The Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council provides highly motivated and dedicated young leaders throughout the United States with the training, resources and opportunities to develop into community leaders who create positive change in their own backyards and around the world.

Council members participate in unique professional development and skill-building seminars, as well as campaign planning sessions, designed to empower them to action and connect with community leaders and influential change-makers working in relevant fields. Applications for the 2017 NYLC will open in October.

Click here to learn more about the Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council.


Meet the 2016 Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council:

Abby A.

Abby is a homeschooled high school Freshman in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. She is dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of the Monarch butterfly, and is an advocate for Lyme Disease awareness. She is currently leading a book drive in her community for a Head Start program where many children come from low income families. Abby is an aspiring advocate and environmentalist who hopes to one day become and environmental journalist. She has been featured in local newspapers for her work towards helping preserve the monarch butterfly and its habitat. 

Adele B.

Adele is the leader of a Charlottesville-based Roots & Shoots group that she started with her mother. She has raised money for a local animal hospital, planted trees with the Mayor of Charlottesville on Earth Day, and raised electronic over-use awareness by planning an outdoor sleepover with members of her group and other youth in the community. Adele plays tennis and lacrosse for her high school.

Aislinn S.

Aislinn, a United States Green Schools Fellow, is currently serving her second year on the NYLC. Aislinn has been interviewed by CBS News, spoken at the Global Issues Network’s North American Conference as well as TEDx and TEDx Youth events, and traveled to Greenland with the National Science Foundation’s Joint Science Education Project to study biodiversity and climate change. She is passionate about agriculture, environmental education, marine science, and rural development in international countries. Outside of her professional work, Aislinn is a national award-winning essayist and ballet dancer, a leader of local environmental projects, a music teacher, and an after-school volunteer math tutor.

Alexandra S.*

Alexandra currently works as a counselor at the non-profit, Orenda Springs in upstate New York. Orenda Springs provides outdoor experiences that foster a deeper understanding of self, others, and nature. She has worked and volunteered at Orenda for over six years, and has received rope course certification. She also is a member of the Smart Kids with Learning Differences. As well as an active volunteer at her local National Park. She is a second year Honors student at Onondaga Community College, where she is majoring in Anthropology and minoring in foreign language.

Amanda K.

Amanda has run a charity stand called the "Chimpaide Cafe" in Cherry Hill, New Jersey since she was eight years old. Running her stand at swim meets, school events, and Earth Day festivals she has raised about $15,000. Amanda represented the Jane Goodall Institute at United Nations International Peace Day 2014 and also spoke at the Global Citizenship Action Project Conference in Times' Square. After high school, she plans to study Environmental Sustainability and Human Rights in college.

Anne F.

Anne is a young animal and environmental activist in Massachusetts. She enjoys teaching people about both environmental issues and animal rights. As a Senior in high school, Anne is a part of an animal shelter club, Gay Straight Alliance club, and TEDx club which encourages young people to share their stories and ideas. Last year, she received the University of Rochester Fredrick Douglass and Susan B Anthony award in humanities and social sciences from her high school. Anne has organized and participated in beach clean-ups, given speeches, and tries to educate people about the issues she cares about.

Arunima R.

You can find Arunima (Nima) volunteering at Stony Brook Medicine, at beach clean-ups, or anywhere around her town where she can help. She loves to dance and act and tries to use these hobbies to make people smile. She's also a member of the OMEGA Youth council. She wants to make a positive difference in her community and the world she lives in and she doesn't mind getting dirty to do it.

Caroline G.

Caroline was born in Boston, Massachusetts and currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She works to live in a world in which a sustainable balance between humans and the Earth can be attained. Caroline has led several projects in her community including a campaign against the use of single-use plastics such as water bottles and grocery bags. She is also the president of her school’s French Club. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking, playing the piano, and practicing yoga. Caroline’s goal is to inspire people to be passionate about the environment we live in as well as our fellow citizens of the Earth.

Catalina A. 

Catalina is a high school Junior from Massachusetts. Throughout her life, she has developed a passion for wildlife conservation and animal rights; as the founder and leader of her community’s Roots & Shoots group, she brings this passion to other young minds. She is an avid volunteer at the MSPCA animal shelter, and enjoys volunteering at different events in her community related to environmental sustainability and wildlife conservation. She is committed to making a profound difference in the world and help people, animals, and the environment in any way she can. 

Elizabeth A.

Elizabeth (Eli) has been a member of the Dons Net Café Roots & Shoots group since 2012. Eli spends her time volunteering for events such as The Day of Caring, Alzheimer's Walk, MLK day, beach/street cleanups and various non-profits including Do Ubuntu. She is also part of Finding Common Ground San Francisco, a unique partnership between the Dons Net Café in California and Escuela de Agricola San Francisco in Paraguay doing some good nationwide, and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) in order to help low income families do their taxes for FREE by High School Tax Prepares. 

Emily S.

