NORWAY, Maine — Nine-year-old Kaylynn Johnson doesn’t feel like a hero, but her mom, Charity, says she is “a world changer.”
The Norway girl is one of six nationwide finalists in the “Caroline’s Share the Hero In You” video story contest by American Girl.
The contest coincides with American Girl’s latest historical doll, Caroline Abbott, a fictional character, and her story of bravery in the War of 1812.
Girls were invited to create and submit a video clip about a time when they felt like an everyday hero.
Kaylynn helped write, act in and edit the video to explain her “Boxes for Bracelets” project to help Haitian children.
She said she does not feel like a hero, she simply is doing what is right.
“I think God has called me to do this, and I really like helping people,” she said.
Her journey began with a determination to help the Haitian people devastated by the January 2010 earthquake.
“Kaylynn was initially inspired because of the earthquake in Haiti,” her mother said. Her aunt and uncle, Brian and Louise Johnson of Auburn, then told their family they were adopting a little boy from Haiti.
“This solidified everything for Kaylynn, and she knew that she wanted to do whatever she could to help out,” her mother said.
Kaylynn decided to raise awareness for The Apparent Project in Haiti, an artisan guild that uses discarded materials such as cereal boxes to create jewelry, journals and stylish home decor. The money from selling those items pays for children’s food, shelter and education.
Kaylynn collects cereal boxes and sends them to Haiti, where they are made into bracelets and necklaces and sold to help keep families together.
She sent out more than 400 boxes in a year.
“It makes me really happy,” Kaylynn said.
She has spent many hours making local presentations to raise awareness for the plight of the Haitians and to gather more boxes for the project.
Kaylynn said she is very excited about the effect a contest win could have on her efforts to help Haitians.
“I’m most excited about now that I’m one of six finalists probably I can get more boxes to send to Haiti,” she said.
Kaylynn, who loves to read, dance, hike, put on plays with friends and garden, is home-schooled along with her siblings, Jeremie, 7, Kalli, 5, and Cami, 2. They live with their mother and father, Alan.
As a video contest finalist, Kaylynn has won a Caroline Abbott doll.
The grand prize winner will be announced Nov. 18 and receive a trip for four to Washington, D.C., a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and other prizes.
To watch Kaylynn’s video, visit http://store.americangirl.com/agshop/static/hero.jsp. To contribute to Boxes for Bracelets, leave cereal boxes at the Paris Public Library on Main Street. For information click “Like” on Boxes for Bracelets on Facebook or call 514-7503.