June 11, 2023 marks a time to remember that America’s children need more attention, protection, advocacy, hope and love.

National Children’s Day, also known as International Children’s Day, honors children worldwide. It is recognized in the United States on the second Sunday in June.

The genesis of it in America dates to the Methodist Conference of 1868 when The Methodist Episcopal Church recommended that second Sunday in June be observed annually as Children’s Day, per information provided by www.nationalchildrensday.us. By 1883, The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church designated the “the second Sabbath in June as Children’s Day.”

The National Council of Congregational Churches, in addition to mostly “all the state bodies of that denomination in the United States passed resolutions commending the observance of the day.” Other church denominations adopted similar recommendations. 

Four children— Christiona Graham, Chad Colston, Londyn Curry and Tyler Stallings reflect on childhood and living positively.

Top, left with art Chad Colston Photo credit: Jessica Clark Right, top – DJ Christiona Graham Photo credit: Antonio Hunt Bottom, left – girl on horse Londyn Curry. Courtesy photo Bottom right- boy with cape near a plane Tyler Stallings Photo credit: Andrea Blackstone

Christiona Graham

Twelve-year-old Christiona Graham (“DJ Princess C”) is already making her mark as a DJ. Christiona is the oldest of three children in her family who resides in Southern Maryland. She said that family can take you far in life. Her father set the stage for Christiona to embrace her talents, despite her young age. He is someone who inspires her because he first introduced her to DJing and turntables.

Christiona Graham (“DJ Princess C”) has been a performing DJ since she was five years old.
Photo credit: Antonio Hunt

“My proudest business accomplishment is DJing at the White House for the Annual Easter Egg Roll twice. In the most recent Easter Egg Roll event, I was able to introduce First Lady Jill Biden to the stage,” she said.

Away from the turntables, the Grahams show love to each other by traveling, watching movies at home and cooking together. 

Christiona said that going to different places to DJ and spreading the word about it is one way that she is making a difference in the world. Her confidence to pursue her dreams began when she was just five years old. When school is in session, she completes her homework and chores first, before taking a break, then practicing her musical skills four times a week. The kid entrepreneur serves as an example for her fellow youth to pursue their heart’s desire.

“It’s teaching them that they can be anything that they put their mind to, and it teaches them that there’s a variety of jobs that they can do mainly in music,” Christiona said.

(L-R) Christopher Graham, Ashley Graham, Chrisa Graham, Christiona Graham and Ava Graham at Disney World in June 2023.
Photo courtesy of the Graham family

Chad Colston

Chad Colston is a 10-year-old Baltimorean on the move. He likes to draw, paint, write poems, play games and is a fan of some sports. Chad has been interested in art since his Pre-K years. A still life self-portrait art piece that he created was featured at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) as a part of the 17th annual Student Art Showcase earlier this year.

“I can do anything that I put my mind to,” Chad said, mentioning something that he learned and remembered. “I want to be an artist and the president.”

 His positive outlook, even down to knowing that he is a loving person, reminds us that his demeanor strengthens his path to excellence. 

Chad Colston participates in an elementary band concert by playing the tympani, xylophone and drums.
Photo credit: Jessica Clark

“I’m kind, I’m helpful and I want to help people as much as I can,” Chad said.

Showing respect is also important to the creative child. Chad recalls advice that he received from his mother to “just believe in yourself.” He already understands the value of being around positive people like his mother, even when he is not having a good day. He knows he should turn to loved ones to receive help staying on track.

“Family can help whenever I need it,” Chad said.

Chad Colston participates in an elementary band concert by playing the tympani, xylophone and drums.
Photo credit: Jessica Clark

Londyn Curry

Londyn Curry, 8, is another young Baltimorean with a bright future. Her perceptive mind is sharp yet endearing. She believes that people should believe in what children can do.

“We are the future,” Londyn said.

She started a conversation explaining why family is important to her because when she was a little baby, they took care of her. In today’s world, Londyn represents youth who can thrive because of growing up feeling empowered with love.

Londyn Curry places second in a second-grade science fair.
Courtesy photo

“I’m grateful that they see me and they’re kind to me,” Londyn also said, explaining why she enjoys spending time with family.

Whether it’s going on vacation, or heading to the mall, Londyn enjoys being with special people in her world. She enjoys doing science experiments in school, playing on her iPad, playing tag, running around, hip hop and modern dance in her free time. But Londyn also holds words of advice close to her heart.

“Be respectful, be kind and listen,” Londyn said.

Londyn sorts her clothes that are donated to help other children, after she has outgrown them, with the help of her mother. She is overjoyed about the little things, including now being able to ride her bike without training wheels. 

Londyn Curry enjoys the outdoors while riding her bike.
Courtesy photo

“I want everybody to do the right things,” Londyn said.

She added that she may be interested in becoming a policewoman someday.

Tyler Stallings

Tyler Stallings, a 12-year-old author and advocate for veterans, enjoys science, math, taking road trips, acting, playing games, tossing around a football, basketball, reading and building LEGOS.

“I like to help veterans and pack things for them, so that way they can live a good life and have a better well-being,” Tyler said. “Giving back to the community is important to me because I can help other people. That way they feel good and honored.”

Tyler added that he does not want them to feel like they get left out of things just because they are homeless veterans. The co-founder of the Give Back to Veterans project has been lending a hand to assist elderly and homeless veterans since he was four years old. 

Staying connected to people who matter has benefits.

Tyler Stallings practices running on a track. He aspires to run track and field in his free time.

“Family is important because you can make a lot of great memories with them and have good days and love them,” Tyler said. “Spending time with children is important because they can give you lots of good ideas, and also they might surprise you with some of the things they can come up with an active imagination.”

One of the best pieces of advice that he has ever received is: “One no is closer to a yes. It was my mom who told me.”

He added that when he grows up, he is interested in pursuing a career as a scientist or mathematician.

“Getting an education is important because you can grow up and be a really high ranked person if you just focus on your studies,” Tyler said.

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