Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2018 – Learning From the Sand

Name: Janee Jenkins
From: Miami Gardens, Florida
Grade: 11
School: Design and Architecture Senior High
Votes: 0

Most of my community service activities have been events to help
clean up trash and pollution near bodies of water. I was recently
invited to an extracurricular activity by a friend. It was the
Environmental Art Festival in Hollywood Beach, Florida on Saturday,
April 21, 2018. During the 10AM – 12PM, I participated in the beach
cleanup where kids from around area, can come and help pick up trash.
Then from 12PM – 5PM, there was an event that consisted of art
inspired by nature, live musical performances, feedings of a sea
turtle, and environmentally friendly vendors and artists. This
festival advocated for social change towards the environment and the

Prior to attending the event, I was very aware of the damage humans
do to earth and how it has impacted climates around the globe,
wildlife, and our own living conditions. Before the day of event, I
didn’t think it would be much. My friend informed me that the event
was fairly new, so the guest turnout wouldn’t be extremely high.
However, despite our expectations, a large amount of people showed up
to help with the beach cleanup and to attend the later event. After
experiencing that festival and seeing the enthusiasm of the
volunteers, I became an advocate for social change toward the

I’ve always believed that the earth is a very beautiful planet and
deserves to be treated with respect and honor. But never did I try to
educate myself or others about their habits that could cause more
damage to the earth. The tendencies that myself and others reinforce,
such as littering, not recycling, using plastic bottles, straws, and
bags, all have a negative impact on our environment, especially our
oceans. I do believe people are aware that many things they do in
daily life are harming other living animals and the atmosphere, but
they are lazy or unconcerned with the matter because it has no
immediate effect on them. But, the many things they do will end up
hurting them in the long run. After going to the Environmental Art
Festival, I realized I couldn’t just say words without putting any
action behind them.

Since attending that event, I have made many efforts to become
eco-friendly and live a greener lifestyle. My family now uses
reusable water bottles, and grocery bags. We also abstain using
plastic or Styrofoam, but if we do, we put all recyclable items in
the recycling bin. My family also makes efforts to drive less and
walk more, use less water when in the bathroom, and use vegan
products. My mother has since, switched to a diet free of pork and
beef, which helps reduce the usage of water and pollution within the
meat and poultry industry.

Since the festival, I have reached out to this friend on several
occasions to volunteer at beach cleanup events and will become an
active member of my high school’s environmental club. We only have
one earth, and we as a collective, need to ensure she will be here
for generations to come. I believe that if we were to educate others
on how easy it to live a greener lifestyle and how beneficial it
would be to the earth, there would be a much greater activism within
the world.

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