by Ashley Ess
I recently had the honor of talking with Kids for Saving Earth founder Tessa Hill. As you will see, Tessa is dedicated to spreading the important message of protecting the environment.
As a non-profit, KSE is dedicated to educating, inspiring and empowering children to help make our planet healthy. When I first read about Kids for Saving Earth (KSE), warmth instantly enveloped my heart. The story of how KSE came to fruition is nothing short of heartbreaking and its expansion into a flourishing, active environmental organization inspires and ignites action.
Originally created as a club for kids by Tessa’s son, Clinton Hill, the intention for Kids for Saving Earth was to gather friends to discuss and perform peaceful, Earth-saving actions. Tragically, cancer took Clinton’s life at the young age of eleven. Since he believed his illness was caused by a polluted environment, he was determined to do what he could to help make the planet healthy again. His parents intended on continuing his dream and turned it into a non-profit. Today, KSE provides “Education into Action” curriculum to teachers and parents and participates in many grass roots and legislative activities to help green up the earth. KSE’s fun, creative website has a wealth of information to help you get your children started on “The Pollution Solution,’ as Clinton called it. How wonderful is it that your children can get involved in their own Kids for Saving Earth Action Programs?
For more on Tessa and KSE, read on. Links to learn more or donate to KSE follow the interview.
Please tell us about your late son Clinton’s dream for Kids for Saving Earth and the journey that has turned his dream into a non-profit organization helping to educate children, teachers and parents about the importance of a healthy planet.
As a little kid, Clinton called himself a Defender of the Planet. He believed that kids can learn how to help protect the Earth. He also knew that kids can influence the "big people" of the world to do the right thing. He formulated the idea of starting a Kids for Saving Earth club in his school. He was sick at the time with a brain tumor, but he was determined. He made a sign (that is now the KSE logo) and he talked to his parents and friends. He also collected money to start his club. www.kidsforsavingearth.org
When Clinton died from the brain tumor, his Dad and I decided to make Kids for Saving Earth an official nonprofit organization. The spirit of Clint and his dreams has inspired adults and kids throughout the world.
What kind of impact has KSE experienced and in what ways have your efforts turned education into action by children in their schools, communities and the world?
You can find Kids for Saving Earth kids all over the world. Some of them have now become adults and are teachers still working to protect the Earth. I just received an email from a teacher who has had a club in her classroom in Rio for 20 years. Beside the US, a few of our international Kids for Saving Earth schools include England, Australia, Cypress, Canada, Mexico, Pakistan, Kenya and more. Thank goodness for the Internet because we are able to support education in an inexpensive way as well as communicate with each other. One of the highlights for our organization was to be in the Inaugural Parade for President Clinton. We even had a float. It was so good to know that the world was watching us, not to mention governmental leaders. They knew that Kids for Saving Earth was a force to be reckoned with! Our Defenders of the Planet link lists a few of the activities some of our clubs are doing.
Some children may be overwhelmed and anxious upon learning about the many ways our planet is hurting. In what ways do you and KSE strive to bring this issue to the attention of children to inspire action, without overwhelming those who are most sensitive?
Overwhelming children about environmental issues is something I’ve always been very concerned about. Years ago when speaking to a group of children I had a 9 year-old tell me that he woke up at night worrying about global warming. At that time KSE hadn’t done a piece on global warming so I know this boy had heard about it in other ways and he was frightened.
Kids for Saving Earth always creates educational information that moves education into action and that empowers children. When children act upon what they learn they will remember what they have learned. When children are empowered they become much less frightened. It’s very important for parents to support their child’s enthusiasm and actions. When working together kids know they can save the Earth. Saying or Singing The Kids for Saving Earth Promise Song is a great way to inspire kids without scaring them.
What are some ways parents can engage their children in practicing to protect the environment? Do you have any advice for parents wanting to motivate their children to do their part, starting at home?
The first step is to start a family Kids for Saving Earth group and then talk with your child’s teacher to get a club going in their classroom. This will really empower your child. Here is a link on how to start a club. http://www.kidsforsavingearth.org/KSECLUB.pdf And here is where you can order a one-time membership. There are several options. http://www.ksegreenshop.org/
What is on the horizon for KSE? How can our readers help?
The plan for Kids for Saving Earth is to continue to grow membership and support environmental action. We need active parents and teachers as KSE advisors. Kids can do a few things on their own but they really need an adult to help and encourage them.
Play this 3 minute video clip for your kids to get them inspired:
Look through our programs page and pick an activity that you would enjoy doing with your kids. http://www.kidsforsavingearth.org/programs.html
Next check out the "Forms" link which includes a Defender of the Planet Award you can give your kids if they have completed an environmental activity. http://www.kidsforsavingearth.org/forms/index.htm
Finally, send this article to everyone you know who would like to start a Kids for Saving Earth group in their home or classroom. Email me if you have any questions Tessa@kidsforsavingearth.org