My name is… Sammie Vance.
I am… 12 years old, the founder of Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project and a Kindness advocate. I am most known for my buddy bench project where I collect caps and have them recycled into buddy benches to help the environment and friendships! I have helped over 200 schools/groups all over the US get buddy benches. UPS and Walgreens have even helped me in the past. During the COVID pandemic I started Sammie Sending Smiles where I would sent an encouraging letter and a laminated to someone each day. I have sent over 500 smiles worldwide. Last October I started a podcast called Sammie Smiles! The goal: Interview inspiring people and leave my guests and listeners with a smile to start off their week!
What I am really excited about is getting my book published on August 24th! It is called Inspire the World: A Kid’s Journey to Making a Difference, published by Clear Fork Publishing.
I wrote the first draft of my book when I was 9 and through the past few years of finding an agent and publisher my book has, as you would say, grown up with me. What started as a picture book has turned into a fun book about my journey that walks kids through my story but also how they can make a difference too! I hope it will inspire many. There are real pictures and cartoon Sammie’s throughout the book. The illustrations are provided by Talitha Shipman! Fun Fact: Talitha is an award-winning illustrator that happens to live only five minutes from me. We have become good friends these past few years.
As a kid, I was… well, I am still a kid, but a few years ago I was very shy, but through my project I have learned how to talk to small and large crowds and in front of cameras and on the radio. I even started my own weekly podcast called Sammie Smiles! It took a lot of practice and bravery but knowing I have the power to inspire others makes it worth the effort.
Writing is… so much fun, because you can write how you feel and share it with others. You can also spread a/the message you want to spread. Being able to write my story and see it in book form is a really amazing feeling.
Reading is… like you are being transported to another world. Weather it is a fiction, or non-fiction book, it feels like you are a part of the story. If there is a book I really like you will probably find me quoting it during every day conversation.
Books are… a lot of fun to read because you can learn so much, whether it is fictional or not fiction. It takes me a while to find the right book or series, but when I do I can’t put it down. You might not see me for a few days!
Did you know… I was on the Today Show and Kathie Lee Gifford wrote me a song? It was a really neat experience. Also that I helped run a cap art mural program with my parks department. I designed them and then used recycled caps to create art! They were featured in a TV show of Operation Awesome. The episode name was “Kindness Counts!” I love meeting new people and am excited to get my book out there and hopefully connect with many others.
You can find me… in my new book out August 24 called Inspire the World: A Kid’s Journey to Making a Difference.
I have links to order on my website or you can order easily online. If you read it I would love to know what you think!
My mom even put together some activities and teacher resources that are available on my website.
FB: Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project
Youtube: Sammie Smiles (my podcast! Check out episode 15 where I interviewed Jarrett Lerner!)
You can also listen to my podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify.
Remember: You don’t just have to be an adult to make a difference. You can be a kid too!