The teen Keynote Speaker is Hollis Belger, a rising high school senior. You are in for a treat to hear her speech! Hollis Belger, a California native, is a philanthropy advocate, public speaker, and researcher. At the age of nine, Hollis founded Juggling for Jude, a soccer juggling fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In addition to raising more than $500,000 so far, she has raised awareness worldwide about the hospital and the fight against pediatric cancer. Hollis speaks to students and athletes around the Bay Area, encouraging them to find causes they care about and to make use of passions, talents, and interests as avenues for giving.
She will be giving a TED talk through TEDx Marin in September 2021. Hollis is currently working with renowned market researcher, Dr. Howard Moskowitz, using his artificial intelligence technology to support St. Jude market research and training other young people to research areas of their own passion.
Hollis says, “The pandemic has shown us the importance of connecting with, and helping, each other. It has also exposed a lack of purpose in adolescents. Sadly, many of us were lost with the cancelation of typical pursuits. In places like Marin, with our hyper-focus on the outcome-driven path of achievement, we haven’t paid enough attention to developing purpose in teens, helping my generation sustain interest and engagement in something meaningful to us and beneficial to our community and society as a whole.”
“My personal story is one of an earlier-than-usual discovery of personal purpose, through a combination of outside support and personal tenacity, drive, and ability,” says Hollis. “My experiences as a young philanthropist in the world of childhood cancer and an advocate for youth in philanthropy have allowed me to continue generating new avenues for contribution and exploration, even during the pandemic. I’m constantly forging new paths of meaning and contribution and am passionate about spreading the message of the importance of this kind of pursuit for teens like me. I hope that we become inspired by the possibilities and excited about supporting off-the-path exploration as much as we do the typical achievement-oriented course.” Hollis says, “It is my goal to show that these are not mutually exclusive, and civic engagement/social impact inspire purpose.”
Hollis has won a number of international, national, and regional awards for service, including the Diana Award, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold), the US Soccer SheBelieves Hero Award, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Golden Gate Chapter Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, and the Carson Scholar Award. Recently named as one of People Magazine’s Teens Changing the World. Hollis has been featured in countless TV and print news outlets, including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt Inspiring Kids, as well as Sports Illustrated Kids Magazine, A Mighty Girl, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, 60Second Docs, and more. Outside of her fundraising, research, and public speaking, Hollis is an avid dancer and instructor at Roco Dance in Mill Valley, with a specialty in hip hop. She enjoys spending time with her friends, her family, and her two small dogs.
We are excited to be showcasing this inspiring teen and our terrific honorees at our Leaders of the North Bay Awards event. We hope you will join us on December 10th and get to meet them!