These individuals embody the Rustic spirit and are making a positive impact near and far. Check out their stories below.
Peyton | Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
William Cabaniss | East Tennessee
After witnessing overstressed food systems and an increased demand at food banks on the news, 14-year-old William Cabaniss founded Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow in 2020. Through his nonprofit, he makes vanilla and sells it with all profits donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. To date the organization has provided 511,215 meals to residents in need.
Nethra Srinivasan | United States
Founded by high school student Nethra Srinivasan in 2018, The NeuroKidz is a platform is dedicated to enriching the lives of underprivileged children by giving them exposure to neuroscience. Today the student-run team of over 70 volunteers has connected with over 1250 kids in 10 states and 6 countries.
Garvita Gulhati | Bengaluru, India
Garvita was 15 years old when she created the ‘Glass Half Full’ initiative to encourage restaurants to adopt sustainable water consumption practices. Now, over 10 million liters of water have been saved, and Why Waste? is India’s largest youth-led movement working towards water conservation. Learn how the team is reaching people across India with their book and app.
GoToTutors | Los Angeles, California
Sanskruti | Maharashtra, India
Sanskruti is a young changemaker in India who addressed water scarcity issues in her village. Along the way, she also focused on gender inclusion and involved girls and women in the project. Now Sanskruti is undertaking another project to change traditional mindsets related to great leaders and how future generations are taught.
Global Minds | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Global Minds is a for-youth, by-youth program that fosters diversity and inclusion within schools. The program began in Pittsburgh five years ago and has since grown to span across North America as a leading program of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. We connected with Suzie, a Global Minds fellow, to learn about the program and her chapter’s work.
RutuChakra | India
Shreya and Sahana Mantha | Charlotte, North Carolina
Foundation For Girls is a youth-founded non-profit organization that economically empowers marginalized women and supports their children. Sisters Shreya and Sahana Mantha founded the organization in 2014 and since have helped thousands of women become financially savvy, career confident, digitally capable, and socially connected.
Special Needs Initiative For Growth | Nigeria
Special Needs Initiative For Growth is a non-profit organization in Nigeria that is empowering children and young adults with disabilities and working to give them equal opportunities in education and the workforce. They primarily focus on providing STEM, robotics, therapy and care opportunities to people with disabilities. The team is also advocating to change policy in Nigeria to address disability discrimination.
The Tomorrow Project | Seattle, Washington
Isabel Povey | New Hampshire
Isabel’s Seeds of Hope is a youth-led non-profit organization that is working to fighting food insecurity by rebuilding the agricultural industry and empowering youth to make a difference. Isabel started on her change-making journey when she was just seven years old. Now the international non-profit has 250 youth volunteers and has provided over 35,000 meals to families in eight different countries.
Dylan D’Agate | Melville, New York
Dylan is a high school student, environmental advocate, and author of the children’s book, Monster in the Water: Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms. He also runs an environmental-focused blog and interview series where he discusses pressing issues with environmental experts. Dylan hopes to continue to raise awareness and encourage kids (and adults) to take action against climate change.
Eco Alarmist | Assam, India
InLight | Washington D.C.
Trinity Favazza | Detroit, Michigan
Trinity has been working to protect Michigan wetlands and raise awareness for amphibian conservation since she was nine years old. She has been the Mayor of Amphibiville for the Detroit Zoo since 2016. Through Action for Amphibians, Trinity provides educational tools to young people who want to contribute to amphibian conservation too.
Kyle and Emily Tianshi | San Diego, California
Siblings Kyle and Emily Tianshi founded Clearwater Innovation, a non-profit is a student-run environmental advocacy program. They use a home lab to conduct research, aiming to address issues related to the global water crisis and water pollution. Kyle and Emily encourage students to use their creativity to solve environmental problems and host events and educational programs to support them.
Avni Garg | New York, New York
High schooler Avni Garg has been encouraging the reuse and recycling of batteries across New York city since 2016. The Battery Project has saved over 1,500 pounds of batteries from going to landfills and has driven the reuse of about 30,000 batteries. Avni and her team aim to educate others about the negative effects batteries can have on the environment, and how to properly recycle them.
