Instead of watching cartoons, 9-year-old Jonas Corona heads to the center of poverty in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday mornings.
Skid Row houses between 5,000 and 6,000 homeless people a year within a six-block radius, what some describe as the third world in America.
Hard drugs flow and are taken openly. Children, most without shoes or jackets, lie among adults in doorways, under tarps and right in the middle of the sidewalk, starving.
That's where Corona comes in.
His first trip to Skid Row was at the age of 6, and he knew then that what he saw wasn't right. After spending the day volunteering with his mom, Renee Corona, handing out juice and hot chocolate, he got into his car for the trek home confused and shocked.
"Sometimes I cry myself to sleep because I know that there are kids out there that don't have a bed to sleep on, they only have the cold ground," he said. "They don't have a blanket, just a piece of cardboard, not even a pillow - they have a backpack they rest on."
Corona, a fourth-grader at New City School in Long Beach, has since founded a nonprofit called Love in the Mirror that works to inspire young people to make a difference by donating hygiene items, food and clothing to the homeless.
His mission proves that a person's age has nothing to do with how much he or she can give back.
"It's good for us all to be equal," Jonas said, explaining why he has been organizing donation drives since November 2009. "It is not fair that an average kid has more than a homeless person."
Corona and his organization Love in the Mirror were featured on ABC's hit television series Secret Millionaire in July.
On the episode, Corona thought he was being filmed for
DeCesare posed as a volunteer and helped Corona make and handout sandwiches. She later identified herself and donated $12,000 to the organization and helped Corona turn his organization into a nonprofit.
The pair still speak and have worked together on donation drives.
Coronas' mother helped him start the website, www.loveinthemirror.org. But it was Corona who wrote the mission statement, drew the logo and came up with the name. He also started Facebook and Twitter accounts and had business cards made.
The organization's logo - a hand-drawn heart - said the name "Love in the Mirror" comes from his belief that "when a child looks in the mirror they should always love themselves."
Renee Corona, Jonas's mother, said she is overwhelmed with support and humbled by the effort and dream of her young son.
"This has been a whirlwind," she said. "It started out with Jonas just wanting to volunteer, but we couldn't find an organization that would let him because he wasn't old enough. Then instead of just moving on or giving up, he insisted on starting a website and starting his own organization. It just goes to show that when it comes to helping others, age isn't important. You can never be too young."
Corona has partnered with his school in getting donations and has reached out to organizations across Southern California. He said his goal is to conquer poverty in Los Angeles County, then the state of California and then state-by-state across the nation.
"Homeless people and (homeless) kids are just like us and need to have the same things we have every day. You could donate lots of things - anything helps," he said.
He has organized everything from a clothing drive to collections of books, toys, socks and hygiene products. In addition, he has spoken at high schools and elementary schools.
His latest venture to get youngsters involved was the GIVE - Grow, Inspire, Volunteer, Educate - Youth Empowerment Workshop. He started the pilot program that offered weekly educational learning opportunities to show participating youth that "no matter their age, they can give back."
Corona, who is always planning his organization's next big event, said when he grows up he'd like to play professional tennis and run several nonprofit organizations.
"I'm always thinking about my organization and what we can do next," he said. "I want to be a nonprofit director when I'm older and do this for the rest of my life."
He never forgets that first experience on Skid Row. On a subsequent visit, he noticed a young boy, 10, with no shoes. Not only could he not believe he had no shoes, he couldn't believe that children could be homeless.
"I untied my shoes, took them off and gave them to him," he said. "I didn't know there were homeless kids. He was just 10. He was really happy, his reaction was like he wanted to hug someone or anyone."
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