Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program

WINNER: Best Communication of Sustainability

The Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program is a youth-directed program that awards small grants and provides technical guidance to young people for their youth-led environmental projects in Carmel, Indiana. The program utilizes high school students to inspire and mentor youth, ages 18 and under, to identify environmental needs within the community and to design, fund, implement, and evaluate appropriate projects to address those needs. Created, developed, and administered by teens from Carmel Area Roots & Shoots, the program's goal is to challenge area youth to use their skills, creativity and energy to help make our community greener. Through facilitating youth-driven projects that reduce pollution, conserve natural resources, and save energy, the program empowers young people to take positive action towards a more sustainable future. Twenty environmental youth projects have received funding since 2009. Projects include tree planting, organic community gardens, educational campaigns to reduce plastic waste and promote CFLs, the creation and promotion of a carpool no idle zone, lunchroom recycling projects, and more. Our project seeks to use empowerment as a way to combat apathy and hopelessness towards environmental problems in the young people of today in order to create a better, more sustainable world for tomorrow. The first step in doing this is to give youth the resources and encouragement needed to create change in their local environment, and we facilitate this through public education and by awarding grants ranging from $100 to $1000.

In addition to empowering young people, the program educates the entire community. Youth are involved in the projects; teachers, parents, and relatives are informed about the program’s success and encouraged to become involved; media companies support us through publishing articles about the various youth projects; and businesses show their support through donations. This way, we are bringing the entire community together in environmental achievement.