From left to right, international ambassadors DJ O'Brien, Miguel Aldrete, and Gilbert Rodriguez pose with a low income family in Costa Rica. The family of nine kids and one parent now takes care of the tree nursery that Kids 4 Our World planted six months prior. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MIGUEL ALDRETE

From left to right, international ambassadors DJ O’Brien, Miguel Aldrete, and Gilbert Rodriguez pose with a low income family in Costa Rica. The family of nine kids and one parent now takes care of the tree nursery that Kids 4 Our World planted six months prior. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MIGUEL ALDRETE

 

by Juliette Nguyen

MANAGING EDITOR

@jnguyencrusader

When he was 8 years old, sophomore Miguel Aldrete Jr. and his father Miguel Eduardo Aldrete Sr. established the nonprofit organization, Kids 4 Our World, as a way for kids and teenagers to participate in community projects and raise awareness about environmental degradation. After transferring from Bonita Vista High School to Olympian High School, the nonprofit expanded between the schools through Aldrete Jr..

“[Kids 4 Our World began as] just an idea to want to be a part of something beyond myself. When I was in first grade I learned about deforestation and I did not like it. I knew I needed to do something about it but at that age I didn’t really know how to help,” Aldrete Jr. said.

Currently, there are 12 ambassadors from Bonita and Olympian who are a part of the nonprofit representing both Kids 4 Our World and the City of Chula Vista. Led by Aldrete Jr., ambassadors participate in a variety of volunteer projects and find volunteer opportunities.

“Recently our Ambassadors took an amazing journey to the rainforest of Central America to plant 1,600 trees, have a cultural exchange with the Maleku Indians, and provide eco-friendly technology,” Aldrete Jr. said. “I’ve grown up with the example of giving back because my dad has a nonprofit to help kids suffering from cancer in Tijuana called Legacy 4 Life.”

With events and projects as extensive as their trip to Central America, the ambassadors have gained credibility and recognition from a multitude of sources including national TV coverage and the San Diego Union Tribune, as well as awards such as the 2015 Clean Champion Award, and the Prudential Spirit of Community Award from President Barack Obama.

“The difficulties initially were to have Kids 4 Our World recognized and receive the credibility from the community,” Aldrete Sr. said. “They are now including more members from different schools like Olympian, Bonita Vista, Eastlake, Sweetwater, Otay Ranch and growing.”

Planning more opportunities made possible by sponsors and local fundraising. They work directly with the district’s superintendent, the mayor, local businesses and organizations.

“Right now we’re working on a project to create an app to serve as a platform between youth and those opportunities. We want to give teens an opportunity to make the world a better place and create awareness for environmental damage,” ambassador and sophomore Rebecka Ibarra said.

Hoping to launch the app within the next year, the organization aims to make the organization as large as possible to make a significant impact. Kids 4 Our World was also asked to speak to inspire youth at the welcome back rally for the Sweetwater Union High School District with over 5,000 teachers and staff over two days next school year.

“Kids 4 Our World is ‘planting the seeds of leadership in young adults’ through meaningful community service,” Aldrete Sr. said. “Helping others is and should be an integral part of our daily lives. We are truly blessed to have an opportunity to give to those in need. [Miguel] promotes that you don’t have to be an adult or famous to make a difference in our world.”