TheGrio's 100: Nicholas Cobb, spreads 'Comfort and Joy' to homeless through foundation

theGRIO's 100 - When he was four years old, Nicholas saw a homeless family living under a bridge. That image stuck out in his mind, and Cobb decided to do something...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

When he was four years old, Nicholas saw a homeless family living under a bridge. While spotting the occasional homeless person is not unusual for most people living in the U.S., that image stuck out in his mind.

“It just didn’t make any sense to me,” Cobb told NBC Nightly News. Cobb decided to do something about it. He started with collecting toiletries for the homeless and cleaning supplies for local homeless shelters.

In 2009, at age 12, the Texan started his own foundation, Comfort and Joy, to raise money to buy new coats for those living on the street. Through working with his Boy Scouts troop, Cobb raised $24,000 and bought hundreds of coats for the homeless.

Nicholas Cobb is making history… as a young philanthropist who, despite his youth, has raised thousands of dollars to help some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens. To date, Cobb’s foundation has donated nearly 400 coats to local shelters. In 2010, Cobb was an honoree in National Make A Difference Day and was awarded a $10,000 contribution to the non-profit of his choice.

What’s next for Nicholas?

Cobb was just named Texas’s top two youth volunteers for 2012 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. He was recognized by Allen High School in Allen, Texas.

Additionally, Cobb’s efforts were recently recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Greater Dallas Chapter, who awarded him with the Youth Philanthropist of the Year distinction.

**A little-known fact about homelessness …***

Twelve percent of the country’s homeless population are veterans, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

For more information about Comfort and Joy, THE”>click here GRIO’S Q & A WITH NICHOLAS COBB

Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?

A: After I started the non-profit, Comfort and Joy, the focus became fundraising so I could help more people. Now that the non-profit is up and going successfully, I am starting a for profit corporation as well. In this company we are building video games to help young people learn about how to get into college and how to avoid pitfalls that might keep you from getting there. We are going to sell the games and donate a portion of the profits from the corporation to the non-profit to fund college scholarships for homeless kids and to also to provide interview suits to help people find jobs. The idea is to help people be able to help themselves and get on their feet. Then they can help others like in the movie Pay it Forward.

Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?

A: Many people know that I am really good at math and computers and most don’t know that I am a pretty mean tenor too. I really like to sing. Mom calls me her “MusiqSoulchild,” because “aujuswannasing.”

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

A: “To whom much is given much is required.” You don’t need to add much to that. I think I have a pretty nice life, so I want to help others. That is pretty much it.

*Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?

A: Well, I am a Christian and as Christians I think we are really only here for two reasons: 1) to worship God and 2) to serve his people. So that is what I try to do. My particular reason for wanting to help the homeless comes from seeing a homeless family living under a bridge when I was very young, maybe about four. I didn’t understand how that could be. So since then I have kinda just wanted to help.

Q: Who are/were your mentors?

A: Definitely my parents. They have taught me what is right and wrong, raised me as a Christian and I see them volunteering and helping others so they really just showed me the way. I have a lot of family members and friends who really love me and they support me. My teachers have been very important in helping me learn the skills to do the things I want to do as well.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who’s craving to achieve their dreams?

A: As long as you are willing to work for it don’t let anything hold you back. Just go for it.