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Working for Change

Michael Platt isn’t just a talented baker. He’s also on a mission to fight inequality.

A teen and a woman stand at a table with a No Kid Hungry tablecloth and baking equipment.

Courtesy of Michaels Desserts,

This 2019 photo shows Michael Platt and his mom at a Bake-Off event to raise money for an organization called No Kid Hungry.

When Michael Platt was 6 years old, he heard about the March on Washington. The march, which took place in 1963, was the setting of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. Michael learned about how King dedicated his life to fighting poverty and inequality. Now 17 years old, Michael is on his own mission to fight inequality. He’s using his talents as a baker to do it.

For four years, Michael has had his own company—Michaels Desserts. For every dessert the company sells, it donates one dessert to a person who is homeless. (Michael says there’s no apostrophe in the company’s name because he bakes for others, not for himself.) Through his company, Michael also started P.L.L.A.T.E., an organization that works to increase access to food for people who otherwise might not be able to afford it.

“People who are small can solve big problems,” Michael said during a speech he gave in 2019. “People underestimate the power of kids in general. They certainly underestimate our power to do something about big problems.” 

In 2022, Michael expanded his reach by releasing a cookbook titled Michaels Desserts: Sweets for a Cause. The cookbook includes recipes for cakes, pies, tarts, and breads. There’s also a variety of cupcakes, each one named for an inspirational activist. Names include Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Malala Yousafzai.

In a recent interview at a Washington, D.C., public library, Michael expressed a hope that his cookbook would spur more people to help others.

“I hope that it inspires people to just use something that they’re interested in to give back to their community,” he said.

Get Creative 6, courtesy of Michaels Desserts

Michael released a cookbook in 2022.


Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

Louai Beshara—AFP/Getty Images

Rescue teams worked at the site of a fallen building in Syria after a major earthquake struck on February 6, 2023.

On the early morning of February 6, 2023, Turkey and Syria were struck by a powerful earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. Just hours later, another major quake shook the region. Thousands of people have died, and many more are injured. Thousands of buildings have collapsed. 

Governments and organizations from around the world are sending medical workers, equipment, and food to the region. Many individuals are also stepping up to help. In Washington, D.C., people brought boxes full of supplies to the Turkish embassy. 

“When you see people in need, that’s the proper thing to do,” Washington resident Reginald Jamison told WTOP News.

Did You Know?

© Visual Generation/

In a 2020 survey, 32 percent of teens said that they had recently educated family or friends about a cause that’s important to them.

Celebrate Black History Month

February is Black History Month. Here are just a few Black Americans you might want to read about. You can learn more about them at Britannica School!

Dorothy Vaughan (1910–2008).

Dorothy Vaughan was the head of the West Computers, a part of NASA responsible for making the complex calculations necessary for the success of the U.S. space program. The “computers” were not machines but people, and the West Computers were Black women at a time when neither white women nor Black men and women were permitted to have most jobs at NASA. Vaughan later became a computer programmer.


Dorothy Vaughan helped make some early space missions possible.

Fayard Nicholas (1914–2006) and Harold Nicholas (1921–2000).

Known as the Nicholas Brothers, Fayard and Harold Nicholas began dancing in nightclubs when they were still children. The brothers would go on to perform on Broadway and in films. They were famous for combining graceful dance steps with awe-inspiring acrobatics.

George Konig—Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Nicholas brothers were known for their grace, style, and daring dance moves.

Barbara Johns (1935–1991).

In 1951, 16-year-old Barbara Johns led students at her Virginia high school on a strike to protest the poor condition of her school. At the time, schools in the South were racially segregated. Johns argued that schools for Black students should be equal in quality to schools for white students. Johns’ actions, along with the actions of others, helped pave the way for school desegregation.

Part of a sculpture showing Barbara Johns protesting with her classmates, one holding a sign saying, “We want equal education.”

Frank Tozier/Alamy

This sculpture was made to honor Barbara Johns and others who worked for civil rights.

John Lewis (1940–2020).

Later known for his work as a member of the U.S. Congress, John Lewis played a key role in the civil rights movement. He became involved in protests while in college, as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1965, Lewis led a famed march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama in support of voting rights for Black Americans.

Portrait of John Lewis outdoors with the Capitol Building in the background.

Courtesy of the office of U.S. Representative John R. Lewis

Congressman John Lewis spent much of his life working for equal rights.

Amanda Gorman (born in 1998).

Gorman began writing poetry as a child, in part to express her feelings about struggling with speech difficulties. Gorman published her first book of poetry at age 17 and was named the National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States in 2017. In 2021, Gorman appeared at the presidential inauguration, where she read her poem “The Hill We Climb.”

Amanda Gorman speaks at a podium.

Pool/Getty Images News

Amanda Gorman read her poem when President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

The Civil Rights Movement

U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-03128)

February is Black History Month in the United States. Learn more about an important period of Black history, the civil rights movement.

Find out at Britannica School!






: a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something — usually singular

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