It never ceases to amaze me every time I hear students speak about their community and environmental involvement, how incredible these kids are, and what a difference they have made in their communities. I want to share with you about one student’s amazing commitment to her community and the environment.
I first met Grace, a 14 year old high school student, when she spoke at our regional Earth Day celebration on April 22. Grace has been involved for several years with FrontRange Earth Force, a local community service organization and she recently represented the United States and her community in Brazil at an environmental conference for kids age 12-15!
FrontRange Earth Force, in Denver, works with teachers in local schools and advisors in community organizations to bring hands-on, youth-driven learning to their students. They help these committed educators and advisors combine service to the community with classroom learning (“service-learning”) to better illustrate important academic, social and personal lessons to young people. Through FrontRange Earth Force, young people get hands-on, real-world opportunities to practice civic skills, acquire and understand environmental knowledge, and develop the skills and motivation to become life-long leaders in addressing environmental issues.
A couple of weeks ago, Grace traveled to Brasilia, Brazil to participate in the Children and Youth International Conference – Let’s Take Care of the Planet. The conference was sponsored by Brazil’s Ministry of Education so kids from all over the world could focus on global socio-environmental problems and climate change.
If anyone ever wants to see how successful community service programs are, all they have to do is meet a young woman like Grace whose experiences have benefitted her, her local community, her country and the world.
About the author: Wendy Dew has been with EPA for 13 years and is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8.