Boulder, CO— Michael Platt, age 16, of Bowie, Maryland, has been named a winner of the 2021 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. The Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders who have made a significant positive impact on people, their communities, and the environment. Fifteen top winners each receive $10,000 to support their service work or higher education.
Michael created Michael’s Desserts to use his love of baking to help others. For every sweet treat he sells, he donates one to someone in need. He also founded P.L.L.A.T.E.— Power, Love, Learning, and Access To Everyone— to address food insecurity.
Through P.L.L.A.T.E., Michael has distributed thousands of healthy non-perishable snacks to underserved kids. He ultimately hopes to expand the initiative into a pay-what-you-can grocery store. He also advocates for the need to address hunger, especially in children, and hosts bake sales and baking demonstrations as fundraisers for the national nonprofit No Kid Hungry. As a GivingTuesday Spark leader, he encourages donations to nonprofits that combat hunger and other needs on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year.
Diagnosed with epilepsy at age nine and advised to cut back his involvement in sports, Michael decided to pursue his passion for cooking and baking. He began his business as an 11-year-old and resolved to use it as a way to help others. He started small, baking cupcakes and delivering them to kids at domestic violence shelters. He has grown his offerings to include Freedom Fighter Cupcakes, original creations designed each month to honor “the people who inspire us to be better, solve big problems, and change the world.”
His cupcakes have honored freedom fighters Dr. Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou and Malala Yousafzai, among others. Michael introduces his monthly cupcakes via video to his 12,000 Instagram followers, explaining each freedom fighter’s contribution and how they’ve inspired him.
“My dad tells me to do what I love in service to others,” said Michael. “That’s why I chose to use Michael’s Desserts to help people— to support them with their basic needs so they can pursue what they love to do and make a difference with it.”
The Barron Prize was founded in 2001 by author T. A. Barron and was named for his mother, Gloria Barron. Since then, the Prize has honored more than 500 young people who reflect the great diversity of America. All of them demonstrate heroic qualities like courage, compassion, and perseverance as they work to help their communities or protect the planet.
“Nothing is more inspiring than stories about heroic people who have truly made a difference to the world,” says T. A. Barron. “And we need our heroes today more than ever. Not celebrities, but heroes— people whose character can inspire us all. That is the purpose of the Barron Prize: to shine the spotlight on these amazing young people so that their stories will inspire others.”
For more information about the Barron Prize, visit: www.barronprize.org