The Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council provides highly motivated and dedicated young leaders throughout the United States with the training, resources and opportunities to develop into community leaders who create positive change in their own backyards and around the world.
Council members participate in unique professional development and skill-building seminars, as well as campaign planning sessions, designed to empower them to action and connect with community leaders and influential change-makers working in relevant fields.
Meet the 2013 Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council!
Aidan is the leader of the Colorado-based Roots & Shoots "Wild Things" group he co-founded with his mother when he was eight years old. He has been active with the Students Leaders Against Malaria, a group dedicated to the eradication of malaria. This summer, he travelled to Botswana as a student group leader and teamed with high school students in that country to teach malaria prevention programs. Aidan volunteers at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. He enjoys team sports and plays on his high school tennis and baseball teams.
Allison has been trying to save the orangutans by spreading the word about palm oil and fundraising since the second grade. Two years ago, she started two nonprofit organizations: Purses For Primates and Antiques for Apes. These efforts have raised over $6,400 for orangutans through orangutan outreach. New to the Council in 2013, Allison is extremely excited to begin working with the Council.
Alexandra currently works as a counselor at Orenda Springs. Orenda Springs provides outdoor experiences that foster a deeper understanding of self, others and nature. She has worked and volunteered at Orenda for over four years, and has received rope course certification. She is also an active participant at her local homeless center, the Samaritan Center. Alexandra is the communications leader of the Peace Through Language club at Marcellus High School, which she currently attends as a junior. She is very thrilled to be a part of the Roots & Shoots Council.
Angelina is a member of the Roots & Shoots group Team Marine in Santa Monica, Calif. Team Marine was awarded first place in the environmental science competition, QuikSCience Challenge. The group teaches lessons about ocean acidification and climate change at middle schools and organizes beach clean ups. Team Marine has also spoken in front of the City Council in favor of a plastic bag ban. In addition, the group has spoken to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board of Education in support of adopting a sustainability committee responsible for developing and implementing district-wide environmental policies at SMMUSD schools. Angelina is also a Roots & Shoots youth blogger.
Barbara is the President of the Medford High Roots & Shoots group in Medford, Mass. She strives to make positive change in her community and in the world. She helped create the Water CORPS campaign for her school, which tries to bring awareness about plastic recycling and promotion of reusable water bottle usage. She is looking forward to pursuing an undergraduate degree and continuing on with her environmentally friendly ways.
Chelsea currently attends high school in Albuquerque, N.M. Her favorite project with Roots & Shoots was starting a “Green Team” at her high school to jump-start a recycling initiative and to inspire students to live a green life! She was invited to speak at a national conference about global warming and the ways youth can make a positive impact on the environment. She loves being part of the Council because of the wonderful and inspiring students and staff she gets to work with. She hopes to continue her work with Roots & Shoots abroad as she travels to China next semester!
Chloe is the co-founder and co-president of Greenwich High School's Roots & Shoots, along with her good friend Raquel, another member of the Council. Chloe's favorite Roots & Shoots project is the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive that provides over 100 local families with the supplies to make a Thanksgiving dinner. She also enjoys volunteering at "Run For the Wild" at the Bronx Zoo and at the Coney Island Aquarium. Greenwich High School's Roots & Shoots has a long history of working with Invisible Children, and will continue to try to bring peace to Uganda. Chloe enjoys debating and performing in her school's comedy and improv troupe. She works at a local vegan juice bar and encourages her family and friends to eat a sustainable and healthy diet.
Dana currently serves as a member of a political youth activism group that works to register voters and educate young people about politics. She leads a Great Peace Makers Roots & Shoots group for elementary-aged girls, in which they complete projects inspired by peace-makers throughout time. Dana has spent her summers being a part of the Children’s Ranch community and Roots & Shoots group, where children with disabilities take horseback riding lessons. Dana is a featured youth blogger for the Roots & Shoots website, and is the NYLC's US representative to Roots & Shoots Youth Leadership Council in Canada.
Denali has been working with the Roger Williams Park Zoo Roots & Shoots in Rhode Island since she was eight years old. Denali loves being involved with Roots & Shoots because she feels that she is making a difference in the world. Her favorite project was a pet food and toy drive for the North Kingstown no-kill animal shelter.
