GREAT FALLS — KRTV’s Shannon Newth created the Five Under 35 initiative as a way to recognize young adults in Great Falls whose attitudes and actions are making our community an even better place to live. Shannon hopes the initiative will boost morale and encourage others to take an active role in the community. Five Under 35 was born with the intention of recognizing those who are already in the community, not only doing amazing things, but who also have an attitude that combats the negativity that is often more contagious. It’s more than a good deeds award. It’s about addressing community concerns through positivity and passion. This is the seventh year recognizing young adults in the Great Falls community. Out of about 50 nominations this year, the final five have been selected.
The first honoree of 2020 is the youngest ever in the program. At 14-years-old Luc Swensson has already touched the lives of thousand of kids and spoken in front of crowds across the country.
Inspired by a song, Swensson created and runs the “I Love This Life” foundation.
“Mainly to give every child the hope to dream big. So we’ll go and speak about bullying, teen suicide,” said Swensson.
He doesn’t skirt around tough topics in his presentations to elementary school kids. He speaks about mental health, living with divorced parents and even shares about a time he was bullied. “Tell kids really if you’re being bullied for things like that, know it’s what you’re doing and don’t let those kids control you,” Swensson explained.
He also created journals to help kids communicate with their parents. It’s all part of Swensson’s attitude of hope to a make a difference in Great Falls and beyond. “Kids coming up, knowing I’ve made an impact in at least someone. And that was our first motto…if you can change one kids life, you’ve done your job,” said Swensson.
As part of the Five Under 35 program, each honoree is asked two questions, meant to put conversation and thought in our community. Those two questions are:
- What does Great Falls have going for it?
- How can Great Falls improve?
Swensson said he has had great and supportive teachers and counselors growing up in Great Falls. His focus for community improvement, is on more technology in the classroom.
“Getting technology to a point where those kids can really compete with all the other states to move into colleges,” said Swensson.
Swensson will be speaking to students in New York in April.
Learn more about the “I Love This Life” foundation here.
The Five Under 35 initiative wraps up each year with a luncheon for new honorees and past winners.