Karson Baldwin

2019 – OHIO

Karson Baldwin is a sophomore at University School in Cleveland. He is the founder of Oné Respé, a relationship-based partnership between immigrant and refugee students at Cleveland's K-12 International Newcomers Academy and students from local independent schools that aims to achieve mutual integration through language acquisition and friendship. Oné Respé is a Haitian greeting of welcome meaning "honor and respect," a right everyone deserves, but one that is often robbed from immigrants and refugees. Karson and his Congolese Oné Respé buddy, Israel, presented the program in Accelerate: Citizens Make Change, a popular pitch competition by the Cleveland Leadership Center and Citizens Bank. Despite being the youngest team, they won, not only the Educating for Tomorrow category, but the entire competition. They received $5,000 to expand the program to impact more than 400 students and develop a pipeline of youth leaders. Karson has shared the message of mutuality, honor, and respect on NPR, television morning shows, and as a guest speaker at the Cleveland Metro School District Board Meeting. He is also the founder of Project RACE Kids and current president of Project RACE Teens. He launched Multiracial Heritage Week, supported by official proclamations from Governors of 12 U.S. States. Karson interviewed his political hero, Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, NY and national head of Young Elected Officials, who also issued a formal proclamation to celebrate MHW. A straight-A student, Karson serves in many leadership roles and plays basketball and football. He's the recipient of the Gold Aurelian Award for Service and the Scovil Award, given to the student that best embodies the school's motto, "Responsibility, Loyalty and Consideration." Karson is also delighted to serve as a GOODdler intern with the United Nations Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action to help bring a youth voice to humanitarian issues facing our world.