“Backpack Kid” Russell Horning Encourages Support of the Boys and Girls Club of America
Internet sensation Russell Horning, known by his creative handle “Backpack Kid,” is a regular volunteer and supporter of community charities. He encourages fans, readers, and all community members to spend a little time giving back and volunteering with programs like the Boys and Girls Club of America.
16-year-old Russell Horning is a dancer at heart, and his Backpack Kid persona is a viral internet sensation because of it. His self-choreographed “flossing” moves are performed around the world and have been integrated into pop culture through video game references and SNL performances. He has a loyal internet following and fans in high places, as mega pop-stars Rihanna and Katy Perry will let you know.
Beyond his love for dance, Russell Horning also has a passion for giving back to his community. He’s made appearances at elementary schools with donations of backpacks full of supplies, giving an impromptu performance alongside the kids. He’s appeared at Zumba events and celebrity video game tournaments and even surprised a teen this year at her prom.
Backpack Kid is also an ongoing supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of America, whose mission is to “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”
“I share a lot of the same values as the Boys and Girls Club of America,” says Russell Horning. “I want kids to be nice to each other and respect each other and achieve their dreams. I think they’ll grow up to be good people that way.”
The Club has had an impact in the lives of youth since as far back as the 1860s, proving to be one of the longest-running charitable organizations in operation today. It began with the vision to provide a world-class Club Experience that ensures all youth are on track to graduate school and have a plan for their future. It also helps young people develop good character along the way and develop habits of a healthy lifestyle.
Today, the Boys and Girls Club of America impacts the lives of more than 4 million kids and teens with the hopes to eventually reach more than double that number. Its broad reach is in thanks to diverse program offerings, supporting subjects like education, sports, career development, the arts, wellness, and leadership.
Volunteers are extensions of the hopeful environment the Club creates for youth. They help kids with homework, coach sports games, do crafts, teach art projects, and act as mentors. Through their assistance, the Club is able to build healthy relationships with young people and have a positive impact in the lives of our communities’ future leaders.
Russell Horning, who uses his Backpack Kid fame to spread togetherness and respect, hopes that he can inspire more people to volunteer with the Club.
“When you help these kids, you help yourself,” Russell Horning says. “Everybody is a little better off.”
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.
Backpack Kid Russell Horning Headlines the 2018 Best Buddies Fundraising Walk
Internet sensation Russell Horning, known by his creative title “Backpack Kid” and his legendary “flossing” dance, contributed to this year’s Best Buddies Friendship Walk to raise awareness of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
You know him from his iconic SNL performance with Katy Perry, but you may not know that teenager Russell Horning is a regular volunteer, fundraiser, and guest speaker at gatherings across the country. He chooses to use his growing Backpack Kid fame to help out those in need and to be a positive inspiration to his generation.
“People should be nicer to each other and better to each other,” says Russell Horning. “When they see celebrities giving back and encouraging people, they might think ‘if they can do it, so can I.’”
He’s a regular sponsor of charitable events and appears at gatherings, fundraisers, and conferences to spread his hope for togetherness. In the past, Horning visited Elsa Ebeling Elementary School with backpacks full of school supplies for the kids. He’s danced and spoken at Zumba instructor conferences and partnered with outreach programs such as Families of Children Under Stress (FOCUS).
He keeps busy throughout the year with a packed tour schedule, visiting cities across the continent such as Tampa, FL, New York City, Memphis, TN, and Vancouver, BC. Russell Horning visits many of these locations explicitly for charitable events, such as the Best Buddies Friendship Walk in Tampa he attended earlier this year.
The Friendship Walk to Remember
The Friendship Walk, which is organized and headed by Best Buddies International, is the top fundraising walk in the country for IDD. The mission of the event is to spread awareness and raise funds to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Those with these specific types of disabilities usually develop disorders at an extremely early age or else are born with their disorder, living out their entire life with it. Disability stems from disorders like Down Syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and others. These conditions can have a negative impact on an individual’s physical, intellectual, and/or emotional development, affecting all areas of their lives.
Through Best Buddies, people with IDD can build new friendships with caring individuals, develop leadership skills through hands-on programs, and participate in integrated employment.
Backpack Kid Russell Horning was this past year’s headline celebrity for the charitable walk in Tampa, helping raise thousands of dollars in funding. While there, he performed his wacky dancing and handed out signed t-shirts to excited attendees.
Earlier in the year, Russell Horning was part of a select group of celebrity Fortnite competitors hosting a live broadcast event called the Fortnite Pro-Am Tournament. (His iconic “flossing” dance appears as an unlockable component in the bestselling game, a major feat for the teenage celebrity). Tournament participants were offered unique franchise memorabilia to take home, and Backpack Kid brought his along to the Best Buddies Friendship Walk as an additional auction piece to help raise funds and awareness. Through regular community involvement, Russell Horning proves to his generation that celebrities can be nice, giving, and truly inspirational leaders, giving them hope and solidarity along the way.