Thursday, December 9, 2021

A Story of Youth Volunteerism

What impact can you make during a worldwide pandemic?  Let us tell you about two very productive youth, who went above and beyond.  Emma (17), and David Wiser (20), both from Paramus, have been very busy during the time of COVID-19 in trying to clean up our local rivers, hiking trails, and streets.  Having caught the trash clean-up bug from the Hackensack Riverkeeper volunteer organization, they have logged over 130 hours of volunteering in the last 12 months.  In addition to paddling on a canoe and kayaks to clean up the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, Emma and David have also performed over 50 miles of hiking along our neighborhood roads, parks, and trails to remove the trash buildup.  Mostly they are finding plastic bottles, masks, and gloves, but they are also finding crazy things that have been thrown away so there’s a competitive game as to who finds the weirdest stuff on each trek.  In 2021 alone, they youth have removed a total of 548 shopping bags of garbage!

Being stuck in the house and attending school remotely was extremely hard for both youth.  David is attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) as an Aerospace Engineer, and Emma is a senior in Paramus High School, who is currently applying to West Point Military Academy (among other schools).  Emma volunteers in a number of organizations such as the H.O.P.E. (Helping Our Planet Earth) club and Boy Scouts of America as a Venturing Crew 1204 scout.  She hopes to take her passion about the environment to study Environmental Sciences as a career.