When 13-year-old Michael Platt was diagnosed with epilepsy in the sixth grade, he had to quit a few of his favorite things—diving, climbing trees, and doing gymnastics. But it wasn't enough to stop him from baking, a hobby born from many an afternoon spent watching bakers work their culinary magic across YouTube, The Washington Post reports.
So the then-11-year-old decided to open a bakery of his own, run from his kitchen in Bowie, Maryland, with the help of his mother. Inspired by the TOMS one-for-one model, Michael founded Michaels Desserts with a mission to donate one baked good for each one bought. He sells about 100 items each month (75 cupcakes, plus a couple dozen shortbread cookies and other "chef's choice" items), and distributes the free batches to domestic violence shelters, transitional housing, or in McPherson Square in Washington, D.C.
Michael calls his cupcakes "freedom fighter cupcakes," and themes each month's flavor around a figure with a strong impact on the landscape of civil rights and social activism. Harriet Tubman's October cupcake is mint chocolate chip, because her family often shortened her birth name Araminta to "Minty." This month's cupcake is banana pudding, a flavor that Maya Angelou loved. January and February belong to Michael's personal hero Martin Luther King Jr., whose flavor is sweet potato pie.
The young do-gooder is particularly fond of passing out his treats to kids, because he feels that cupcakes are a quintessential childhood experience. He even taught a baking class at an Williams-Sonoma in Annapolis, Maryland, for a suggested price of $30 per person, and gave the proceeds to No Kid Hungry.
For Michael, the driving force behind his dessert business transcends his passion for baking. "It's all about helping people," he told The Washington Post, "Not just having a purpose for yourself, but thinking about, 'How does this touch other things?'"
[h/t The Washington Post]