“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
You may remember a few years back I interviewed the founders of Grades of Green, a nonprofit that was founded in 2008, by a few passionate mothers, who wanted to educate and inform children about their choices and the impact on their environment. After receiving an award from the EPA, the founders created a non-profit so that other schools would have free and easy access to the tools and information needed to empower and inspire students to care for the environment.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with this incredible organization and chat with Emily Stewart, Program Coordinator for Grades of Green.
Charity Matters: What was the moment you knew you needed to act and participate in a non-profit?
I was raised with environmental values and completed a degree in environmental policy, so I always knew that I would be involved in the nonprofit world. When I found out about the work that Grades of Green was doing across the globe to inspire children to start their own grassroots sustainability movements, I knew that I needed to be part of it.
Charity Matters: What fuels you to keep doing this work?
Grades of Green: Climate change poses very real threats to the future of our planet. I believe that if enough students become involved in the environmental movement, they can tip the scale and create a safer and more sustainable world.
Charity Matters: When do you know you have made a difference?
Grades of Green: When students that you have mentored take the initiative to innovate their own solutions to environmental issues in their community, you know that you have made a lasting difference by encouraging the next generation to become environmental advocates. For example, a Grades of Green Youth Corps student named Antonio’s work to champion cleaner air through No Idle Zones inspired the passing of ACR 160, a statewide resolution in California.
Charity Matters: Tell us what success you have had? What has your impact been? Number of people impacted, funds raised…..any and all
Grades of Green is a very exciting and rewarding place to work because its impact in terms of benefits to the environment is measurable, and yet the environmental values and leadership skills that children gain from participating last a lifetime. 568 schools across 43 states and 17 countries are involved in our green programs, and the number of schools and students involved grows every week! Their actions to protect the environment translates to thousands of tons of waste diverted from landfills, gallons of water saved, tons of CO2 emissions reduced, and toxins removed from the environment.
Four moms set out to educate their children and others on how to care for our world and one another. Almost ten years later their message has spread across the country and the globe. To circle back week with John Muir’s words,“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”