As current leaders in government, business and the non-profit world scramble to adjust to a new reality, it’s easy to overlook the next generation.

With coronavirus changing all aspects of life, kids are navigating a maze that many adults find difficult — and often doing so in distinctive ways.

That’s why The Acadiana Advocate is partnering with Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System to recognize children and teens who stand out in their communities.

“There are so many amazing kids in Louisiana making a difference, overcoming challenges and showing us that anything is possible,” said Dr. Trey Dunbar, president of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health. “We hope that by telling these stories, it inspires others.”

While people often focus on the accomplishments of adults, children do remarkable things, he noted.

“It’s been a tough year for our communities, but kids are resilient,” Dunbar said. “When they set their mind to something, incredible things can happen.”

To nominate someone deserving of the Exceptional Kids honor, go to and fill out the form there.

Eligible are youth up to age 18 who are improving their communities, reaching academic heights, achieving athletic feats or otherwise inspiring the people around them.

Permission from the honoree’s parents is needed for the use of their child’s information and photograph.

Each week, The Acadiana Advocate will feature one youth’s story online and in the newspaper.

“It’s important to show that if we believe in them, kids can do anything,” Dunbar said.