Member Bios - National Youth Leadership Council - Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots

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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. Applications for the 2015 NYLC will open in October.


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Meet the 2014 Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council!

Aidan M.

Aidan is the leader of the Colorado-based Roots & Shoots group, "Wild Things," which 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. Last summer, he travelled to Botswana as a 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 B.

Allison of Chico, CA has been trying to save the orangutans by spreading the word about palm oil and fundraising since the second grade. Three 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. This is Allie's second year on the Council.

Amanda K.

Amanda has run a charity stand called the "Chimpaide Cafe" in Cherry Hill, NJ since she was eight years old. Throughout the years of running her stand at swim meets, school events, and Earth Day festivals she has raised about $15,000. Amanda is a sophomore at Cherry Hill East High School and attends the photography and Indian Cultural clubs. She hopes to one day join the Peace Corps after going to college for Global Studies and International Relations. She is excited to be joining the Council this year.

Alexandra S.

Alexandra currently works as a counselor at the non-profit, Orenda Springs in upstate NY. 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 president of the Peace Through Language club at Marcellus High School, which she currently attends as a senior. She has also been interning with her non-profit group, Quench and Nourish for two years as a blogger/journalist, and is involved in their sustainability projects with Clean Air Island. She is very excited to be a part of the Roots & Shoots Council for her second year.

Angelina H.

Angelina is excited for her third year on the NYLC. She is the president of the Roots & Shoots group Team Marine in Santa Monica, CA. Team Marine was awarded first place in the environmental science competition, QuikScience Challenge. The group has conducted research on the effects of the plastic bag ban in Santa Monica and was awarded first place at the LA County Science Fair as well as fourth place at the California State Science Fair for the study. Currently, Team Marine is close to completing the car conversion of a VW Beetle from gas to electric. The finished car will be showcased at the AltCar Expo and at National Plug-In Day. Angelina is also a Roots & Shoots youth blogger.

Anthony V.

Anthony is a high school junior at the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS) in New York City. Anthony is a part of the Boy Scouts of America - Law Enforcement Exploring. He currently swims with the Riverbank RedTails Swimming Team. He has started a petition against school violence that will then be taken to local and state legislatures to urge them to implement Big Brother Big Sister Program. Anthony joins the Council for his first term in 2014.

Artemis E.

Artemis is the founder of Chelsea Roots & Shoots in Chelsea, MI. She loves teaching children and adults about nature and has taught classes on nature-sketching, birding, and survival skills. This fall she presented talks on nature-related subjects at the Michigan Alliance of Environmental and Outdoor Education Conference in Detroit and at the North American Association for Environmental Education in Baltimore. The Cincinnati Nature Center regularly shows her video on nature sketching to inspire students to draw plants and birds. Her drawings have been used for posters and book illustrations. This is Artemis' first year on the Council.

Chloe M.

Chloe is the co-founder and co-president of Greenwich High School's Roots & Shoots. Chloe's favorite 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, running cross country, yoga, and performing in her school's comedy and improv troupe. She works at a local vegan health food store and encourages her family and friends to eat a sustainable and healthy diet. She is looking forward to her third year on the NYLC.

Clare B.

Clare Brinkman has worked with Roots & Shoots since 2008. With her Roots & Shoots group, she has raised thousands of dollars for Haiti, tsunami relief in Japan, orangutan outreach, and many other small organizations around her community, including the local wheelchair rugby team. She has also written a successful grant application, allowing her to initiate a comprehensive composting program at her middle school. Her main goal is to help the environment and community for future generations. This is Clare's first year on the Council.

Dana P.

Dana, currently freshman at Carleton College, is excited to bring Roots & Shoots to her new school. She is interested in elementary humane education and food justice and sustainability. Dana has worked on campaigns for youth political activism and 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 volunteering at the Children’s Ranch, where children with disabilities take horseback riding lessons. Dana is a blogger for the Roots & Shoots website, and has been a member of the NYLC for four years.

Eliza K.

Eliza lives in Cambridge, MA and has served on the Roots & Shoots NYLC for 2 1/2 years. 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 at an NPR event with Bill McKibben presenting a quilt they made to celebrate sustainability. Eliza has spoken at the United Nations, 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.

