It’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube official: Riley Walz, a fourteen-year-old freshman at Ballston Spa High School, is the nation’s most inspirational teen!
Riley won the top prize in a national YouTube contest called “Living the Example.” The contest, sponsored by Mentor Foundation USA, required teens to submit one-minute YouTube videos about their lives to inspire other teens. The top five videos were subject to a vote on Facebook for most inspirational, and Riley’s story won the most hearts and minds.
The Daily Gazette reports that Riely won an all-expenses-paid trip to YouTube HQ for him and one other person, in addition to a $500 gift card to H&M. His mom will accompany him on the trip and Riley told the Daily Gazette that he plans to use the H&M gift card to buy coats for kids in need in the Ballston Spa School District.
Riley is incredibly involved in his school and community and he even runs his own freelance voice-over business (visitors at a museum in Russia can hear the Ballston Spa teen’s voice on the English audio guide)! But it is really Riley’s caring and commitment to friends, family, and community that sets him apart.
According to the Daily Gazette, while Riley was living abroad in Germany, he gave a speech at a school assembly asking his German community to help a friend in Ballston Spa who was battling leukemia. At eight years old, Riley had more confidence and initiative than many of us have at 18, 28, or even 108. Riley was able to raise 500 euros for his friend and her family. Now Riley goes bald once a year to raise money for childhood cancer research.
Learn more about his inspiring story from Riley himself:
The Daily Gazette: “Ballston Spa teen wins national YouTube contest”
The Daily Gazette: “Ballston Spa teen’s voice heard from here to Russia“