Today, I’m kicking off a series of blog posts that will introduce you to some of the amazing young people who are profiled in my upcoming book, BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS (Beyond Words/Simon Pulse, September 2014). Each of the 18 chapters in the book includes a short piece about how one or more young people changed the world and their experiences with the chapter topic, in particular. I was able to interview most of them in person, via Skype, by phone, or by email, and I have so much more great stuff about them than would fit in the book–sort of like out-takes, only better! I hope you’ll enjoy “meeting” them here and reading more about them and their work.
Being today is Earth Day, it seemed only fitting that I start with Charles Orgbon III. Charles is a 17-year-old from Atlanta, GA. His passions are protecting the environment and empowering youth, and he’s been combining the two with ever-increasing success for the last five years.
I had such a great time talking to Charles on the phone, and I feel blessed that we’ve stayed in contact since. Charles is not only generous and communicative, but also well-read: anyone who can accurately quote both Ghandi and Stephen Covey in a one-hour, off-the-cuff phone interview is a winner in my book!
Charles’ journey started when he was 12 years old and needed to complete a service requirement for his middle school. He noticed there was a problem with litter on the campus, so he picked it up. Soon, he began recruiting other students to join him in what he called the Earth Savers’ Club. That grew, too, and soon Charles wanted to empower other students in other schools in other cities around the world to do the same thing he had. Eventually, he launched a website to share his experiences. Today, that organization has become GreeningForward.org, whose mission is “to establish, engage, and empower a diverse global green movement powered by young people.”
One of my favorite quotes from Charles (that didn’t make it into the book) is one that I think everyone can benefit from at times:
“Sometimes you just have to accept ‘I’m lost,’ because that’s what reminds you where you came from in the first place.”
Charles will graduate from high school this summer and head off to the University of Georgia. I wish him the best, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll accomplish next!
For more about Charles, I recommend you follow him on Twitter and watch this talk he did at TEDxAtlanta:
I hope you’ll join me in wishing Charles–and all of his friends at Greening Forward–a very happy Earth Day!
If you’d like to read more about Charles and other young people like him who are putting their passions into action to make a positive difference in the world, please pre-order the book at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powell’s, or Beyond Words, or Secret Garden Books. Ordering from Secret Garden Books can get you a signed copy if you allow an extra week or two for delivery and indicate how you’d like it personalized in the “other notes about your order” field.