Donovan Smith is just like any other seventh grader. He loves to play video games, especially sports games, on his Xbox. But, what sets Smith apart from most kids his age, is the fact that he has his own business, he is an advocate for child abuse victims, he invests a lot of time in charity work, he has received several awards, among those, the Youth Choice Award recently presented to him at the McDonald’s 365Black Community Awards. In addition, young Smith can tout that he even has received a letter from President Obama and the first Lady. But this young man’s list of accolades doesn’t stop there. He has appeared on the Queen Latifah show, and has even had a minor role as Marcus in Independence Day: Resurgence. Imagine, he has accomplished all of this and more at the tender age of 13.
In 2011, Smith and his single mother found themselves living in a homeless shelter, in New Mexico when she lost her job and their apartment, due to health reasons. For six months, the Henderson House was home. When Smith’s mother began receiving disability benefits, the duo was able to move into special housing for veterans. It was that move that propelled the young man with a big heart towards his path of inspirational greatness.
When Smith was 11, his mother taught him the basics of soap making and he figured out the rest through a series of classes. At first, he sold his bath products in person, every weekend, securing a booth at the Rail Yards Market. “Every week,” his mother commented to The Washington Post, “he was up at 4 a.m. on Sunday, packing his wagon with all of his soaps.” The products for which Smith became known are elaborately designed and look like glazed doughnuts, corn on the cob, cupcakes, cookies, hamburgers, eggs and snow globes. Shortly thereafter, his business went from the Rail Yards Market to his own Etsy Store-Toil and Trouble, inspired by Macbeth.
Smith has donated hundreds of dollars of his earnings to the nonprofit that helped he and his mother when they were in need. Most recently, he has taken up to speaking out against child abuse. Inspired by the horrific death of Albuquerque girl, Victoria Martens, Smith posted the video below, urging kids to open up about abuse.
What’s next for Smith, well, recently, he has not been selling soaps and has decided to take a break, temporarily closing his online shop, focusing on his charity work. Smith is looking to write a children’s book series about homelessness, continuing to help others, sharing his first-hand experience, letting other kids in a similar situation know that they are not alone.
“He’s always been wiser and smarter,” his mother commented. “He’s always been like this since he was little. Always been a considerate and caring child. I’m very lucky to have him.” To be a part of Smith’s journey, follow him on Instagram, here https://www.instagram.com/donovandiscovers/.