Grapevine Girl Nominated for Prestigious International Children's Peace Prize

The award is essentially the kids version of the Nobel Peace Prize.

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This week marks three years since a 7-year-old girl in Grapevine started a huge mission to do something good for the world.

Now, Paisley Elliott is celebrating some more good news.

Her family just found out that she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize, which is known as the equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize, but for kids.

"It's a huge deal,” Paisley told NBC 5 with a smile.

But it's just another year in the life of this superhero in the making.

When she was just 4 years old, Paisley learned about refugees in school and was so moved by the struggles other children around the world faced.

Tali Jones

She was so moved that she decided she would give away all of her stuffed animals to kids in Syria. She took it a step further and turned to her community to collect hundreds more.

“When I was at home, I had all of the stuffed animals to help keep me safe, and feel safe and warm,” she said. “Those kids might not have a stuffed animal or something like that so I thought I would just make them feel safer.”

After that, her nonprofit Paisley's Pals was born and her mission took off from there.

"I’ve done projects in Greece, Mexico and Nicaragua,” Paisley said.

Tali Jones
While in Greece, Paisley has a special meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and U.S. Embassy to learn how to better advocate for refugees.

Through fundraisers and partnerships with other nonprofits, she's brought hundreds of pounds of first aid and supplies to countless families overseas. She helped raise money to build a school for refugee children at the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesvos, Greece.

NBC 5 first reported on her efforts in 2019.

Her journey has even taken her to the United Nations in Switzerland, meetings with UNICEF and an opportunity to speak at the UN Youth Assembly in New York last year.

She was the youngest person in the room.

"Everyone deserves a voice, no matter how small they are,” Paisley said.

She's written countless letters to international leaders about helping refugees and even got a letter back from New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Adern.

Recently, Paisley's been camping in her front yard in protest to raise awareness for refugees coming through the Mexico border.

This week marked 25 weeks of camping. She said she has no plans to stop.

In February, she also presented a poem she wrote during a virtual forum of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

It read in part: "I can imagine a world that says, 'You are welcome here,' a perfect world with no anger, no hate and no fear.”

Paisley's parents said she does all of this incredible work on her own -- they're just along for the ride to help and support her.

“You always hear people say, ‘I’m going to change the world,’ and I’ve never actually thought that in my personal life, ever. And then I have this kid who wakes up every day, genuinely striving to be the difference. And we just kind of watch her in awe, because we don’t actually know what’s coming next," Jones said.

A 7-year-old Texas girl is honored with the prestigious International Children's Peace Prize, the kid's version of the Nobel.

Clearly, Paisley has the resume to earn the peace prize but her mom said she’s not even old enough to technically receive it.

“She’s actually not even old enough to be nominated for it,” she said. “The foundation that nominated her has also sent over two letters asking for them to either make an exception or to lower the requirement of the minimum age because of her large resume and large amount of humanitarian work she’s already done."

Still, her neighborhood held a drive-by parade for Paisley Tuesday evening to honor her achievements.

Neighbors, Paisley's teacher and even the Grapevine Police Department turned out for the event.

“For her, it’s not about the award. I mean, she’s excited because she’s like, 'That’s on my bucket list. That’s on my life plan.’ But for us personally, this parade tonight is really the first time our community has rallied around her," Jones said.

Paisley's work is far from finished. Her next big project, the Shine Box, aims to bring STEAM-focused mobile classrooms to refugee camps.

“Don’t be quiet. Use your voice to stand up for the world because you can make the world a better place,” she said.

Paisley's 8th birthday is also this Friday.

She started celebrating early by writing 88 letters to lawmakers calling for change.

Click here to learn more about Paisley's Pals.

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