Spaceship Earth

Solutions in Sight: Environment

Kids Can Make A Difference

A Conversation with Corbin B. Billings and Dawn Billings

April 1999

by Nikki Finazzo, Teen Editorial Board Member

Corbin Billings was just another 10 year old boy, doing the things normal kids do, until the day he created a goal for himself that made him nationally famous. Corbin set a goal for 1,000 trees planted in his home state of Oklahoma. He met that goal, and passed it with flying colors. His book, The A, B, C's of Greatness, written along with his mom, Dawn Billings, is all about inspiring people to create and achieve their own goals and make this world a better place, inside and out.

Reach for the Stars

Reach for the stars and along your way

Encourage others by what you say.

Live Big, Live Brave,

Live your purpose full out;

Know what you want and

what you're about.

Have direction and goals

that are larger than life;

With courage stand tall

to face fear and strife.

Give all that you've got,

and then give some more

Say grace for the family

and friends you adore.

Never give up or settle for less;

For whatever you dream

you shall possess.

Take nothing for granted, be ready to win;

Set your sights high, take action, begin.

Before you know it, because of your stand;

You'll awaken one day,

with a star in your hand.

by Dawn Billings

Greatness and Children: Learn the Rules

The InSite: Corbin, you've become a very well known ten year old. What gave you the idea to do something to support clean air?

Corbin: I have restrictive air disease and breathing is very important to me. Millions suffer from devastating air diseases and I wanted to help all of them. So I made a goal to plant 1,000 trees in the state of Oklahoma by the end of 1998. I used my life savings of $1,000 from birthdays and Christmas for the last 9 years and printed 5,000 bumper stickers. They have my picture on them and read "Corbin says do your share to get clean air."

TI: What kind of response did you get from your bumper stickers?

Corbin: A big one! Right now we have 169,105 trees planted in the state of Oklahoma!

Right now we have 169,105 trees planted in the state of Oklahoma!

TI: Impressive! Where do you go from here?

Dawn: Corbin's taking his cause nationally now.

Corbin: Yeah, I've been talking at convention centers and I am a faculty member at The People's Network Success Channel. (TPN)

TI: That sounds like quite an accomplishment for a young person. How did you get the job?

Corbin: I was speaking at a convention center in Dallas for the Success Channel in front of 6,000 people and the president of TPN thought I was so good that he nominated me a new member.

TI: Now that you're a part of The Peoples Network, what are you going to do?

Corbin: I am planning on speaking at their conventions every couple of months and just having a good time and changing peoples lives.

Dawn: TPN is going to build children's programing around Corbin to inspire other kids to live the greatness within them and to make the kind of changes their hearts call them to make in the world.

TI: That's great! And along with all of that, I understand you and your mom have written a book. Can you tell us about it?

Corbin: It's called The ABC's of Becoming Great. Each letter (of the alphabet) has it's own little story. A: add to the world not subtract, B: be thankful, and so on. The book is designed teach people our experience and to share with them what we think becoming great is!

Dawn: It was really fun (to write the book) because what Corbin decided to take what he had learned though his experiences of trying to make the world better and put it in a form other kids can simply read. If they wanted to be inspired by what he had learned and copy him or create something all their own, then they would have a foundation on which to build.

Corbin: We're also starting a new book called What Have You Got To Give?

TI: What's that one about?

Dawn: What Have You Got To Give? talks about the gifts we have inside of us and how important it is to give to the world all of the gifts and talents that we have been blessed with.

...[the new book] talks about the gifts we have inside of us and how important it is to give to the world all of [these] gifts and talents...

TI: Corbin, how does it feel to know that you're inspiring to other people to do good things?

Corbin: It feels great. Some people have walked up to me and said "Wow! I can't believe it. I've never met anyone like you!" It really moves me and changes my life too.

Dawn: One little girl in San Antonio who is 9 years old what just so inspired (by Corbin's story) that she decided to take on a goal to plant fruit trees in downtown San Antonio to feed the homeless.

TI: Great idea! (Laughing) So aside from public speaking, writing, and inspiring others, through your books is there anything else you find time to do?

Corbin: I am working on a non-profit organization called "Kids Can." It is just about inspiring kids that you can do anything if you just put your mind to it, and helping and influencing them to be great.

Dawn: In March Corbin will be speaking in front of 10,000 people. He'll also be finishing up his new book. He's working hard on writing and trying to keep up his schoolwork which he takes very seriously. He's also trying to have a life as (regular) a kid as well, where he gets to play, and ride his bike, and play video games

TI: What do your friends think about what you are doing?

Corbin: At the beginning of the school year it was really surprising because everyone was like, "Wow, I can't believe that! You met with the mayor, and the governor! Awesome!" But as it went on, kids started making fun of me and, I guess, getting jealous. Kids are coming up to me still and they have said, "As soon as I got home with your bumper sticker I threw it away." Other people say, "Wow, I really like your bumper sticker, I put it on my door!" It's kind of a half and half situation."

Dawn: [It's interesting because]...Corbin doesn't think that he is special, he thinks that he is ordinary and he just believes that he can make a difference. But sometimes other kids are just jealous.

Corbin doesn't think that he is special, he thinks that he is ordinary and he just believes that he can make a difference.

TI: In what other ways have kids shown their jealousy?

Dawn: One day at school, a lot of the boys were picking on him. They had knocked him down on the playground and roughed him up a little bit. When he came home he was pretty upset and he said, " I don't know if I can do this anymore." Then about ten minutes later the phone rang and one of his heroes, Les Brown, who is a wonderful motivational speaker and really spent his entire life helping people live their dream, called him and said "Hey Corbin, buddy, what's going on?" After he talked to Les he got off the phone and said "Ya' know Mom, I just have to keep believing that what I am doing is really important and that I am doing it for a good purpose, even when other people don't understand it exactly. Because if everybody stopped doing what they believed they were supposed to do just because someone gave them a hard time, nobody would get anything done."

TI: That's so true! So you believe that the world is going to become a better place because of what you are doing?

Corbin: Oh yeah. If we can just inspire every single kid that they're our future, then the world could become the best place we could ever imagine.

Dawn: If every other child just like him had that belief, that he just can't even imagine what could happen or what could occur in the world because, like he said, children are the future.

TI: We certainly what we believe in here at Talk City's The InSite. Tell me, Corbin, what advice do you have for kids who are interested in making a difference?

Corbin: Just that it's all in your heart and you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

TI: Thanks so much, Corbin and Dawn for talking the time to talk to us. Lots of luck on all of your very worthwhile goals!

If we can just inspire every single kid that they're our future, then the world could become the best place we could ever imagine.


Click Here for more information on Corbin.

To order a copy of Corbin's book, The ABC's of Becoming Great

Call this number:

918-299-DAWN (3296)

Write to Corbin at: [email protected]


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