Written by Shelli-Kae Foster, Program Manager
I like to fix things. Not like repairing engines or a dishwasher, but when I see something that is broken or someone in need, I like to try and fix it or help someone out. This is why I feel my time spent with YES! is so valuable. Students are identifying problems in their community and fixing things that matter to them – their air, water, & earth. This ultimately helps out everyone in their school and community.
YES! is important to me because I witness first-hand the power and confidence a program can instill in the students when they complete a project. It is important because I witness the excitement students feel when they talk about a problem they see that they want to fix. For example, students in Royalton asked, “Where does used motor oil go in our community?” From that question came a solution; a used motor oil and filter station is now on their campus for the whole community to use. A student from Atwater Cosmos Grove City wondered “Why are the parking lights on at 3 p.m.?” From this query a solution was devised of not only using an automated timer on the lights, but they switched out 38 lights to LED, saving $1,000’s of dollars each year.
I interviewed a 6th grade student at Discovery Woods Montessori in Brainerd about why YES! is important to her and she commented, “I want to help preserve the water in the lake by my house so me and my little sister can swim.” This simple but urgent need to preserve something so valuable as the lake by her home compels her to do be part of a group that is making big steps in their community to preserve water, reduce waste and conserve energy. I share this passion to preserve our lakes here in Minnesota, or in other places of beauty our family gets to enjoy such as Glacier National Park.
This is why YES! is important to me – with a little support from the community and a lot of amazingly hard and intentional work from our youth, our environment can be preserved for future generations and we can tackle the challenges of climate change!
Major funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).