12-year-old makes history and receives congressional recognition

·2 min read

Dec. 21—Sophia "SJ" J. Thomas, a 12-year-old chef at Dickerson Middle School, received a Certificate of Congressional recognition and a Letter of Congratulations from Congresswoman Lucy McBath.

Thomas is an entrepreneur, humanitarian and philanthropist who recently made history.

"I am pleased to offer my congratulations to you for making history as the first person of color to be featured on the cover of Teen HiLife magazine. This is a remarkable achievement of which you should feel quite proud," Congresswoman Lucy McBath, writes in her letter. "It is clear that you have a commitment to educating others and inspiring your peers to discover the joys of cooking. I am proud of you for courageously and confidently representing yourself and your passions in such an admirable way. I also want to commend you for giving back to the community in your philanthropic efforts to support Veterans organizations and nonprofits that serve the children in need. At a young age, you are already making the world a better place."

Thomas has been cooking since she was three years old. When COVID-19 hit, she realized that kids who were at home during school hours, needed to know how to make meals for themselves. She started SJ Savory Kitchen, a business that focuses on providing food recipes and tips to families. Since the start of the company, she has received praise from celebrity chefs such as: Rachel Ray, Carla Hall, and Sugar Chef. She has also received praise from Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.

Thomas also wanted families to be safe in the kitchen, so she started SJ Cookware. Her first line of kitchen safety products includes aprons, chef hats, mittens and potholders.

Her parents are military veterans so she makes it a point to work with veteran non-profits to send care-packages to military overseas. She also gives to charities such as Victoria's Voice and No Kid Hungry.

Recently, Thomas collaborated with her sister to help raise over $150,000 in a fundraiser for Stand Up for Kids, a non-profit that focuses on helping homeless youth. She was awarded the National "Girl of Merit" award in both 2018 and 2019.

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