Elizabeth A.

Elizabeth (Eli) is a freshman in high school in Santa Barbara, CA. She is a member of The Dons Net CafĂ© Roots & Shoots group, whose main main goal is to “Do Some Good in the World.” Eli spends her time volunteering for events such as The Day of Caring, Alzheimer's Walk, MLK day, beach/street cleanups. She is also part of "The Good News," an organized group of youth impacting the community through positive media. Eli believes that youth should be more interested in making the world a better place not just for themselves but for other people and animals. Eli looks forward to her first year on the Council.

Genevieve C.

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 organized 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 group has started moving into her high school, mainly focusing on bringing teens into the shelter. She enjoys volunteering at the shelter every weekend, hiking, and singing.

Hasib M.

Hasib is a junior at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, GA. He is the Program Director of Greening Forward, an environmental nonprofit organization that focuses on empowering young people to positively impact the environment. He serves on the Keep America Beautiful National Youth Advisory Council and has spoken at several conferences, including the United Nations, about global youth engagement and environmentalism. In his spare time, he likes to read and hang out with friends.

Jacob V.

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 variety of other interests. He travels by bicycle, mass transit and/or foot since his family went car-free three years ago!

Jesus T.

Jesus is from Santa Barbara, CA. and is currently a senior in high school. Jesus is a member of the Don's Net Cafe Roots & Shoots group and has worked for four 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, then was in charge of the program, and this year serves as the Individual Tax Identification Number specialist and Chief Executive 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.

Johanna H.

Since 2007, Johanna Hampton, founding member of "Forest School 101," a youth education group for Orangutan Outreach, has followed her passion for protecting wild orangutans and educating the public about the dangers of palm oil. As a youth leader for her Roots & Shoots group, Trillium Roots & Shoots, Johanna has raised thousands of dollars for orangutans, local social service organizations, animal shelters and global disaster relief for places such as Haiti and Japan. In 2010, Johanna wrote her first successful grant proposal and was able to design and implement a comprehensive compost and recycling program at her school. This is Johanna first year on the Council.

Laura F.

Laura is passionate about working on the issues of human trafficking; corruption in the food industry; ecological damage; inhumane treatment of animals; poverty; and human rights. Through a grant from the ANNpower program, Laura will be holding a human trafficking awareness seminar with well-established leaders in the field. She is also interested in convincing companies to switch to fair trade sources for their products. Laura is very excited to join the Council this year.

Laurel W.

Laurel started working with Roots & Shoots in the third grade. Originally from San Diego, CA., 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, most of them related to the mission and values of Roots & Shoots. Currently, Laurel is working with her college to collect data regarding energy-use on campus from the past decade to find ways of lowering campus-wide consumption.

Lauren G.

Lauren is a 6-year Roots & Shoots member from central Indiana. Her main project over the last four years has been creating and running the Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program, a by-youth, for-youth organization that provides funding for environmental projects that are led by young people. Although now in college, Lauren continues to work on new ways to empower young people and to create positive change for the world around us. She plans on majoring in Earth Systems science at Stanford University and using that knowledge to research the connection between humans, animals, and the environment. Lauren is a youth blogger for Roots & Shoots.

Mackenzie M.

Mackenzie began her work with Roots & Shoots in sixth grade and continues to dedicate her time to the Roots & Shoots program as a high school senior. Her experiences as a member and mentor to the local Roots & Shoots group in her 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 NYLC, 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, volunteering as a junior coach with Girls on the Run, and playing Varsity soccer.

Maddie M.

Madalyn (Maddie) is a junior 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 her second year on the council so that she can continue to make the world a better place.

Maddie F.

Madeline (Maddie), a high school senior, considers herself a global citizen and humanitarian. Maddie founded Roots & Shoots Clubs at two international schools and serves on the Shanghai Roots & Shoots Leadership Council. She has led many projects, her most meaningful one was The Million Tree Project in Inner Mongolia, where she raised funds for and planted over three thousand trees. Maddie plans to pursue a career in wildlife photography and environmental conservation, using photography as a means to document and educate others about the need to protect our home (Earth). Currently she is creating a documentary for the Rainforest Action Network to help protect the orangutans. This is Maddie's first year on the Council.


