Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders
Emilie T., a senior at Rio Americano High School (Rio), takes the lead in launching a food scraps and recycling initiative at her school. Emilie’s journey began during her junior year at Rio when she reached out to BREATHE, with a vision of introducing the food scraps program to her school as soon as she returned for her senior year. As a dedicated member of CIVITAS, she is committed to creating a positive impact through community engagement. To delve deeper into Emilie’s inspiring journey, continue reading below.
At Rio Americano High School (Rio) my partner, Genevieve F. and I, have had the pleasure of working with Breathe California Sacramento Region (BREATHE) to implement a food scraps recycling program. Both Genevieve and I are seniors in CIVITAS, a community service and civic engagement academy at Rio. During our senior year, we are required to implement a senior project. Since both of us are incredibly passionate about environmental protection and helping our community, we decided that introducing a food scraps recycling program, such as the one BREATHE sponsors, would be the most beneficial choice and something that Rio desperately needs.
We kicked the program off in early August with staff training and a three-day tabling event. BREATHE provided an entertaining prize wheel that taught students where to place their waste, example bins, and fun prizes which kept students engaged. Through the tabling event we were able to educate around 200 students on how to properly sort their waste, as well as answer questions about the program. After that, we began to enlist various volunteers to help guide students when throwing away their waste. We used our connection to CIVITAS and various teachers to gather volunteers and go to various classrooms in order to spread the word. As our knowledge of the project has expanded, so has the scope of it. We set up bins in the staff rooms and received a request from the Independent Living Skills teacher to have a food scraps bin for her students in their classroom.
Attempting to capture the support of high schoolers is truly challenging, yet it is worth it for the impact this program has for our world. Genevieve and I have attempted a variety of methods in order to try to engage the student body. We have posted flyers around campus, spoken in classrooms, posted on social media, clearly labeled the bins, and spread the word. All of this helps to educate students on how to not only follow the program, but also become more environmentally conscious. Every time I see someone reading our signs or considering their waste before throwing it away, I am filled with appreciation for this program and the change we are making with it.