With a mix of determination and creativity, the Torch Club of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield, MA earned the top slot in Samsung’s third annual Climate Superstars Challenge by learning about environmental sustainability, educating their peers and making a tangible environmental difference in their local community.
Westfield members beat out more than 160 other Boys & Girls Clubs in the U.S. and at overseas military bases to win the environmental contest and the grand prize of 20 Samsung tablets, 10 Chromebooks and a flat-screen TV for their club. These middle schoolers really are living the credo, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Through a series of weekly projects throughout the fall, the Westfield members learned about climate change and brainstormed ways to save electricity. They educated themselves about food waste and visited a local food producer to find out just what goes in to farming and getting that produce to grocers. They spread the word throughout the club and community by creating flyers and events about responsible water use and recycling, including hosting a green Halloween party. They planted tree saplings and cleaned up the grounds surrounding the club, committing to monthly cleanups going forward. And what’s more — they raised the funds necessary for all these projects.
“They really honestly do care about the environment and have learned new things because of the Climate Superstars Program,” said Darryll Roberts, advisor to the Westfield Boys & Girls Club’s Torch Club, the character and leadership program of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Just one kid can make a change.”
Roberts said determination, creativity and joy powered Westfield’s participation in the challenge, and the prizes will greatly support the members’ education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“We want to thank Samsung for their huge donation,” Roberts said. “This is really going to make a powerful impact in all of the members’ lives and their daily experience here at the Boys & Girls Club.”
Samsung technology powered the contest. Using a gaming-like app where students document and upload their projects, to earn points each week. “A combination of points, creativity and commitment made Westfield this year’s winner,” said Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship for Samsung Electronics America.
“Westfield really got the word out with their environmental awareness program, telling friends and family and exposing younger Boys & Girls Club members to the issues,” said Woo. “Samsung believes very strongly in STEM education, and this was a great opportunity for middle school-aged kids to use technology while learning about environmental sustainability issues.”
In addition to the $10,000 technology prize, Samsung also awarded the winning team $3,000 to donate to the charity of their choice, which the group chose to give to The Hurricane Maria Relief Fund via the Westfield Spanish American Association.
“Climate Superstars makes them more a part of their global community and just one kid can make a change,” said Roberts.