| Madeline Bachner

2014 Ripple Effect Awards Honor Cottonwood Institute Students Making A Big Impact

Estrella.Bash2014The 2014 Base Camp Bash was an incredible success for the Cottonwood Institute. We raised critical funds for our programs, met some amazing supporters, and celebrated the impact our students are having in the community.

One way we honor our students is through our annual Ripple Effect Awards. The Ripple Effect Award is given each year to two outstanding students and is all about celebrating how our smallest actions, even those we can’t immediately see, can ripple out into the community to have an even greater impact.

This year Cottonwood Institute honored Robert Harding from New Vista High School and Estrella Damian from STRIVE Preparatory Schools Excel Campus. Both of these amazing young people worked hard to lead their peers to make change within themselves, their schools, and their communities.estrella2.Bash2014

Estrella participated in the Mini-Community Adventure Program (Mini CAP) at STRIVE Excel Campus this fall. She helped lead her peers during their Action Project to tackle food waste at their school by designing and implementing a worm composting program for their school. The fertile compost they generate will be donated to two school gardens in their neighborhood. It has been so successful that they are building a second bin to keep up with the composting demand! Throughout their efforts, Estella showed strong leadership and a great work ethic to help design their project, acquire supplies, and share it with the STRIVE Excel community.

Robert has been involved with the Earth Task Force (ETF) at New Vista High School for the past 3 years, with unparalleled dedication. As his senior year draws to an end, we have been consistently impressed with his ideas, hard work, and follow through. From helping to organize their annual Local Lunch to the recent Fracking Panel, Robert has shown how much he has grown and learned from his experiences with ETF. We are excited to keep in touch with Robert to see what he accomplishes in college and through his future career.20140507_121323-1

These two are great examples of what students can and are accomplishing in our programs and beyond. Thanks to all of our students for making what Cottonwood Institute does really matter!

“We never know how the impact of our actions may ripple out. We never know who may be touched. That’s one more reason why, although the fruits of our labors can’t always be seen, they matter immensely.” – Paul Rogat Loeb

A special thanks goes out to local artist, Bryan Buikema from Cracker 8 Projects, graphic designer Amber Selzer, and Piranha Woodcraft for designing and building these beautiful awards, which will be displayed at each winning school for 1 year.


Categories: Cottonwood Institute News, Earth Task Force, STRIVE Prep, Updates

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