IY Member Matthew Evans wins $40,000 for his non-profit!
Matthew Evans, a member of the Inconvenient Youth Advisory Board and founder of Discover Green – a non-profit in Pflugerville, Texas – recently won $40,000 from the JCPenney Cares campaign. The 17-year-old took third place in the community service and essay competition, beating out 800 essays to make it to the final round. Matthew’s money is divided between a $20,000 college scholarship and $20,000 that he can donate to the charity of his choice.
For his essay about community service, Matthew wrote about his work with Discover Green, the environmental non-profit organization that he founded in the greater Austin area.
“Discover Green came to be as a result of several successes and failures as a teen who wanted to do community service. I started a Kids Care Club when I was 11 and from 13 to 15 years old I tried to find various projects that we as a club could do without being 18,” Evans explained.
In August 2008 Matthew held his first “Teen Green Party with a Purpose” in conjunction with his birthday. Teens in his club came together to celebrate, learn about climate and environmental issues, eat local, organic food, and plant trees in Matthew’s hometown of Pflugerville. Since then, Discover Green has held over 200 events, 50 Teen Green Parties with a Purpose, engaged 1,100 local youth to provide 3,800 community service hours, and has been recognized by national and local organizations including Keep America Beautiful and the US Green Building Council.
With the half of his winnings to go to the charity of his choice, Matthew will continue his work with Discover Green. “With the JCPcares grant, Discover Green will be supporting the eco-inspiration coach training while going green by doing the training through international ‘webinars.’ We are also excited to support start-up events with this money. We also have plans to work with early childhood programs on a ‘Sapling Party with a Purpose’ and with youth who have deployed parents through an ‘Old Oak Tree’ project,” Evans said.
“I believe that youth can make a difference and that it is best to do the project and then reflect and eat food. This creates a sense of community and fun, and that is the basis of Discover Green.”