photo: DIY Girls via GoFundMe

It’s always inspiring to see people helping others, but when those helpers are kids, it’s even more amazing. Twelve high school students who call themselves the DIY Girls have designed a portable homeless shelter that runs on solar power and they’re well on their way to changing lives for the better.

The twelve members of the DIY Girls are all juniors and seniors at San Fernando High School in California. Living in a low income community, the girls have witnessed the problem of homelessness first-hand growing up and were inspired to help. Their portable shelter is made of durable material with solar panels integrated into the design to power devices inside and provides passive heat for cold climates. The entire shelter folds down small enough to be transported in a backpack.

After receiving the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant to solve a real-life problem using engineering, the girls spent the last year working hard on their plans, consulting with organizations and conducting research. Math teacher, Violet Mardirosian, was blown away by their dedication. “They have this amazing internal drive that I’ve never seen in any individual. I thought at the beginning that maybe some of them would give up, say ‘I didn’t anticipate this much work,’ but they’re not. They’re just working hard and they’re not giving up and they’re super excited,” Mardirosian told A Mighty Girl.

The girls benefitted plenty from their experience as well. 17-year-old Maggie Mejia explained that not many of girls on the team had experience with engineering before starting work on the project, but that the most important lesson from the experience was that they could make the world a better place: “I’ve learned a lot about helping others, helping the community and being selfless.”

The girls will present their invention at the MIT EurekaFest this month. You can support their trip and their amazing work via their GoFundMe page.

What innovative ideas have your kids come up with? Tell us in the comments below.