Grades of Green was a huge part of my high school experience, yet my passion for environmental activism has only grown since being a part of the Youth Corps Eco-Leadership program. I now am a senior studying Earth Systems at Stanford University with concentrations in sustainable food and agriculture, and Spanish. In past summers, I have worked for an urban development non-profit called 100 Resilient Cities in New York and conducted environmental education research based on immersive backpacking trips in Yosemite National Park. More recently, I studied abroad in Santiago de Chile, where, while not learning about Chile's incredible biodiversity in the classroom, I was lucky enough to explore the country’s natural wonders. I not only made it far South to camp in Torres del Paine in Patagonia, but traveled North to the Atacama Desert, where I sandboarded down massive dunes. I’m now spending the summer interning in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the municipal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As an intern in their urban agriculture sector, I spend half my days in the greenhouse planting in preparation for their future educational farm, and the other half writing and designing a permaculture manual to accompany the city’s workshops
Alex N. Youth Corps Alumni
Dear Grades of Green,

You have taught me so much. I learned about leadership, the earth, and public speaking. You gave me so many opportunities that made me into the person I am today. I would have never accomplished anything without the support of the Grades of Green Youth Corps mentors. I can’t thank you enough I have learned so much and I will never forget this experience.
Elise Y. Youth Corps Student since 2016
I am truly proud of our Grades of Green Team.  It has been a great educational experience for our students to be mindful of the importance to recycle and dispose of waste properly.  Students making conscious decisions to dispose their waste appropriately has actually helped with another problem...  birds!  We've had a seagull issue for years.  Now that very little food is left on tables and the waste is primarily concentrated in several areas the birds are not really much of an issue now.
Salvador Madrigal Principal, Stephens Middle School, TFLC 2014-2015
We should have done this program years ago! I love it! My back doesn’t hurt from throwing out all those bags of trash. I can't believe we only have three bags of trash at lunch every day.
Sam Head Custodian at Rogers Middle School in Long Beach, CA
Dear Grades of Green Team, A BIG thank you to you! We appreciate your help in getting started. The assembly and presentation was amazing! This really helped students understand how they can help the environment and take an active role. The teachers were jazzed as well and want to start this in our lounge so they too, can participate. Many thanks for what you do!
Dominique Polchow
We just wrapped up our Green Queen and King Challenge and our Green Ambassadors were 25 students strong! What a great group. We utilized many of Grades of Green's online resources and very much appreciate the Lesson Plans and downloadable PDFs!
Darcy O’Brien Will Rogers Learning Community Green Team
On behalf of St. Athanasius School, I just wanted to send you a huge thank you to you and your GOG team, the Kings Care Chariot volunteers for all your support and enthusiasm in helping to kick off our new waste management system at school today.  It was an exciting day that the students are sure to never forget.
I look forward to continue working with you and GOG  on future projects and will be sure to seek more advice as we continue to educate and empower our students to care for their community and environment.
Alexandra Gonzales Educator at St. Athanasius School
Thank you so much for all of the lesson plans/PowerPoints/"informationals” you have uploaded to your website for FREE! ...Some have asked me to give assemblies/training as I trade out trash bins for recycle bins and what I have found on your website is invaluable!
Natasha D.
I first heard of Grades of Green the summer before my junior year of high school. I was involved with sustainability efforts at school, but found that the Grades of Green Youth Corps provided me a chance to grow and share my passion with younger members. I participated in the Youth Corps program for two years and loved the freedom of designing my own Green Project, rather than participating in a pre-existing endeavor. For my Green Project, I spent two years hosting 100-Mile Meals, where all the food was grown within a 100-mile radius of where it was served, and writing an accompanying food blog to support buying locally. The Youth Corps and Youth Corps advisors provided me with not only moral support, but also with countless contacts and marketing resources. While my interest in environmental conservation began at a young age, working with the Youth Corps and interning with Grades of Green for two summers has not only made me more independent, but also made me more confident that environmental science will be my chosen field of study in college.
Alex Nguyen Youth Corps Advisor, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014
The Grades of Green Youth Corps program is amazing. Whoever thought of it is a genius. So many kids doing so many great things for the earth is just amazing. The Youth Corps is definitely one of the greatest groups on earth. And imagine in a few years, what it will be like with even more kids on board! All of the landfills will go broke. I am so excited to see where this takes us and what amazing projects we will do.
Max Riley Youth Corps Student since 2011
My daughter, Sydney has been on the Grades of Green Youth Board for the past year; what an amazing experience to work with her peers to make local changes. Grades of Green has really empowered the Youth Corps students by providing the tools and guidance for them to become environmental leaders in their community. Sydney has gained so much knowledge & leadership experience and has been so inspired to get involved.
