By, Lena Rodriguez
A local non-profit organization, Kids 4 Our World, is making a difference by saving forests, animals, and helping to educate and provide jobs for as many as they can. This is a difficult feat for anybody. What makes it more amazing is that it was started by freshman Miguel Aldrete.
Currently, the organization has planted a total of 14,000 trees in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Colombia, India, Kenya, the Philippines and soon in Costa Rica. In 2010 and 2012, Aldrete published his book series, The Adventures of Matt Hanckers, and used the profits to help the environment.
“I didn’t really know how to help [the environment] but I knew I wanted to make a difference. For each book [of mine that] I sold, I donated money to plant ten trees,” Aldrete said.
The purpose of Kids 4 Our World is to raise awareness of environmental issues, endangered species, ecological friendly technology and to reduce the effects of global warming by planting trees in deforested areas.
“One of our goals is to spread the word and educate as many people as possible about our mission. The more support we have, the more natives we are the able to help,” sophomore ambassador Dennis O’Brien said. “This doesn’t mean we’re ‘Green Freaks;’ it just means we should all do our part and take care of the Earth.”
As of recently, Aldrete has started an ambassador program within his organization that consists of 8th grader Alex Avalos from Rancho Del Rey Middle School, and Olympian High School students like freshmen Gilbert Rodriguez, Luis-Enrique Avalos, Manuel Aguilera-Prieto, and sophomores Ryan Didonato and Dennis O’Brien who all attend Olympian High School.
“Being an ambassador affects me by being more aware of ongoing affairs and by knowing that I represent a small but growing organization that my friend, Miguel Aldrete, has been developing so deliberately,” Aguilera-Prieto said.
Aldrete started Kids 4 Our World when he was eight years old with the help of his father, Miguel Eduardo Aldrete. K4OW’s next project is partnered with La Reserva Forest Foundation.
“For the campaign with Kids 4 Our World, the idea is to have the kids raise money for one of these projects in Costa Rica, then come down to visit this summer to help plant the trees, learn more about the work we do, the people we work with, and the importance of tropical forests,” member of the US Board of Directors for La Reserva Forest Foundation, Gretchen Engbring said.
Kids 4 Our World is an inclusive organization, and students have the opportunity to learn about environmental consciousness.
“The purpose of Kids 4 Our World is to help our environment by offsetting the effects of deforestation, to promote healthy eating and to motivate kids to learn,” Avalos said.
In Kids 4 Our World’s next project, the ambassadors, including Aldrete, will go down to Costa Rica to plant 1,600 trees and introduce the “soccket ball:” a soccer ball that harnesses and stores energy that can be used as a portable power source to the native Maleku tribe. In order to do that, K4OW will need to raise $23,450 by July this year.
“Right now the biggest struggle for this project is the time frame, because we don’t have a lot of time and we barely got this idea out there. Raising the $23,000 will be a big challenge. Another challenge is juggling time,” Aldrete said.
Despite these concerns Aldrete’s father, Miguel Eduardo Aldrete, is confident in his son’s and the ambassadors abilities to raise the funds. The K4OW International Ambassadors have only recently started fundraising, but they are searching for sponsorships from local companies and donations from members of the community.
“I am confident that the Kids 4 Our World International Ambassadors are going to do everything that they can to make it work. We are also confident that they will receive the support from the local community to make it happen. I feel very strongly that they will be able to reach their goal, because I’ve seen how motivated they are to do so,” M.E. Aldrete said.