Backpack Kid Russell Horning Uses Fame to Encourage Other Kids to Achieve Their Dreams
By visiting schools with supplies, participating in outreach programs, and making guest appearances, Russell Horning uses his fame and talent for dancing to uplift other kids and inspire them to follow their own dreams.
The legendary “floss” dance popularized by internet sensation “Backpack Kid” has catapulted teenager Russell Horning into an international spotlight. His meme-worthy dances and iconic expressionlessness has earned Horning video shares from renowned celebrities like Rihanna and SNL stage performances with pop icons like Katy Perry.
He’s still a regular teen, though, and you can tell by the way he talks about his nerves during his live SNL performance.
“The whole country was watching us so, yeah, I couldn’t mess up, because if you mess up on national television, you are screwed,” Russell Horning told the Gwinnett Daily Post.
His dance videos have attracted millions of viewers, and his most famous dance was included as an unlockable choreography in the hit multi-platform game Fortnite. Horning sets a positive example for celebrities by using his fame to give back to his local community, spreading solidarity and togetherness. He’s been an active member and volunteer of many organizations and programs, focusing on inspiring kids and ensuring they have more opportunities to achieve their own dreams.
In the past, Russell Horning surprised kids at elementary schools with donations of backpacks full of school supplies, inviting them on stage to perform his legendary dance with him. He’s also appeared at Zumba conferences as a guest speaker and proven that his focus is on bringing people together.
He’s partnered with major outreach programs to accomplish this, most notably his work with the Lawrenceville Housing Authority, Families of Children Under Stress (FOCUS), and Gwinnett County Public schools in different capacities.
The Lawrenceville Housing Authority provides “decent, safe, and sanitary housing to the low-income citizens of Lawrenceville and the surrounding areas.” As a local resident, Russell Horning volunteers with the group to help give community members a home they can be proud of. Since it began in the 1950s, LHA has developed 9 housing sites and a total of 212 public housing units.
Backpack Kid also donates to FOCUS, a program aiming to comfort medically fragile children or those who have significant developmental and/or physical challenges.
He gives back to local schools often but spends a lot of time especially with kids in the Gwinnett County Public Schools. He takes his iconic dances and performs them for audiences at Moore Middle School and Brookwood High School. He speaks at schools like Rebecca Minor Elementary to inspire kids and spread solidarity. Apart from his volunteer work with local charities and organizations, he supports fundraisers in the local school system such as his sponsorship with Gwin Oaks Elementary fundraisers.
Backpack Kid is still a kid himself, and still has a lot of time to bring people together, unite his community, and grow his fame and talent. But he’s already proven his worth as a positive role model to thousands of kids around the world.