Barton Christmas has had a dream since he was 13. He wants to give every person on planet earth a Coke, just like the 1971 song.
Barton got the idea watching a “Christmas music through the decades” show with his family one holiday season at the Badgett Playhouse in Grand Rivers, and when he heard “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” it sparked his crowdsourcing idea.
While some people may criticize handing out the sweet, popular drink, Barton said his intentions are to show the world about joy. It’s not about the sticky-sweet Coca-Cola, Barton just wants to show in a grand way how it’s possible to make someone’s day a little brighter.
If you meet Barton this is no surprise. He exudes both kindness and thankfulness in addition to business savvy.
Instead of mowing lawns or working in retail or fast food like many teenagers, Barton has a balloon animal business, bringing many smiles to children in Paducah and beyond. Barton is also working on building entrepreneurial skills beyond that business, which he said has recently slowed down since his summers have become increasingly busy with travel.
In the summer of 2014 he spent time tinkering at the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs at Georgetown College where he won first prize for his tech start-up Mizo LLC. Then in 2015 the YMCA’s Kentucky Youth Assembly elected Barton as its governor. The KYA is a mock government group of about 1,100 students.
“It’s absolutely amazing to be a part of,” he said. “Out of all the organizations I do I would say that the one that gives the most back to its students, puts in the most effort in to make sure each of its students is having a good experience is definitely the Y.”
Barton doesn’t slow down during the school year either. In addition to leading the efforts of the YMCA’s KYA he is the lead in the McCracken County High School’s showing of “The Crucible,” and he is a member of the Paducah Chamber’s Youth L.E.A.D., a group aimed at developing students to step into community leadership roles in the future.
With all his civic duty experience at the tender age of 17, Barton seems like he could have a future in local politics. But ask him about it, and he says while his last name would lend itself to a fun slogan he wants to focus on his non-profit ideas for now.