Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Doing the Dirty Work for a Clean Future

Name: Vanessa Tafolla
From: Carson , California
Grade: 10
School: Carson High School
Votes: 89

Doing the Dirty Work for a Clean Future

Everyone dreams of a healthy and sustainable future for all generations, but
how many people help in turning that dream into a reality? In the
case of environmental sustainability, the results of volunteer work
today will not show for some time to come. I chose to volunteer as an
event coordinator and active member of the student-run, Garbology
program at my school because I am passionate about volunteering today
for a better tomorrow.

Every week for 2 hours I help my school become a better,cleaner
environment for students to thrive,
the help of Garbology. During the hours of breakfast, lunch and
supper at school, the members of Garbology help in the sorting the
students’ unwanted items into the following bins: liquids, recycle,
trash and plant based. Before we would take the items from the
students and sort it for them, but as of recently the club has taken
a different approach. We noted that students we’re more likely to
do the sorting of their own items if they are aware of the reasons
behind doing so as well as how to do it properly. As students
approach our tables under the covered eating area, we debrief the
purpose of Garbology, “Help give back to the earth that has given
us more than what we deserve by reducing the amount of ‘trash’
going into the bins.” The greatest satisfaction for me personally,
is seeing students develop the healthy habit of sorting. This is a
habit that the students can take outside the schools gates and into
their own lives.

One of the challenges that our fellow peers do not feel obligated to sort
out their items. They ignore the members and dump tray fulls into the
trash bin. I am fully devoted to the proper sorting of our items that
I reach into the bins and do it for them. If they won’t, who will?
I’ve learned that there is alway a way to do more than just stand
around and wait for the world and its people to change.

As of November of 2017, Garbology has encountered one of the biggest
problems yet. The refusal from the custodial staff to empty our
recycling bins. This has put a temporary stop to the program. When
the Garbology program is back l, our group will have shown growth and
interest in our program for better results.

As the interest in the topic of garbology spreads, I hope that that
local and neighboring community gives more than just one type of
option as to where to put waste. There are recycling bins, but you do
not come across one as much as you do trash cans. We have just as
much to recycle as we have to throw away. Years from now I see trash
cans accompanied by a recycling bin and a place for plant based items
that can be utilized as nutrients for the benefits of some gardens.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".