. She spends most of her time catching up on homework, attending basketball practice, participating in leadership development activities, hanging out with friends, and watching Netflix.

Abbey Sager

Abbey Sager, 18, was born and raised in northern New Jersey and now resides in southwestern Pennsylvania. She currently goes to Southern New Hampshire University majoring in Nonprofit Management. Already putting these skills to use, Abbey also runs her own non-profit - Diverse Gaming Coalition - which fights to end online harassment. Her interests include how people use their emotions, bullying and harassment, and how these two ideas correlate. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Sparky, and playing video games.

Sofia Sears

Sofia Sears, 17, is a queer activist and writer. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California and attends Crossroads School. She is founder of Project Femme, an organization dedicated to uplifting more women and LGBTQ+ Americans into public office, and to create a platform for feminist creativity. She is also a writer, ambassador for Bridge the Divide, and editor-in-chief of a zine for marginalized youth, the Odyssey Zine.

DJ Seeger

DJ Seeger, 22, was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He has been working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at the Crisis Center of Comal County for three years. DJ plans to pursue a career in law enforcement and aspires to become an FBI Special Agent. In his free time, DJ enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his friends.

Mallory-Lennon Simmermon

Mallory-Lennon Simmermon, 24, was born and raised in Chicago but currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Brooklyn. She is the front-woman of the Chicago-based folk fusion band, Mallory Lennon and the Sykadelix. Mallory graduated from Loyola University Chicago, where she attained her BA in English Literature and Jazz Studies. Her interests include artistic evolution, creative integrity, and educating students of all socioeconomic upbringings to use music and art as a means of communicating. When she isn't traveling for music, Mallory enjoys volunteering with the Music Therapy program for victims of PTSD at the Lake County VA, reading any David Foster Wallace books she can get her hands on, and listening to the Grateful Dead.

Kate Slate

Kate Slate, 18, was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. When she was 16 she moved to New York City with her family. She currently attends Pace University where she is studying Communications. Kate has had experience in the Communications field and is a Campus Expansion Assistant for Her Campus Media. In Kate’s free time she enjoys watching films from the late 20th century and seeing where they, in addition to modern movies and television shows, have been filmed.

Nora Smith

Nora Smith, 18, was raised in Detroit and is currently a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh where she intends to double major in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. While in high school, Nora founded a mental health awareness club called My Mental Health Matters. She currently works in the Youth Development Lab at her university, studying adolescents’ perception of risk and was recently elected business manager of the school’s Campus Women’s Organization, a gender equality advocacy group. In Nora’s free time she enjoys being with her family and dog, eating bagels, and exploring new museums.

Theresa Stier

Theresa Stier, 23, was born and raised in Union County, New Jersey. She graduated from Montclair State University in 2015 with a BA in English and is currently a freelance writer. Theresa enjoys crime shows and action movies. She also always has her eye out for a new pair of shoes.

Anna Sun

Anna Sun, 16, a high school sophomore at Detroit Country Day School. She was born and raised in Canton, Michigan near the Detroit metro area. She is a co-founder and director of the Little Stars Foundation, a nonprofit youth organization, which provides services to local children and seniors, enriching their lives through music since 2007. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing the violin, and traveling with family.

Jessica Torres

Jessica Torres, 20, is based in Queens, New York. She is a writer, poet, R&B influenced spoken word artist, model and film/TV actress. She has been featured at venues including Lincoln Center, Electric Lady Studios, Apollo Theater, TedxYouth, and Channel 13’s WNET/WLIW21. Her writing has also been published by outlets such as Affinity Magazine and MissHeardMedia. Jessica is currently working on her debut book.

Bridget Walsh

Bridget Walsh, 17, is a lifelong resident of Newtown, Connecticut and is currently a senior at St. Joseph’s High School. Bridget is the founding president of the Political Awareness Club at her school and interns with the Newtown organization, Ben’s Lighthouse, which was founded following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. With a passion for service, Bridget is a member of the Youth Advisory Council for Ben’s Lighthouse and was awarded the Presidential Service Award for the 2016-2017 academic year. In addition, she is a student ambassador at her high school, and is an avid volunteer for the Special Olympics. She hopes to pursue a career in the legal field. In her free time, Bridget loves to play the piano and sing.

Shaina Zafar

Shaina Zafar, 17, was born in Brooklyn and currently resides in Long Island, New York. She is a senior at H. Frank Carey High School planning on majoring in International Relations with a pre-medical focus. Within her high school, she is the founder of the Red Cross Club, president of S.A.D.D. and Science Honor Society, and editor of her school newspaper, the Carey Clipper. Her start-up, Code for a Cause, provides young elementary girls with experience in bloc programming about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and works in conjunction with the United Nations Foundation’s, Girl Up. Through her activism, she has spoken at conferences at the World Bank and United Nations and she has been named a Coca-Cola Scholar, received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and been selected for AOL’s #BUILTBYGIRLS Wave Program. She currently conducts research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories and is interested in exploring the applications of socioeconomic status and gender roles in empathetic relationship analysis. Outside of all of this, she loves drinking bubble tea, listening to Lorde’s music, and doodling calligraphy!

Reanna Zappavigna

Reanna Zappavigna, 21, was born and raised in Rome, New York and is currently a senior at the State University of New York at Cortland. She studies physical education and is completing her Masters in special education during the next year. She is interested in getting today's students active, helping students with disabilities participate in sports, getting everyone to outdoors, and helping her students find their passions. In Reanna's free time you will find her leading outdoor trips for college students, playing field hockey, snowboarding, doing yoga, and finding new adventures.