Kids With a Calling: Maxwell Surprenant

By Amanda West- Publisher Macaroni Kid Newton-Brookline October 16, 2017

Welcome to our new monthly feature: Kids With a Calling! Every month we will feature a kid who is doing something impressive. Do you know a kid who is impressive? We want to know about them! Email

Our first Kid With a Calling is Maxwell Surprenant, who, among other things, helps run the non-profit Catching Joy.

What are you doing that is cool?

Since 2008, I have served as the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Catching Joy, Inc., a non-profit that promotes volunteerism and acts of kindness beginning with young kids and their families. We organize hands-on service activities that youth can do to help teach them responsibility and joy of giving. For my third year, I serve as a Scholastic Kid Reporter, and I write news for kids. I cover world events, and I enjoy interview interesting and inspiring people. I was honored to interview the former First Lady Michelle Obama. Just this year, I covered the 2017 Tony Awards, 2017 ESPY Awards, 2017 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Sports Awards, and the 2017 Tennis US Open Championship. I also serve on the Kids Advisory Board for ChopChop Magazine for my second year, and I promote kids and families cooking and eating healthy together.

What inspired you?

My parents have always taught me that above all it's important to have empathy and kindness. At a young age, I felt compassion for the homeless and wanted to find ways to help. We begin making blessing bags filled with toiletries, snack bars, and bottled water, collecting socks, making no-sew blankets, and creating cards to show we care. We recruited family and friends to volunteer with us, and we learned that together we can make a difference.

How do you balance everything?

I love everything that I do, so I make time and make it work. I know that I can do anything, but I can't do everything, and certainly not at the same time. I have learned to set limits and say "no" when I just don't have time. I have to prioritize what's important, and find the balance with school, social life, and my work.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love reading, writing, drawing, singing, acting, playing drums, playing sports, and hanging out with my family and friends. I like playing catch with my dad and riding my bike. I enjoy photography and making movies. I'm a big baseball and Red Sox fan, and I love to go to the games. I also love traveling.

Brag about yourself!

I won "Honorable the 2015 White House Student Film Festival for my short film, "The Impact of Giving Back," and I was honored to go to the White House and meet President Barack Obama. I also won the 2015 John F. Kennedy "Make A Difference" Award, and 2015 Hasbro Action Hero Award, and 2015 Boston's Kids Really Rock Contest. I won Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's 2015 Jimmy Fund Big Idea Contest for my initiative to help raise awareness and funds to help fight cancer. I won the 2016 "Young Entrepreneur Award" given by the Newton- Needham Chamber of Commerce. Just this year, I received three big awards: 1) I presented and received an award at the #digital4good conference at Twitter HQ in San Francisco. 2) I won Lady Gaga's Born This Way "Channel Kindness" Award for my initiative decorating heart cards for refugee families. 3) I won the Peace First Challenge for addressing civic engagement, and was invited to present and receive an award at the first Allstate Good Starts Young Rally in Chicago. Over the summer, I completed a four week internship with DoSomething in New York City. I'm also proud that my poetry won Honorable Mention in the 2016 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and I had the honor read them at the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in New York City.

Is there anything else you think people would like to know?

I'm an eighth grader at The St. Sebastian's School in Needham, MA. I play baseball for my school and travel team, and I'm the catcher. For more information about Catching Joy, see or check out our FB page. To read my Scholastic blog, see