Baltimore’s ‘Little Big Shot’ Continues to Help Veterans
At just six-years-old, Tyler Stallings is helping to change the world.
For the past two years, Tyler has been packing “hero bags” with snacks, water and other critical items for veterans at the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training (MCVET).
The youngster’s initiatives are funded through proceeds from Kid Time Enterprises, which Tyler serves as the honorary CEO.
While donning a superhero cape during fundraisers, Tyler has also used funds from a book he has written to help MCVET and other veterans’ organizations.
And, just last month, Tyler appeared on the hit NBC TV Show, “Little Big Shots,” with Steve Harvey.
“I always wanted to be on his show and I got to meet Mr. Harvey and he was funny, but nice,” Tyler said about meeting the host of the show that focuses on notable children, whether they are talented or doing good, in the world.
Mostly, the appearance was an opportunity for the ambitious philanthropist to help fight against homelessness for veterans, particularly those at MCVET, a national nonprofit based in Baltimore that provides comprehensive services and support to homeless male and female veterans from across the country.
“He has a big heart for MCVET,” said Jeffrey Kendrick, MCVET’s executive director.
“He is what we must look forward to in the future. His commitment has stood out and it isn’t something you see a lot because a lot of people say they want to give back, but when you see Tyler’s level of commitment … I’m awestruck.”
Tyler takes a strong cue from his mother, Andrea Blackstone who says he was initially motivated after seeing YouTube videos about homeless veterans.
“He wanted to help, and he asked why they were homeless,” Blackstone said. “He wanted to buy a house for each of them and I told him we couldn’t afford to do that, but we came away with something we could do and I’m so proud of him.”
Tyler has also delved into the book, publishing world, authoring the book, “Tyler Goes Around the World,” a children’s book he wrote with Blackstone.
“He didn’t like to go to sleep at night, so I created a game to teach him about places in the world, imaginary things, and we’d fly around the world and we studied about different places,” Blackstone said. “We’d discuss these different places at night and he’d be so eager to go to bed. It became easier for him to learn more about the next thing and then the next thing and he’s always loved books and I really wanted him to embrace literacy, so I was proud that he wanted to write his own book.”
Tyler used the proceeds from the book to donate to veterans and his mom said he’s working on more projects in which he’ll be even more independent.
“I want to help all of the veterans,” Tyler said. “Even if they aren’t homeless— I wish I could help them all. That’s what I want to do in the future.”
With his efforts that include a book and an appearance on “Little Big Shots,” Tyler has already raised thousands of dollars but to him, he said it seems like millions.
“Since the show aired, he’s raised thousands of dollars and the majority has gone to MCVET,” Blackstone said. “His GoFundMe campaign has significantly picked up and people have reached out to ask how they could help.”
Kendrick says the show appearance was priceless.
“When I came to work the next day, my mailbox was flooded,” he said. “Steve Harvey mentioned MCVET in the last two or three sentences and I think people took time to look it up and all of a sudden we had all of this attention.”
Tyler donates a portion of the proceeds from any of the items that he sells online to homeless, elderly or disabled veterans and their families.