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Rustic Spirit Around the World

Rustic Spirit Around the World

These individuals embody the Rustic spirit and are making a positive impact near and far. Check out their stories below.

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

Founded by three high school students, GoToTutors is a free online peer-tutoring service that serves students K-12. Now with over 100 volunteers who have provided over 1,500 hours of tutoring, the youth-run nonprofit is making needed education resources accessible to any student.

 

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

Founded in 2018, RutuChakra is a youth-run organization working to achieve menstrual equity and dignity through action, awareness and advocacy. Today RutuChakra has over 200 volunteers, distributed over 200,000 menstrual products and conducted over 50 educational workshops.

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

The Tomorrow Project is on a mission to make environmental education more accessible in the United States. With six national teams and over 120 youth volunteers, the teen-led organization develops, designs, and distributes environmental curricula to parents and educators.

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

Eco Alarmist is a youth-led non-profit focused on sustainability. The organization helps individuals and businesses adopt sustainable practices they can incorporate into their everyday lives, promotes awareness of the climate crisis and has also taken on COVID relief efforts.

InLight | Washington D.C.

InLight is DC area’s largest student diversity magazine. The student-run platform is dedicated to exploring cultures, lifting voices and connecting students. InLight has partnerships with over 35 schools, and shares student voices across the United States.

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

Harvey Tweats and Tom Whitehurst are European herpetological specialists and co-founders of Celtic Reptile & Amphibian. They are on a mission to breed endangered European reptiles and amphibians to reintroduce them to the wild.

 

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

Gaurav is a senior at Palo Alto high school and the founder and CEO of Reading Good. Reading Good is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to improve literacy and promote a love for reading in underprivileged elementary school students.

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

Student and CEO Yusuf Munna founded Reflective Teens 2013, a non-profit that serves as an environment for fostering, expressing and exposing the creative abilities of teenagers.

 

Lana Nguyen and Susanna Lau | Bay Area, California

High school students Lana and Susanna founded SupplyHopeInfo, a teen-run project based in the Bay Area aimed at helping low-income students overcome challenges that come with distance learning.

 

Green Garden Bakery | Heritage Park, Minneapolis

What started as a fundraiser turned into a successful business. Green Garden Bakery is a youth-run operation that uses locally grown produce to bake veggie-based desserts. A portion of profits are donated to community charities selected by the youth leaders.

Nihar Duvvuri | San Francisco, California

High school student Nihar Duvvuri founded The Project SD with a goal to introduce Speech & Debate programs in 50 low-income neighborhoods by 2030.

 

Hope Hearted | San Jose, California


Asavari, Quynh, Chloe, and Heather founded and are successfully running a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Hope Hearted works with shelters, food banks, and free clinics to distribute sanitary and basic medical supplies to unhoused and low-income individuals in the Bay Area, 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.