Eliza lives in Cambridge, Mass. and has served on the Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council for one year. Eliza has been a Roots & Shoots member for six years. Her Roots & Shoots group, the Sprouts of Hope, has written and published a book about energy and started a composting program in their school district. They recently appeared on the NPR show, On Point Live with Bill McKibben presenting a quilt they made about sustainability. Eliza has spoken at the Cambridge School Committee and City Council, the Massachusetts Environmental Educators Society Conference, multiple panels at regional Roots & Shoots summits, and with Dr. Jane at the Gombe 50 celebrations in Boston. Eliza is also a featured youth blogger for Roots & Shoots.
Genevieve is one of five principal members of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter Youth Board in Santa Fe, NM. Genevieve, along with the Youth Board, have embarked on many wonderful projects to raise awareness about the local animal shelter. The Youth Board has made presentations to middle schools about tethering dogs and has put on many bake sales to raise money for the shelter. In addition, the team walks shelter dogs and gives much needed company to cats. Recently, the Youth Board started a campaign to stop the Alamagordo chimpanzees from being used at an animal testing facility and hopes that the campaign has helped save the lives of these animals.
Hasib is a high school student in Suwanee, GA. He is an advocate for youth involvement and believes that all young people have a voice to be heard. He is the Program Director of Greening Forward, an environmental nonprofit organization that focuses on empowering young people to positively impact the environment. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and public speaking, and he has spoken at several conferences.
Jacob is the second oldest of five siblings in an eclectic home-educated family. He has been a member of the Resources for Health Roots & Shoots group since he was five years old. In addition to his work with Roots & Shoots, Jacob volunteers at the Hillsboro Public Library, Portland Community Media and the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District. Jacob loves the outdoors and is always looking to incorporate it with his other interests: art, film, strategy games, puzzles, math, comics, superheroes, storytelling, the Dungeons & Dragons RPG and all elements of fantasy. He travels by bicycle, mass transit and/or foot since his family went car-free almost two years ago!
Jessandra has called Granada Hills, Calif. home her entire life. She spends time working and volunteering at two local animal shelters, one of which is housed at Camp P.A.W.S. At the camp, Jessandra helps kids train shelter dogs so they are more adoptable. Jessandra plays the cello and loves all kinds of art including music, dance, photography, painting and film. She loves animals, is very concerned about the condition of the environment and loves learning about human behavior and the human mind.
Jesus is from Santa Barbara, Calif. and is currently a junior in high school. Jesus is a member of the Don's Net Cafe Roots & Shoots group and has worked for three years with VITA, a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site, which offers free tax preparation for low income families. Jesus started as a volunteer with VITA in his first year, last year was in charge of the program, and this year serves as the Individual Tax Identification Number specialist and Chief Operations Officer. He is also very proud of his work with the Do Ubuntu Orphan Bracelet Campaign, which sells bracelets made by women entrepreneurs to help an orphanage in South Africa.
Laurel started working with Roots & Shoots in the third grade. Originally from San Diego, Calif. she is now attending college in Pennsylvania. Having led a Roots & Shoots group for four years, Laurel is comfortable speaking to any audience and has given many workshops, mostly related to the mission and values of Roots & Shoots. Her favorite project was completed two years ago when her Roots & Shoots group successfully switched their school from styrofoam to biodegradable lunch trays.
Lauren joined Roots & Shoots in 2008. She founded Carmel Area Roots & Shoots in her city of Carmel, Ind., and the group has completed dozens of projects ranging from raising money for schools in the Middle East to creek clean-ups. Lauren led the team in the creation of the Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program, a program that awards funding to youth-led environmental projects. This program has gained local, national, and international recognition and helped Lauren receive the Jane Goodall Global Leadership Award for Roots & Shoots Youth Leadership in 2011. In 2012, Lauren had the opportunity to represent her group at the White House as one of the winners of the White House Council on Environmental Quality's Youth Sustainability Challenge.
Mackenzie began her work with Roots & Shoots in sixth grade. She continues to dedicate her time to the Roots & Shoots program as a high school junior. Her experiences as a member and mentor to the local Roots & Shoots group in her home community and at nationwide conferences have driven her to want to play a more active role at a national and international level to involve and educate youth about the importance of protecting the environment. As part of the Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council, Mackenzie looks to expand her local perspective and goals by teaming with fellow environmental youth leaders. Her other passions include working as a puppy-raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and a junior coach with Girls on the Run.
