A year has passed since the first TIME Kid of the Year TV special aired on Nickelodeon. We introduced Bellen, Gitanjali, Ian, Jordan, and Tyler. Gitanjali was named the 2020 Kid of the Year. Since then, these kids have been busy. Read their updates below. And stay tuned: The next Kid of the Year special will air in February. Who will it be?
Gitanjali Rao, 16EUGENE GOLOGURSKY—GETTY IMAGES FOR 3M
Gitanjali’s schedule got even busier after she was named the 2020 TIME Kid of the Year. As a TFK Kid Reporter, she guest-edited our 2020 best-inventions list. She continues to hold innovation workshops in partnership with global organizations. The workshops “have reached 53,000 students across 27 countries,” Gitanjali told TFK. And she partnered with UNICEF on Kindly, her anti-cyberbullying service. Kindly will soon be available around the world.
Gitanjali also says she is continuing to “work on finding parasitic contaminants in water.” She’s an intern with the Colorado Department of Law.
Tyler Gordon, 15QUANG LE
Tyler has worked with brands such as Disney and Foot Locker. In September 2021, he published a book of paintings. It’s called We Can: Portraits of Power. Tyler is also exploring the fashion world: He’s thinking about starting a clothing line.
As a TFK Kid Reporter, Tyler wrote about having talked to Kamala Harris in November 2020. Harris had just been elected vice president of the United States. She contacted Tyler after seeing a video of him painting her portrait. “I couldn’t believe I was actually talking to Kamala Harris,” he wrote. In December 2020, Tyler’s portrait of LeBron James appeared on TIME’s “Athlete of the Year” cover.
Ian McKenna, 17COURTESY IAN MCKENNA
Ian is a student at the University of Texas at Austin. (Above, he shows his college pride by making the hand sign for the Texas Longhorns.) This year, Ian says, “I’ve been fortunate to have been invited to speak with many organizations, including the Clinton Foundation’s educational programs.” He’s working with MadeGood foods. The goal is to bring young people together on global issues. And proceeds from a song written about him are going to a group that fights hunger.
“I’m so excited to have had this opportunity to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity,” he says.
Bellen Woodard, 11COURTESY TOSHA WOODARD
Bellen started middle school this year. Her More than Peach crayons are for sale on Target’s website, and might soon be in the retailer’s stores. The crayons have also been featured at museums. In January 2022, they’ll be added to the collection at the Science History Institute, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Bellen continues to be honored by many groups and news outlets. Her first book is coming out in the summer. Plus, she says, “I’ve had a chance to interview amazing leaders as a TFK [Kid] Reporter.” These include astronaut Mae Jemison and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Jordan Reeves, 15AMY ENDERLE
Jordan has been raising funds for her nonprofit group. She relaunched it this year with a new name—Design with Us—and a new website. The group has been holding events virtually. But Jordan hopes to get back to in-person workshops in 2022. “I also worked on a few video projects and with some magazines to continue the conversation about disability inclusion,” she told TFK.
Jordan has also enjoyed her high school’s theater program. She worked with the stage crew in the spring. And she recently played Gary the snail in The SpongeBob Musical.
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