I love it when young people not only show an entrepreneurial spirit, but exhibit a compassionate heart of giving. Fourteen-year-old DeJuan Strickland is such a young person, and the subject of this week’s Feel-Good Friday.
While opinions vary widely on whether it is an actual phenomenon or a myth, the phrase “acting white” is often lodged against smart Black kids. I do not think it is a myth, because I was one of those smart Black kids who was accused of acting white, even by my own family. On television, the smart Black kids like “Urkel” and “Carlton” are usually the foil of the joke rather than the central character. So, for a young Black man to own and celebrate his smarts, and use them to better the world around him is something to celebrate.
Last year, Strickland was featured on NBC’s Today show as a future difference maker. Strickland created his own comic book character and books. He talks to Al Roker about being bullied because of his creative vision and motivations.
A few months ago, Strickland was a participant in entertainer, comedian, and talk show host Steve Harvey’s Boys Mentoring Camp.
Strickland has his own website called “TeamTechBoy” where he showcases his comic books, merchandise, and learning tools!
Hello TechBoy Community !
DeJuan Strickland is a 13-old scholar born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He enjoys gaming, anime, reading, and indulging in comic books. He is a long-time honor roll student who thoroughly enjoys science and technology. He has recently been appointed as a youth member of STEMSTL’s Strategic Advisory Board. Tech Boy is DeJuan’s debut title and his mission is to inspire other youth to become tech-savvy entrepreneurs.
Strickland even has his own Team Tech Boy YouTube channel.
Now Strickland is giving back to his hometown elementary school by paying off the school lunch debt of students.
FLORISSANT, Missouri (KMOV) — A North County teen is paying off the school lunch debts for every student at his elementary school.
“Sometimes a kid’s only meal that they eat during the day is at school. If they don’t have the money to pay for that, then that is a big problem,” says 14-year-old DeJuan Strickland.
The young comic book author has launched the “Tech Boy Initiative” as a way to raise money for students who can’t afford to buy food in the cafeteria.
Strickland remembered his own battles with hunger when he was a 4th grade student at McCurdy Elementary.
“I didn’t even know what could possibly be my next meal in the day, and it definitely was a struggle, he says. “Seeing all the other kids around me be able to eat their school lunches and I couldn’t, it was really rough.”
Strickland decided to create a GoFundMe to raise the proceeds to pay off that lunch debt.
Hello. My name is DeJuan Strickland. I am 14 years old. I have started a new initiative to help eliminate students’ negative lunch balances. This is important to me because sometimes the only nutritious meal for kids is at school. So, if they don’t have any money to get a meal it’s a problem. The first school we are starting at is McCurdy Elementary. 100% of the funds raised go directly to McCurdy Elementary. So please share this GoFundMe with your family and friends. Thank you so much for your support!
The fundraiser has exceeded its goal, and every McCurdy student’s lunch debt is paid in full. Strickland presented a check to McCurdy Elementary’s principal weeks before the start of the school year.
“Just being able to see that kids can finally be able to eat school lunches and not have to worry about the money or cost of it will be amazing, he says. “A life-changing experience just knowing that I helped impact other kids and helped them out in their lives.”
DeJuan Strickland is not only a shining example of smarts and creativity, but a shining example of that smart people are successful people who give back to their communities and give of themselves to others.