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The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes is a national award that celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from across the U.S. and Canada. Established in 2001 by author T. A. Barron, the Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people or the environment. Moreover, some of the most recent young heroes are working hard to reduce pollution, fight climate change, save endangered species and more, including:
age 17 of Illinois co-founded Students Against Ethylene Oxide, a nonprofit that engages youth in fighting to ban the carcinogenic gas EtO near schools and residential areas. Moreover, her student group helped prompt the closure of Sterigenics, a local medical instrument sterilization company. For over 30 years they spewed high levels of EtO into her community’s air.
age 18 of Florida founded Bring Butterflies Back to protect and repopulate South Florida butterflies through education, conservation, and research. In addition, he has collaborated with community partners to teach more than 3,500 students and individuals. As a result, he has impacted over 10,000 butterflies.
age 9 of Florida founded Kids Saving Oceans to fundraise for ocean, beach, and marine conservation and to educate kids about saving our oceans, one choice at a time. He has raised more than $18,000 by selling t-shirts, hats, and stickers made from recycled or sustainable materials.
age 16 of Kentucky founded Community AI (Artificial Intelligence) to support students in building AI-driven projects that help communities and the environment, unleashing the power of AI for good. Moreover, his nonprofit team is designing projects to conserve water, reduce school violence, and combat human trafficking. They’re also working diagnose Parkinson’s Disease, and track wildfires, among other initiatives.
age 17 of New Jersey works passionately to protect wetlands and drinking water sources using a novel bioassessment method she created. Through her Conservation Communities Initiative, she has protected more than 50 acres of wetlands in densely populated Central NJ.
age 15 of California created Skip the Plastic Straw to raise awareness of the harmful effects of single-use plastic straws and to discourage their use. Moreover, she has convinced five Orange County, California school districts to eliminate plastic straws in their cafeterias. That’s a total of 245 schools. The move keeps more than 15 million straws out of landfills and oceans.
age 11 of Ontario Canada and Tennessee created The Cleanup Kids to educate children about the environment and inspire them to help protect it. They are especially passionate about reducing plastic pollution in oceans. Moreover, they challenged children around the world to join them in picking up one million pieces of trash.
age 17 of Virginia founded Planting Shade, a nonprofit that works to increase the planting and growth of trees worldwide. He has organized students in planting 7,000 trees across Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, California, and Costa Rica. Alarmed by the impacts of Hurricane Florence on his hometown, he created his organization to help alleviate flooding.
age 16 of California founded Climate NOW, a youth-led organization that empowers young people to use their voices in speaking up for climate justice. Her group has educated more than 10,000 youth around the world and has given presentations at nearly 80 K-12 schools. Climate NOW’s team of 35 young volunteers teaches climate education basics. That includes ten simple actions students can take to help the planet.
“Nothing is more uplifting than learning about heroic people who have truly made a difference,” says T. A. Barron. “The goal of the Barron Prize is to shine the spotlight on these amazing young people so that their examples will encourage others to take action.”
For more info about the Gloria Barron award visit www.barronprize.org.
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