Kasha Sequoia Slavner | Toronto, Ontario, Canada
At 16 Kasha set out on a journey to collect impactful stories from changemakers around the world. She released an award-winning documentary highlighting individuals and grassroots organizations finding creative solutions to global issues. Kasha aims to educate young people, inspire them and equip them with the tools to take action in their own communities.
Ayaan Shankta | Powai, Mumbai, India
13-year-old Ayaan Shankta lives in Powai, Mumbai, India. After seeing the Powai Lake near his become filled with garbage and sewage, he launched the ‘save the lake.’ initiative to bring the lake back to its original pristine condition. Ayaan has done incredible work in the area and has been recognized by various stakeholders for his detailed studies.
Bye Bye Plastic Bags | Global, 50+ Countries
Bye Bye Plastic Bags is a global youth-powered movement to say NO to plastic bags. Sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen advocacy and petitioning for six years was crucial in Bali’s government decision to place a ban on all single-use plastics in 2018. Now Bye Bye Plastic Bags has a global presence with teams in over 50 countries advocating against single-use plastic.
Karson Baldwin | Cleveland, Ohio
When he was a sophomore in high school, Karson Baldwin founded Onè Respè, a buddy program that pairs teenagers at local Cleveland schools with students from the International Newcomers Academy. The program aims to cultivate honor and respect, support language acquisition and foster social connections between American-born teens and immigrant and refugee youth.
Luis Alberto May Cua | Hunucmá, Yucatan, Mexico
16-year-old Luis Alberto May Cua is the president and founder of Encuentro Ambiental Yucatán. The organization promotes the right to a healthy environment and works to encourage sustainability in Yucatán State. In addition to regular clean-ups, Encuentro Ambiental offers educational experiences that help students develop their own ways to raise awareness for the environment.
Arul Mathur | Danville, California
California high school student Arul Mathur invented a device that automatically puts out fires. “F.A.C.E.,” or the Fire Activated Canister Extinguisher is a heat-activated fire suppression device that can protect a home even when no one is there. Any profits Arul makes will be used to help donate F.A.C.E. devices to fire-prone areas which need them the most.
Cherry Sung | Seoul, South Korea
14-year-old Cherry Sung founded Greener is Cleaner in 2019 to show youth they can get involved in the fight for climate justice and make a difference. Based in Seoul, South Korea, the youth-led organization focuses on where they can make positive environmental change through the economic market, public policies, and citizen action.
Rylee Brooke Kamahele | Mililani, Hawaii
In 2016, Rylee Brooke Kamahele was eight years old when she found it was hard for kids to find volunteer opportunities. In response, she founded her first organization to help other kids turn their passions into action. Now the high school freshman is continuing to make an impact through many different projects and by inspiring youth in Hawaii and helping them become changemakers themselves.
Celtic Reptile & Amphibian | Staffordshire, England
Jacqueline Means | Wilmington, Delaware
At 12 years old Jacqueline Means founded the Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing STEM to underprivileged girls. The now 18-year-old hosts multiple Girls Empowerment STEM Events throughout the year where she is on a mission to show young girls that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be.
Gaurav Tyagi | Palo Alto, California
Ivanna Ortega Serret | Atizapán De Zaragoza, Mexico
When 12-year-old Ivanna Ortega Serret saw invasive lilies taking over and the wildlife dying in Madín Dam she took action. Ivanna created a petition on and gathered the required signatures in just two weeks. She successfully organized a clean up of the dam and now she’s working to stop the sewage discharges into the dam.
Yusuf Munna | Dhaka, Bangladesh
Lana Nguyen and Susanna Lau | Bay Area, California
Green Garden Bakery | Heritage Park, Minneapolis
Nihar Duvvuri | San Francisco, California
Hope Hearted | San Jose, California
Sofia Molina | San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Sofia Molina was seven years old when she decided she wanted to work to build a better world and create an environmental platform for youth. She is the founder, CEO and President of the Board of Directors of Cococu. Sofia works to give children a voice, demanding that we improve our environment and quality of life not only today, but for future generations. Through Cococu, she has organized many projects that focus on Sustainable Development and environmental conservation.