I have always loved building and creating. This love of innovation led me to my first major venture as an entrepreneur; selling rainbow loom (bracelets made of little rubber bands, they were all the rage) and various other bracelets during the summer from my wagon. At the time I was six years old. One day, a competing wagon that sold similar products parked itself ten feet from mine. A truly fierce and ferocious rivalry was born. While my parents and their parents were happily socializing we were both trying to maximize foot traffic to attract more customers than the other. I carried three flagship bracelets that cost thirty dollars each. I thought this was a huge amount of money when I was six, and would have been ecstatic if I was able to even sell one. To my astonishment a group of three ladies walked up to my wagon, loved the bracelets, and bought all three in one transaction. These three ladies had just handed a six year old ninety dollars. I was so excited, I ran over to my dad who was talking to the parent of the competing wagon and whispered my success in his ear. After that sale I didn’t even care about my competition, I just focused on being my best. The bracelets I sold not only made me my first one thousand dollars, but put smiles on countless faces all summer long. Being able to accomplish those two things cemented my love for solving problems and being an entrepreneur. six years later at twelve years old, my family went on a trip to India and Bhutan. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled extensively since I was four months old. Traveling always provided me with the opportunity to think of the bigger picture and see the world with a unique perspective. When I was in India we visited Delhi and Calcutta which is where I first witnessed what extreme poverty looked, smelled, and felt like. I had seen homeless people on the streets my whole life, but this was completely different. It was also the first time I can remember seeing impoverished children in person. Pictures simply are not the same. I distinctly remember two young boys and their father living in a structure built of cardboard boxes with a tarpaulin roof. When I looked in those kids eyes I saw a longing, a longing for opportunity. I knew that those two boys would have given anything to have the opportunities that I had taken for granted my whole life. That experience changed my perspective and made me realize that there is a lot that needs to be done in the world. They also gave me a new appreciation for the opportunity I wake up with every morning as an American. Those two boys are one of the reasons I LOVE I and the I LOVE I Foundation are dedicated to brightening the future of children. Every child should have the opportunity and tools to be their incredible unique and awe inspiring selves.
Together, we can give children and adults alike that opportunity.
Julius William Pieranunzi (14 Years Old At Time Of Writing)