Crystal’s Smitten List: Paintings by Iris Grace, Mr. Cory’s Cookies, Anita Sarkeesian

Photo credit Iris Grace Paintings.

This week, I’m smitten with little kids doing awesome things! Starting with…

1. Iris Grace Paintings: It’s not easy being a 5-year-old with autism, a disorder than can make it difficult for individuals to express themselves, communicate, and interact with others. But Iris Grace, who was diagnosed in December 2011, has found a way — through painting. Her art began as a way for her to help with speech therapy, and now has transformed into Irish Grace Paintings, which helps raise awareness for autism. Check out some of her work here!

Photo credit Iris Grace Paintings.

Photo credit Iris Grace Paintings.

2. Mr. Cory’s Cookies: If Mr. Cory isn’t the cutest little entrepreneur, I don’t know who is. The 11-year-old launched his business career in 2009 when he started selling hot cocoa to raise money so he could buy his mom a car. (The cute. I can’t take it!) After seeing how dedicated Cory was to his business venture, Cory’s mom encouraged him to keep going and save the money for college. His business expanded to include lemonade and cookies — but not just any cookies: handmade cookies that use all-natural, 75% organic ingredients. And here’s the thing. Even though Mr. Cory’s Cookies has been doing fairly well, Cory and his mom still don’t earn enough money to live comfortably. Yet they continue to use the money they earn from their business to donate to other worthy charities. Cory is an awesome little kid, with a great business idea, and a huge heart. He’ll definitely go far!

3. Anita Sarkeesian: Anita Sarkeesian runs a YouTube channel called Feminist Frequency, where she posts videos that dissect the roles of women in video games (among other things). Sarkeesian is wifely celebrated in feminist circles for her work and for her ability to bring awareness to the fact that video games are still largely sexist, even though women make up 50% of all gamers. But Anita’s successes haven’t come without their critiques. In fact, Anita has been the target of online harassment since launching Feminist Frequency from men (and even women) who disagree with her opinions. She’s even received death threats. Recently, Anita made headlines when she was forced to cancel an upcoming talk that received threats of a mass shooting. In spite of all of the crap Anita has had to deal with, she told Rolling Stone she has no intention of giving up. Thanks, Anita, for all you do!

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