Emily is from Santa Barbara, California. She is passionate about many things including feminism and animal cruelty within the food industries. She volunteers at a local home for abused women and children and is learning how to do taxes for low income families. She hopes to inspire young women as well as others about the causes she is most passionate about. She aspires to graduate with high marks and attend college (like her sister). Emily has received a Latino Achievement Award and the President's Education Award. 

Jesus T.*

Jesus is currently a sophomore at Santa Barbara City College. He is in his 6th year volunteering with VITA, a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site, which offers free tax preparation for low income families. He started as a volunteer with VITA then was appointed head of the program and has served as the Individual Tax Identification Number specialist after completing the highest level in tax preparation from the IRS. Jesus is also a part of the Key Class advisory board, which helps teens learn etiquette skills. He is a mentor for Dons Net Café, his old Roots & Shoots group, where he was the Chief Executive Officer of 11 different businesses created to "do some good in the world.”

Johnathan Stewart M.

Johnathan (Stewart) lives in Valley, Alabama. In 2011, Stewart founded ReWorkz which takes things that you might call trash and turns them into many different crafts which are then sold. The proceeds raised from selling these items goes to helping people in need. Stewart enjoys performing in the concert and marching bands at his high school and also in the community band at Point University. He also enjoys the theater and has been involved in the production of many plays. Stewart was included in the Smithsonian Institute's traveling exhibition, "The Way we Worked." He recently received the local level Khol's Scholarship award.

Julia D.

Julia, from Santa Barbara, California, is passionate about social change and educational reform. Previously, she served as the president of Finding Common Ground; an international business that works with students in Paraguay to support a quadruple bottom line. She hopes to engage others in social action and lead humanity to a better tomorrow. Recently, she was given the title of COO of her Roots & Shoots group, the Dons Net Café, and was named the Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara.

Kye M.

Kye is the Founder and President of a nonprofit that benefits youth locally, nationally and globally called KYE-YAC, International. Kye started KYE-YAC at the age of 9. He and his board donate and volunteer to organizations that positively affect the lives of young people in areas such as hunger, literacy, abuse, pet therapy, education and global awareness. They have donated almost a half of a million dollars to charity in the past 6 years. Kye is an animal lover. His dogs are therapy dogs and he breeds panther chameleons. Volunteering with his peers has led to some of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

Laura F.*

Laura (Laurie) founded Tasting Freedom, a human trafficking awareness initiative focused on connecting like-minded people with the hope of having a bigger impact. In the past, she has held human trafficking awareness seminars and marches in several states and countries, and she wishes to continue spreading this project. She has also completed projects related to the environment, poverty, and animal welfare. Laura was on the high school council for two years, and this is her first year on the college council.

Madeline E.

Madeline (Mady) is currently a Senior from Massachusetts and a member of the National Honors Society. She is a recipient of the Girl Scout's Gold Award. For this award, she has aligned herself with Mass Audubon Society and has been an active contributor to increasing environmental and wildlife awareness on Cape Cod. She has also started an initiative to increase awareness about over-hunting; to do this she is setting up camera traps in western Massachusetts and hopes to get footage of bobcats. Mady is the president of her school's environmental club and hopes to broaden the impact small-scale projects can have on her local community.

Madison Justine M.

Madison lives in Huntington Beach, California. She is passionate about protecting sharks and their oceans. She launched and a shark adoption program, where all proceeds go directly to filming a documentary and an elementary school outreach campaign. She dreams of an ocean thriving with life again. Madison is a youth ambassador for One Ocean Diving.

Mariah L.*

Mariah is currently a freshman at Wellesley College, interested in Political Science and Economics. She is the co-founder of Kindling Hope, an international organization dedicated to helping schools in developing and third-world countries advance using education as a tool for sustainable development, active in Ethiopia and Algeria. Mariah also serves on the youth board of the OMEGA Global Initiative and hopes to one day serve in public office, giving a voice to underrepresented communities.

Molly P.

Molly is the Founder and Director of Raleigh Aquatic Turtle Adoption (RATA) in Raleigh, North Carolina. RATA has three purposes: to re-home unwanted pet turtles (especially the invasive Red-eared slider), to fundraise for conservation organizations through the sale of Molly's Turtle Soap, and to encourage the next generation of STEM leaders through STEM Leadership Camp. Molly is a volunteer at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and this is her third year on the Council.

Nathan N.

Nathan lives in Los Angeles, California. He cares deeply about preserving the beauty of the environment and has been working alongside some friends on implementing beautification projects around his neighborhood. They hope to encourage a decrease of litter and an increase of community pride. Nathan aspires to create an action plan, or model, that anybody from anywhere can utilize to make their communities beautiful.

Olivia C.

Olivia lives in Kingston, Massachusetts. She is passionate about the environment, especially the effects of climate change. She leads several clubs at school including robotics and set design and also co-leads the school's Roots & Shoots group. Her goal is to make the world a little bit better with every action she takes. Olivia enjoys art, theater, and science. Her biggest achievement yet is winning third place in the U.S. in a computer science competition.