Dawn Hamilton parent of Youth Corps student
If it wasn't for Grades of Green and, more specifically, the Youth Corps mentors who have helped guide me and offered me opportunities, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing, and I wouldn't have the opportunities for the future that I have. I received the Regents' Scholarship at UC San Diego, one of my top-choice schools, and I am absolutely certain that it's only with your support that I could look good enough to get such a prestigious award!
Abby Landers Youth Board Student, El Segundo High School, 2012-2013
Thank you for giving my daughter a great year with Grades of Green. Aside from her working on the shoe drive and becoming an active member of the Green Team, the program built up her self-confidence and self-esteem. -Andrea Ganz, parent of Youth Corps student
Andrea Ganz
Let me just say I am SO IMPRESSED with Grades of Green on so many levels.  The way you interact with the kids is so reassuring.  It gives them confidence and the way they are turning into little leaders is such a great thing! -Rebecca Tarkington, parent of Youth Corps student
Rebecca Tarkington
Grades of Green, thank you ladies for the experience, challenge, and tremendous support. Your website is inspiring and extremely helpful! You made it possible to start from scratch and compete against so many other amazing schools! Keep up your amazing passion for our precious earth! - Zipporah Kiger, Grades of Green Co-Chair and Parent at Valor Christian Academy (2011-12 participant)
Zipporah Kiger
I am just so proud of the kids. It is really taking off, and they don’t even need reminders anymore to recycle, they just get it. -Amy Johnson, teacher Chapman Elementary School (2012-13 participant)
Amy Johnson
We see trash-sorting systems, composting in place that can be sustained year after year after year, we see young students engaged in the process and making sure that it’s happening. All these schools that are participating in the challenge are winners. - Rupam Soni, Environmental Engineer, Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
Rupam Soni
Our students took ownership in the Challenge. They wanted to make a difference at school and in the community. 80% of our kids pack trash free at least once per week, we compost at lunch, and our school produces just one bag of trash at lunch each day. - Nancy Parsons, Principal Lunada Bay Elementary School (winner 2012-13)
Nancy Parsons
Thanks for the opportunity to be in the Trash Free Lunch Challenge! It has been a great learning experience for our kids, teachers, and parents!   -Libby Marsh, Grades of Green Chair, Trinity Lutheran School, Whittier, CA
Libby Marsh
Thank you to Grades of Green for coming to our school & delivering an AMAZING, FUN, and INFORMATIVE assembly! You ladies have it down! Thank you, I am sure you motivated more students to try harder at becoming trash "free" at our school! Once again we are so thrilled to be part of this challenge by implementing this program!   -Danielle Spangler, Grades of Green Chair, Jefferson Elementary School, Redondo Beach, CA
Danielle Spangler
Happy Earth Week! I was just talking to someone last week about how "green" is the new norm with our kids, and how awesome that will be for the planet as they grow up. The work you are doing at Grades of Green is definitely having a positive impact on how they think every day.
Kimberly Katsuyama
"I love the Earth because it gives me everything I need in life: food and vegetables; trees for oxygen and making wood for houses; and flowers for making presents and making houses look pretty. Grades of Green has taught me about composting, recycling, and how much the Earth loves us, so we should treat it good back."
Kelly Martin
Thanks for all you do. When I think about "change" this is probably the biggest, best change I've seen at GV in the 30 years I've been "associated" with the school (my oldest daughter is 38).
Shelley Benke
Girls, you represent what makes America great! Thanks for making a difference through the empowerment of your community, your schools and your families as well as yourselves. Keep the voice and action alive as this models what’s possible. Have a Happy New Year! With love, care, and support, Mike.
Mike Assum
"I take short showers now, because then I do not use so much water"
Kim Waller
I learned not to waste water. When I brush my teeth I turn off the faucet. (Kage) 7 yrs, 1st grade When we see trash on the beach we pick it up so it does not wash away into the ocean and get the sea animals sick. (Max) 9 yrs, 3rd grade Don't litter. At school I learned that litter goes down the drain and when it rains it goes to the ocean. (Ellie) 6 yrs, Kinder
Kage, Max & Ellie Geoghegan
Good Morning, Grand View Elementary, Last year I read a Daily Breeze article about your school's environmental program. I was impressed with your program and, having grown up in the area, I have a particular fondness for "back home". All the best to Grand View Elementary and your school district in progressive environmental endeavors.
Christina Clayton
I have to say that volunteering to convert our school into a "green" school is so rewarding and so much fun.....it beats anything else by far!
Allison Ludlow
Thanks to the teachings of Grades of Green, Adam brings a reusable water bottle to all sports practices and games!
Adam Shapiro