Youth Driving Change

By Ameshia Cross

Recruiting people to do something isn’t easy, especially when those people aren’t even old enough to vote. Believe me; I tried it several times as a teen. I vividly remember supporting green technology and alternative fuel campaigns on my high school campus as well as making fliers to green my school. I even ran an SGA campaign that included a recycling drive and solar panel installation at a local youth center.

Throughout history youth movements have been known to change the pulse of nation and to drive people to participate in seeking change. Yet some say that youth today are not interested in their communities or knowledgeable of the issues. Teens from a small town in Texas are out to prove them wrong.
Students in Booker, Texas noticed the lack of concern towards the environment in their community and decided to do something about it. The Booker High School Environmental Science class devised a plan to increase awareness and community service in their hometown. The teens created fliers, recruited community leaders, and other students from across the city to create a recycling center. But they didn’t stop there.

After successfully completing the recycling center and leading campaigns across the city to make sure people knew what the center was for, why it was important, and how participation in recycling helps to sustain the environment for future generations, the Booker High teens petitioned for funding from their school district and neighbors to create a community garden on their high school campus. Students, teachers, and community members share in the maintenance of the garden and the vegetables that it provides.

Talk about taking initiative…these teens are on a roll and something tells me there is more to come.

About the author:  Ameshia Cross joined the EPA in December as a STEP intern in the Air and Radiation Division in Chicago. She has worked for numerous community organizations, holds seats on youth education boards, and is active in politics. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis on environmental policy and legislation