Zoe Terry is the 10-year-old CEO of Zoe’s Dolls, a Miami-based nonprofit she founded at the age of 5. To truly understand the power of Zoe’s Dolls, you must first know the story of Zoe Terry. When she was 2, Zoe suffered a stroke that left her with some motor skill difficulties and speech impairment. After hard work and intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy, Zoe overcame most of her physical limitations.
In kindergarten, Zoe was bullied because of her skin color and hair texture – and because of her physical limitations. She decided to do something about how this made her feel, she decided to act. When her mother asked her to give away a Christmas gift to a less fortunate child, Zoe knew wanted to do more. She told her mother that she wanted to “start a company that gives free brown dolls to little brown girls in need at Christmas time.” Zoe wanted to give toys to little girls less fortunate than she was, and hoped to combat bullying by letting other little brown girls know that they are special, just the way they are.
This was the beginning of Zoe’s Dolls.
Since its inception, Zoe has given out approximately $20,000 in dolls, donations, contests and free community events – impacting the lives of more than 4,000 girls in South Florida, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Haiti and Africa. And Zoe has not stopped at dolls. Her organization has developed programs aimed at empowering little girls and young ladies, to let each one know that her image is beautiful, including the Loving the Skin I’m In Creative Expressions Contest, Zoe’s Dolls Girl Ambassadors, Girlpreneur and The Girl Fit Experience.
Her philanthropic work has impacted the lives of many. Zoe has invested more than 5,000 hours of her time and personally donates $500 each year, which she collects from friends, teachers and her allowance, to various organizations in her community. Zoe was named a 2017 Hasbro Community Action Hero through generationOn, the youth division of Points of Light; She was selected to speak at a 2016 TEDx Youth Miami Event and will speak at the annual TED2017 conference this year. Among the many awards she’s received for her work are the Miami-Dade Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award and MLK 2017 Trailblazer.