Save The Earth Projects (S.T.E.P.) Youth Founder Honored by The Children's Museum Indianapolis
Social and environmental responsibility teen leader recognized as a national award recipient for the 14th Annual Power of Children Awards
This year she has been selected from numerous applicants for the 14th Annual Power of Children's Award for the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
The Children's Museum recognizes youth that make significant contributions and create important projects to benefit others. The Power of Children Awards (POCA) were created in 2005 to align with the mission of The Children's Museum. The awards were inspired by the museum's influential permanent exhibit, The Power of Children: Making a Difference, which features three extraordinary children who touched the world in unique ways: Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges, and Ryan White.
Olivia's cornerstone project, "Leave a GOOD Footprint", is a gently-used shoe collection and fundraiser. She has collected nearly 40,000 pair of shoes. Local charities earn $.50 for each pound of shoes collected, the impact of less shoes in landfills is significant, and people around the world that need shoes get them. 300 million pair of shoes wind up in landfills annually in the USA, 300 million people around the world do not have adequate footwear, and 100,000 kids die annually from parasitic diseases that enter cuts in feet that could be prevented with a pair of shoes.
In 2013, Olivia was the first child to ever be awarded the Johana Knox Award for Community Service Excellence, and followed that by being recognized as the local and state regional recipient of the Kohl's Cares Scholarship.
Based on her volunteerism, the Corporation for National and Community Service recognized Olivia for her commitment to strengthen our nation and communities through volunteer service. in 2014 President Obama sent a letter to Olivia congratulating her on receiving the President's Volunteer Service Award, stating, "While government can open more opportunities for us to serve our communities, it is up to each of us to seize those opportunities."
Olivia shares this new award with 4-5 other young people around the USA who also submitted exceptional projects. She states, "My mission is simple. If everyone does small things to make our world better, together they make a BIG difference. We can all do that. One S.T.E.P. at a time! My hope is that more kids and adults will S.T.E.P. up and just do something!"
Olivia may not sound like a typical high-schooler, but when she is not out volunteering, or speaking to groups, she enjoys acting in community theater, playing in the orchestra, and most importantly spending time with her family. You can follow her at http://www.facebook.com/
Denise R. Russo