Kid of the Month: Amelia Lisowe

By Kelli Reep

While most 13-year-olds were watching “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” Amelia Lisowe starred in it. 

Photos by Mike Kemp

“That was a whirlwind,” she said. “Her team heard about Lisowe’s Lights from the People Magazine article, then we got to do interviews on all kinds of national news shows.”

For good reason. Amelia founded her own nonprofit at just 8 years old when other nonprofits wouldn’t accept her as a volunteer. “They all said I was too young then,” she explained. “I decided that, well, if they wouldn’t let me volunteer, I’ll help in another way.”

Since she was only 7 years old, Amelia has volunteered more than 750 hours for seven Arkansas organizations, including a food bank, senior centers and dancing with special needs children. Proving that you are never too little to make a difference, Lisowe raised enough money in 2018 to donate more than 500 nightlights to foster children in Central Arkansas.

“My mom told me that some foster kids might have to leave in the middle of the night, and sometimes they don’t get to take anything with them,” Amelia said. “That made me feel really bad, and I thought that a nightlight would help them to feel safer and more comfortable wherever they were.”

Expanding on the success of that first year, Amelia decided to reach foster children throughout the U.S. in 2019. As a result, more than 15,000 nightlights were delivered not only to every one of the states in the country but to nine countries throughout the world. This year, that number has expanded to 10 countries, and it came with a little help from Jennifer Hudson herself.

“At the end of the show, she presented me with a check for $2,500 to reach my goal of 17,250 nightlights by the end of this year,” Amelia said.

The reason she continues pursuing her nonprofit work is because a small thing can make a difference to someone in need. A citizen of Benton, Amelia is making plans for the future of Lisowe’s Lights while maintaining her school, pageant and dance careers.

“My short-term goal is to continue donating 5,000 nightlights a year to children in foster care around the world,” she said. “We just launched our Ambassadors of Light class where students ages 8 to 17 from across the U.S. will help us get the word out about what we do and how others can help. There are 12 in this first class, and they can have their own nightlight donation drives and donate where they live. That’s something that can be done throughout the year. And we have packing parties in Saline, Pulaski and Faulkner counties.”

The packing parties are a way for youth, church, community or business groups to get involved and learn more about Lisowe’s Lights while helping children in their community. 

“My long-term goal is to continue educating people on foster care and the importance of helping foster kids so when my generation become adults, we have a passion for helping foster children and can get a step closer to fixing the foster care crisis,” she said. “I would like for us to donate more than 20,000 nightlights to 10 countries throughout the world.”