Local environmental awareness club awarded $10,000 grant, uses money to finance green projects
By Priya Patel
Freshman Lauren Gibson is saving the world, quite literally. Gibson is the founder of local environmental awareness group, Carmel Area Roots and Shoots (CAR&S).
Roots and Shoots is a global organization originally founded by Dr. Jane Goodall in 1991. Since then, the organization has fostered the creation of local groups in countries all over the world. According to the Roots and Shoots Web site, www.rootsandshoots.org, their mission is “to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.”
Naturally, hearing of such an opportunity, Gibson decided to create the Carmel Area Roots and Shoots organization and submitted a grant proposal to the Green Works Green Heroes Grant Program, which is run by the eco-friendly cleaner company Green Works. This program offers teenagers around the country the opportunity to win up to $10,000 if they could come up with the most unique ideas to help their communities become more environmentally friendly.
Last year, CAR&S was awarded one of the $10,000 grants by the Green Works Green Heroes grant program. CAR&S submitted the idea of giving their money to 22 youth-driven, action-based environmental projects, according to Gibson.
“(To qualify for the money), we ask the groups to fill out an application that includes their plan of action, and then us four girls and a supervising group of adults will look over and decide on which idea would serve our purpose best,” Gibson said.
Groups that win the money from CAR&S will receive anywhere from $250 to $1000. In November of last year, at the Fall Grant Award Ceremony, the members of CAR&S awarded $2,950 of their $10,000 to five local youth groups that submitted local, eco-friendly volunteer projects; one of these groups was one of the Cub Scouts troops.
“What makes the program so unique and unusual, is that they worked really hard to win, but they are giving away the money to help other youth build initiatives to help the environment,” Gibson’s mother Margot Gibson said.
Though the group is entirely youth-formulated and driven, Gibson does receive some guidance from her mother and three other adults on the committee.
“Lauren and the other girls realized that being teenagers responsible for giving away $10,000 was a big initiative and so they came to me as one of their adult supervisors. The other women are able to use their expertise in certain areas to help advise the girls on things they are trying to accomplish. It is a really nice balance of adults and teens that care about the environment,” Mrs. Gibson said.
Though this is only the beginning, Gibson said she intends to continue making Carmel more eco-friendly throughout high school.
Gibson said, “I would love to continue with the Carmel Green Teen program, but we only have $10,000. However, I will continue doing my best to help encourage other teens to make the community a greener place throughout high school and possibly my career.”