Madalyn (Maddie) is a sophomore in high school in Santa Barbara, Calif. Maddie is a member of the Don's Net Cafe Roots & Shoots group and has always been committed to making the world a better place for people and animals. She has volunteered at D.A.W.G., a local organization that helps sheltered dogs get adopted to the right homes. She has also volunteered at Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, a non-profit that provides financial and emotional support for families that have children suffering with cancer on the Central Coast. Maddie looks forward to joining the council this year to continue making the world a better place.
Madison is a founding member of the Project ORANGS Roots & Shoots group in Plymouth, Mich. Project ORANGS' mission is to promote the need for rainforest-safe Girl Scout Cookies and deforestation-free sources of palm oil. She is passionate about showing consumers that their everyday purchases have global impacts. Madison enjoys sharing her tools for advocacy success with other young people in her presentation "Change Starts With A Passion." Recently, the United Nations honored Madison as a "North American Forest Hero."
Maya is a founding member of the Sprouts of Hope Roots & Shoots group in Cambridge, Mass. The Sprouts have completed numerous projects concerning the environment. Among other things, they have written and published a book about energy, started a composting program in their school district, and volunteered with a younger Roots & Shoots group in the community. Maya spoke in Boston during the Gombe 50 anniversary, appeared on WBUR On Point Live and on the Boston Public Radio Callie Crossley show.
Molly is currently a junior in high school in Lebanon, Maine. She has been working with the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) since her freshman year and acts as the ACE Ambassador for her school. As ACE Ambassador she organizes environmental projects, speaks and volunteers at youth leadership trainings and blogs. She is especially proud of her work on ACE's Biggest Loser Competition. After doing an energy audit of several classrooms in her school, she helped several teachers save $500 for the school over the course of a month. Molly is looking forward to doing projects to benefit animals.
Prashanth is a 15-year-old sustainability activist. He is the CEO and Founder of Unheard Voices, an organization that empowers youth to fight for a sustainable future. Prashanth's specific passions and area of work are plastic dependency, pollution and peace/conflict Resolution. He is a graduate of Seeds of Peace, where he began his work in peace building and was the leader of the Bottle Boat Initiative, a project that educated hundreds of kids about plastic pollution in Michigan. Prashanth enjoys soccer, writing and lateral thinking.
Raquel is a co-founder of Greenwich High School's Roots & Shoots club in Greenwich, Conn. Greenwich Roots & Shoots has completed several high-impact service projects including the building of a well and school in Mali. The group also works on various projects ranging from making friendship bracelets for students in Haiti to creating text books for students in Mali. Raquel has also been actively involved with the organization, Invisible Children and raising awareness about wars in Uganda, South Sudan, and the D.R.C. which have involved child soldiers. Raquel was also a presenter at the 2012 Global Citizenship Action Project Conference in New York City.
Rhiannon is a co-founder of the Roots & Shoots group Project ORANGS, based out of Ann Arbor, Mich. Project ORANGS has completed a variety of projects that focus on raising awareness about the destructive impacts of the palm oil industry and convincing companies to use sustainable palm oil. One major accomplishment has been convincing Girl Scouts USA to adopt a new palm oil policy - a step in the right direction toward rainforest-safe Girl Scout cookies. Rhiannon has been featured in national media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, NPR, the CBS Early Show, ABC News and Fox News. She has also spoken at events across the country including PowerShift 2011, Bioneers and the Passion Into Action conference.
Roman has been an active member of his local Rio Grande Roots & Shoots group since 2006. One of his favorite activities is coordinating an annual tree planting project with the City of Albuquerque. He is also a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, and gives community presentations about rescued and endangered wildlife for a wildlife education nonprofit. One of Roman's goals is to see a live polar bear in the wild. He is looking forward to his first year as a member of the NYLC.
As a member of the Roots & Shoots Canada Youth Leadership Council, Sandra is the Canadian representative to Roots & Shoots USA. She is a first year student in Environmental Engineering at the University of Guelph. She is from Neebing, ON, Canada, and studied through the IB Diploma Program in high school. For the past few years, Sandra has been working on designing a system that cleans sewage into potable water, grows food, and creates energy. Currently, she helps mentor younger students on their science fair projects and does presentations in schools around her community to promote science.
Sarah lives in Van Nuys, Calif. Her favorite community service projects are those that concern park cleanup and restoration, such as those hosted by partner organizations like Heal the Bay and Tree People. Sarah is an advocate of tree plantings and tree care sessions, because caring for a tree, to her, is caring for all of the life around it. From a very young age, Sarah has been a performance artist which allows her to express information and emotion in ways other than words. This has increased her ability to speak comfortably in front of an audience.