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2013 Bob Carter Companies/William R. Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Group: Carter and Olivia Ries (One More Generation)

Nominated by Hands On Atlanta and the AFP Greater Atlanta Chapter

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Three years ago, Carter (12) and Olivia (10) Ries started their own nonprofit organization, One More Generation, to support a cause they both feel deeply about: saving endangered species, especially the cheetah. While still committed to the cause, along the way they have become experts on plastic pollution and recycling and have created programs that are being used in schools across Georgia and the U.S.

Shortly after One More Generation was started, the British Petroleum Gulf of Mexico oil spill occurred. Carter and Olivia contacted the four agencies responsible for rescue efforts and were given a list of desperately needed supplies. The two spent the next four months going door to door and visiting churches, schools and community organizations to collect the supplies. On Olivia’s 8th birthday, their family drove to the Gulf Coast and spent five days delivering the supplies and helping out the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Center.

During that time, Carter and Olivia first learned about plastic pollution and how many animals will get sick and die from encountering and eating plastic trash in the oceans. Determined to spread awareness of this issue, which is rated as one of the world’s top environmental challenges, they spent five months educating themselves. Then they worked with several teachers at their school to develop a weeklong Plastic and Recycling Awareness Curriculum.

The curriculum teaches students to “precycle”—identifying the seven types of plastic and avoiding those less likely to be accepted by their community recycling program. Students also bring to school all the plastic trash that they generate at home, and at the end of the week the entire community (often including mayors, school board members, parents and others) builds a giant sculpture out of the collected plastic trash.  Their program has caught on everywhere, and they now have a goal of getting the curriculum included in every elementary school in the U.S.

Carter and Olivia have formed the Plastic Awareness Coalition to collaborate with like-minded organizations to increase their impact and reach. Over 70 local, regional, national and international groups have joined the coalition. One More Generation has also signed a partnership with Novelis, the world’s largest producer and recycler of aluminum, to add information about recycling aluminum into their weeklong curriculum.

Carter and Olivia remain committed to endangered species preservation as well, having “adopted” several cheetahs in South Africa and traveled to that country to coordinate with conservation and environmental organizations there. They are currently focusing on preventing poaching and are working with the U.S. State Department and the Wildlife Trafficking Department to develop an educational outreach program for kids.

They have also recently started a new program, Greenwell, which is dedicated to growing organic produce which is then donated to animal facilities everywhere. Greenwell has already produced its first crops, has order requests from local zoos and aquariums and is planning to expand its production capacity by four-fold later in 2013.

For their tremendous entrepreneurial spirit and dedication, AFP is proud to present the Bob Carter Companies/Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Group, to Carter and Olivia Reis, founders of One More Generation. 

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