Project: Greening Forward
Hometown: Dacula, Georgia
Through Greening Forward, youth-led Earth Savers Clubs in seven states have saved enough energy to power 5.22 homes for one year, take nearly 3 cars off of the roads, and conserve 86,000 gallons of water.
Special training or skills needed:
I was ambitious and driven.
How to overcome age discrimination:
When I started Greening Forward in elementary school many adults were not receptive to such a young leader. Although I had a supportive school and family, some adults in the community were reluctant to take my ideas seriously. I recall once sending an email to a local newspaper saying I was 12 and the staff writer responded and said, "12-year veteran in environmental advocacy?" These letdowns led to a point where I hesitated giving my age out over the phone or in email. Honestly, growing older helped overcome this the best, but I did not let this small obstacle become too big of an issue.
Tip: "You don't have to wait to make your mark." -President Barack Obama
Helpful companies or agencies:
Through a virtual mentorship, Earth Force taught me most of what I know today about development, non-profit leadership, and partnership building.
Tip: Earth Force = non-profit education
How to reach out to other orgs:
Taking the initiative to research like-minded organizations in my area helped me find Earth Force.
Earth911 is helpful in finding local recycling sites near you. It is amazing how easy this website makes recycling.
I needed a computer with Internet access, printer, copier, phone, and lots of paper and pencils.
I guest blogged on The White House's "For the Win".
How to jump on the movement:
Greening Forward is now showing other students how they can create their own youth-led environmental campaigns in their school or community. We have a neat civic action guide, how-to guides on social activism (i.e. working with the media, contacting government officials), mini-grants, and a network where other youth can share ideas. For more information about the network, please visit www.theearthsaversclub.org. Any 2nd grade-college age youth group (i.e. school club, youth ministry, ect.) can join the network.