Paavo D.

Paavo is a Roots & Shoots leader from Bayport, Minnesota. He has been involved in many volunteer projects. Currently his passion is protecting, preserving, and cleaning up freshwater lakes and rivers. Paavo was co-leader in the construction of a frog pond and butterfly garden in a local park. He has been a volunteer for Our Community Kitchen which is a donation-based breakfast program focused on sustainable eating. He is a musician and hopes to one day increase awareness of environmental and social issues through his music. 

Raquel I.*

Raquel is a co-founder of Greenwich High School's Roots & Shoots club in Greenwich, Connecticut. Greenwich Roots & Shoots has completed several high-impact service projects including the building of a well and school in Mali. The group also works on various projects ranging from making friendship bracelets for students in Haiti to creating text books for students in Mali to their school's annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, feeding over 250 families in Greenwich, Connecticut. Raquel was also a presenter at the 2015 TEDxBuffalo Youth conference.

Reese A.

Reese is the co-founder of Upstream, a program for middle school boys that teaches global awareness and engagement strategies. Reese is Vice President of her school's Key Club and the Senior Give Back Coordinator for the National Honors Society. She is committed to community service, locally and globally. With the organization ThinkPeace Workshop, she works with youth from the US to Europe to India on girls education, empowerment and climate change issues. Locally she is a Special Olympics volunteer, the Group Leader for Dance for Kindness, a technology advisor to senior citizens, and a teen volunteer at a homeless shelter.

René J.

René is the president of her Roots & Shoots club with over 100 members at her high school. She is passionate about a variety of causes and has organized annually: community-wide food drives for a local food bank averaging around 6,000 items per drive, hand making 200 Valentine’s Day cards for the elderly, raising money and awareness for endangered species and the protection of their habitats, and assisting with chess instruction at the local Boys & Girls Club. René is also the president of the Come Together Club and on the Abilis Youth Board which support members of the community with developmental disabilities. René has received her school’s Community Service Award twice, is a black belt in Taekwondo, plays the bassoon, and is part of student government.

Sophia H.

In her community, Sophia can be found practicing golf for her varsity team, performing research in biochemistry and molecular genetics, and volunteering. As an Outreach Team member of ProjectCSGIRLS and as President of her high school’s Code Club, she hopes to increase the number of young people interested in computer science. This past year, she was named a Cisco Internet of Things World Forum Young Women's Innovation Grand Challenge Finalist and a #include Fellow for her efforts. This is Sophia’s second year on the NYLC.

Stephanie V.

Stephanie is very passionate about the environment and has been conducting scientific research on water quality for the past two years. She competed at ISEF where she was selected for a special award in water technology from the King of Saudi Arabia. She loves to spend time outside kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, and cliff jumping, and she does her part to raise awareness about the importance of preserving our environment by getting her friends together to clean up garbage. Her biggest hope is for people to recognize how important the environment really is and to treat it with respect.

Tejaswi P.

Tejaswi strives to make positive change in her community and in the world. Tejaswi is a president of the Do Something Club and member of Model United Nations, Mock trial, poetry slam, latino dance and also plays soccer and rugby for the high school team and for the Maryland State Rugby team. Tejaswi became the state finalist from Maryland in the Letter About Literature competition (LAL) and has been recognized by the International Nepali Literary Society (INLS), the American Nepal Society (ANS) and by the the Embassy of Nepal.

Yanni P.

Yanni is the leader of a Roots & Shoots group in Kingston, Massachusetts. He has lead projects including beach cleanups, horse farm cleanups, fundraising for food for the homeless, assisting at a local organic farm, volunteering at hospitals, and can and bottle drives for the poor of Santo Domingo. He has a beloved dog named Kimi and a pet turtle name Louis Johnathan the Second. He runs Cross Country and Track and plays the piano.

Yihan W.

Yihan (Wendy), from New Jersey, is passionate about the diverse wildlife species and the incorporation of plants and gardens into our increasingly modern society. She serves as the editor for a Curious Young Writers team that publishes stories to inform the public about new scientific advances. Through Roots & Shoots, Wendy hopes to conduct more impactful projects, such as raising more awareness for the STEM fields. She has received the Presidential Volunteer Gold Award for her involved participation in orchestra and the National Top 10 Winner Award for Celebrating Art Contest.

Zoe P.

Zoe's Roots & Shoots group, Team Marine, focuses on the issues of climate change, ocean acidification and plastic pollution. Team Marine recently received a Commendation from the City of Santa Monica, after Zoe and two others won first place at the Los Angeles County Science Fair for the project on Cigarette Accumulation and Mitigation in Santa Monica. Zoe is also a Girl Scout who just received her Gold Award for the project "Reducing Straw Pollution", which is continuing through a new Roots & Shoots group and high school club with the same name. The project aims to address the issue of plastic pollution by focusing on the overconsumption of plastic straws.


     *Indicates a member of the NYLC who was invited to continue to serve for 1-2 years during college.