St. Louis teen pays off student lunch debt, surprised on national TV

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ST. LOUIS – A 15-year-old from St. Louis received a surprise on December 12 when he appeared on the Jennifer Hudson show and was gifted a year’s worth of PLEZi products along with $5,000 towards his fund dedicated to eliminating school lunch debt.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is co-founder and partner of PLEZi Nutrition. PLEZi’s goal is to give children healthier food options. The drink is a mix of juice concentrates that former First Lady Obama says is healthier.

Earlier this year, Dejuan Strickland demonstrated that age is no barrier to making a positive impact. Through a GoFundMe campaign, he cleared the lunchroom debt for students at his former elementary school, McCurdy Elementary.

Strickland’s initial goal of $200 was surpassed, raising $400 instead. His GoFundMe account eventually reached $15,000. That was done through an innovative idea called, Team Tech Boy Lunch Heroes.

Tech Boy is part of a comic book series where he published two books, “Tech Boy” and “Science Girl.” He used the proceeds to kickstart his fundraising campaign.

The Jennifer Hudson Show

Now featured on the Jennifer Hudson Show, he talks about his personal goals in ensuring no kid goes hungry. Strickland shared with Hudson that, after his own school lunch balance hit zero in the 4th grade he had to sit hungry. He was inspired to raise money to eliminate lunch debt and make sure no other kids have a negative lunch balance.

Strickland said on the show that he faced faced challenges like ADHD, autism, and struggling with bullies. His advice to other kids is to follow their dreams so they can overcome any challenge.

Hudson rewarded Strickland’s generosity and hard work by surprising him with a year’s worth of PLEZi products and $5,000 towards his fund.


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