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Activist and philanthropist Mari Copeny—known as Little Miss Flint—has evolved into a powerful community voice and she’s driving her efforts to uplift and support those living in her hometown forward. According to MLive, the 14-year-old recently hosted her annual back-to-school drive for youth.

As the return to school nears, many families are still grappling with financial burdens that have been exacerbated by the global health crisis. In the city of Flint—where the concentrated poverty rate is the highest in the state of Michigan—some parents are struggling to make ends meet. Aware of the staggering statistics and the impact of the pandemic, Copeny wanted to step up and provide support for those in need.

During her back-to-school bash—hosted at Brush Park in collaboration with What’s Up Downtown—she distributed 1,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies. The event also featured free water filters, an array of community resources, free ice cream and food trucks. “Every year for the past 6 years I have done a back-to-school drive, even last year when we were in the middle of the pandemic,” she wrote in a statement posted on a GoFundMe page for the event. “Sending kids back to school is a huge financial burden for parents in a regular year, but being in the middle of a pandemic makes it even worse and I want to help ease that burden for as many parents as possible.”

Copeny is living proof that you’re never too young to drive change. She has raised over $500,000 for her youth-focused Flint Kids projects. She has also raised over $400,000 for the creation of water filters that will help those around the country who are facing water crises.


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