Madi V.

Madison is a freshman at Pomona College. She is the co-founder of Project ORANGS  a campaign whose mission is to promote the need for rainforest-safe Girl Scout Cookies and deforestation-free sources of palm oil. Madison is passionate about showing consumers that their everyday purchases have global impacts. She 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 L.

Maya is a founding member of the Sprouts of Hope Roots & Shoots group in Cambridge, MA. 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. Additionally, Sprouts of Hope have volunteered with a younger Roots & Shoots group in the community, created a sustainability quilt as a lending gift to Cambridge, and designed a mural for their high school on human impacts in the ocean. Maya spoke in Boston during the Gombe 50 anniversary, appeared on WBUR On Point Live, the Boston Public Radio Callie Crossley show, and in a PSA for the the Cambridge Energy Alliance.

Mariah L.

Mariah is a high school junior in Los Angeles, CA. She is a contributing opinion writer for the Pro-Voice, a youth political advocacy publication for the Junior State of America, as well as Assembly Representative for her school's chapter of JSA. She is also a youth ambassador for the Campaign for a Youth Presidential Council. Mariah is a supporter of equality and diversity among people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations and is vice-president of her school's Gay-Straight Alliance group. She volunteers at Maryvale Orphanage and loves to travel in her free time. She is excited to be joining the Council in 2014.


Molly P.

Molly is the Founder and Director of Raleigh Aquatic Turtle Adoption (RATA) in Raleigh, NC. RATA has three purposes: to re-home unwanted pet turtles (especially the invasive Red-eared slider), to fundraise for conservation organziations through the sale of Molly's Turtle Soap, and to encourage the next generation of STEM leaders through STEM Leadership Camp. Molly is a volunteer at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. This is Molly's first year on the Council.

Prashanth R.

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 areas 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.

Rajalakshmi G. 

Rajalakshmi (Raji) hopes to one day end the inhumane treatment of animals. She has initiated various campus and community-based clean-up campaigns and also volunteers at the Rabbit Rescue shelter, helping feed and nurture abused rabbits. Raji enjoys writing about, researching, and debating new technologies and solutions for environmental problems through conferences and seminars. She finds great beauty and peace in nature and hopes to share this love for the natural world with others by joining the NYLC in 2014.

Raquel I.

Raquel is a co-founder of Greenwich High School's Roots & Shoots club in Greenwich, CT. 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 to their school's annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, feeding over 150 families in Greenwich, CT. Raquel has also been actively involved with the organization Invisible Children and with 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 and the 2013 Humane Education Conference at NYU in New York City.

Rhiannon T.

Rhiannon is a co-founder of the Project ORANGS group, who have worked for the past seven years to raise awareness about the destructive impacts of palm oil production. As a result of Project ORANGS' grassroots organizing, they were able to convince the Girl Scout organization to adopt a palm oil policy to cover Girl Scout cookies. Rhiannon is extremely passionate about showing consumers the impacts of their decisions on local and global communities, as well as teaching other youth that they too can follow their passions to create change. She graduated from high school in 2013 and is currently taking a gap year to pursue service opportunities overseas before she becomes a student at Stanford in the fall of 2014.

Roman V.

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. In addition, Roman is a student intern with "talking talons" a local organization that does community outreach and environmental education. He is looking forward to his second year as a member of the NYLC.

Tejaswi P.

Tejaswi is form Greenbelt, MD and is a freshman in high school. She strives to make positive change in her community and in the world. Tejaswi is a member of Model United Nations and enjoys expressing information and emotions in the form of poetry. Tejaswi became the state finalist from Maryland in the Letter About Literature competition (LAL). She has been recognized by the International Nepali Literary Society(INLS), American Nepal Society(ANS) and the Embassy of Nepal. Tejaswi also plays rugby for the high school team and loves dancing and cheerleading. All these have increased her comfort in speaking in front of audiences. She is looking foward to her first year on the NYLC.



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