This month I had the pleasure of interviewing two elementary school students of Fayetteville GA, Olivia (11) and Carter (12.5), who founded One More Generation (OMG). One More Generation is a nonprofit that seeks to help educate kids and adults about the plight of endangered species so they can save them for at least One More Generation… and beyond.
One More Generation (OMG) was formed in late 2009 and officially filed with the state of GA as a nonprofit in January of 2010. OMG was granted their 501(c)(3) status by the IRS in May of 2010. Thus far they have raised money to help support the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Rescue in South Africa, traveled to South Africa in Dec 2011 and presented the founder with a big donation check, have written to our local Governor’s office and collected over 1,200 signatures on a petition to change Rattlesnake Roundups in GA, launched their Plastic Awareness Coalition in Feb of 2011, and launched their Plastic Awareness Week curriculum program.
The following are the questions and the responses from Carter and Olivia.
1. What has been your biggest hindrance as young entrepreneurs?
Olivia: The toughest part has been trying to find supporters to help us get funding so we can continue to do what we do, bring our educational programs to more schools and communities.
2. What advice would you give to young people trying to start their own nonprofit?
Carter: Just do it. I know that sounds like a shoe commercial but it is so true. Issue like plastic pollution and saving critically endangered species are issues that cannot wait. We encourage kids (and adults) to follow their passion and just do it.
3. What inspired you to start OMG?
Carter: Realizing that waiting around for someone else to fix a problem or waiting until we are older or more experienced was just not a luxury that we have. We are trashing our environment at a rate that will soon be beyond repair and it not only affects us humans, but countless animals as well. We all need to do our part before it is too late.
4. What has been the biggest reward that has helped you stay motivated in your work?
Carter: I would have to say that when people tell us that our work and efforts are inspiring them to want to make a difference. That definitely makes my day and keeps me going.
5. What has been the most meaningful experience you have had through your work at OMG?
Olivia: For me it was seeing rhinos in the wild. We have been working on our rhino awareness campaign for over a year and we recently traveled back to South Africa where we got to visit rhinos in the wild and see how amazing they are.
6. In five years where do you see OMG?
Carter: I see OMG being a bigger organization, one with global reach. We want to inspire the world and show them that they too can make a difference.
7. Have you faced any age discrimination? If so please elaborate.
Olivia: Yes, I remember telling one of my former teachers (at a different schools than where I go now) about some facts I learned about mammals and she outright did not believe me. I tried telling her that I was right but she just assumed that because of my age, I could not possibly know more than her on the subject. My parents told me that I should not let that discourage me and that we would surly encounter that again in our lives but that the important thing is that we realize everyone is entitled to their opinion and we just need to understand some people are not going to be open-minded enough to accept the fact that a kid can teach adults a few things.
8. In your opinion, what is the most impactful thing that OMG has done?
Olivia: I would have to say it is that we show people of all ages that “Anybody can make a difference”. They see the work we are doing and we often hear them say, if these guys can do this, then I surely can make a difference as well. We just want to show the world that we are all responsible for what is happening to our world and each one of us has the responsibility to do something and to do it now.
9. What’s been OMG greatest challenge?
Carter: For me it has to be trying to get everyone to understand that the issue of Plastic Pollution is one of the biggest threats we as humans (not to mention all the animals) face and that we all need to act now before it is too late. Every day I see more and more trash on the sides of the roads and in our waterways. It is as if people don’t even see it anymore. It is frustrating when you know that a simple piece of plastic trash could end up in our landfills for hundreds of years and that each piece can potentially kill yet another animal. We need to figure out how we can educate the world on the issue. The same applies when you start looking at what we are doing to so many species that are on the brink of extinction. Figuring out how to get everyone to understand the consequences of their actions is probably our biggest hurdle.
Wow! What amazing kids! To find out more about One More Generation visit www.onemoregeneration.org