TIME, TIME for Kids and Nickelodeon announced 11-year-old ambassador for kindness Orion Jean from Texas as the 2021 Kid of the Year, the multi-platform initiative recognizing extraordinary young leaders who are making a positive impact in their communities.
Selected from thousands of submissions, 2021 Kid of the Year Orion Jean is featured on the cover of the Feb. 28/Mar. 7 issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Friday, Feb. 18, according to a press release.
In an interview with Angelina Jolie for TIME, humanitarian Orion Jean speaks about his work to start a kindness initiative: “Well, to me, it can be a number of things. And the one that I started was the race to kindness. The race to kindness is not just a series of events, but also a call to action. It’s a way to get people involved in the community, you know, and when they see something happening now they can go out and do something about it…kindness is a choice, and while we can’t force others to be kind, we can be kind ourselves and hope to inspire other people. So many people have great ideas but never act on them. I think it’s all about really caring about the issues that you’re seeing. Someone told me that you have to find something that breaks your heart for you to really get out there and make a difference in that area. And I want others to know that they can start today. If there’s an issue or problem or something that they see that they want to solve, all it takes is really just knowing deep down inside that it’s something you care about, and you can go out and get started.”
Kid of the Year Orion Jean, alongside the other top five finalists and honorees, is recognized during the second-annual “Kid of the Year” TV special, hosted and executive produced by Trevor Noah. The special was simulcast across Nickelodeon, TeenNick and Nicktoons on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Beginning Thursday, Feb. 10, the special will also be available to watch on Nick.com, Nick App and Nick On Demand.
The “Kid of the Year” TV special featured guest stars from entertainment, sports and pop culture to help surprise the top five Kid of the Year finalists and celebrate their work. Celebrity guests making appearances throughout the special included Jabari Banks, Charli D’Amelio, Dude Perfect, Rob Gronkowski, Scarlett Johansson, Let It Happen, Charles Melton, 2020 Kid of the Year Gitanjali Rao, and Meghan Trainor, among others. The special also featured a kid committee comprised of Nickelodeon stars Alaya “That Girl Lay Lay” High, Dylan “Young Dylan” Gilmer and Wolfgang Schaeffer.
Each of the five Kid of the Year honorees will receive a cash prize and have the opportunity to serve as a Kid Reporter for TIME for Kids with exclusive access to a Nickelodeon event. Stories about the finalists rolling out leading up to the second annual Kid of the Year reveal are on NickKidoftheYear.com and TIME.com.
Kid of the Year is sponsored by Greenlight® and OshKosh B’gosh®.
The “Kid of the Year” TV special is a co-production of TIME Studios, Day Zero Productions, Mainstay Entertainment and Nickelodeon. Executive Producers include Ian Orefice, Mike Beck, Maria Perez-Brown, Rebecca Gitlitz, and Jeff Smith (TIME Studios), Andrea Delbanco (TIME For Kids), Trevor Noah, Sanaz Yamin, and Ashley Dizon (Day Zero Productions), Norman Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt (Mainstay Entertainment) and Ashley Kaplan, Paul J Medford and Luke Wahl (Nickelodeon).