Xavier Imperial and Mark Flores
Teens Xavier Imperial (on right) and Mark Flores are doing their part to pitch in and help the environment through their newly formed group P.I.T.C.H., short for Projects Inspired by Teens Changing Hawaii.
“We decided to start a nonprofit rather than working with another nonprofit because the types of projects we were thinking about were really different,” says Xavier, adding that they are in the process of raising funds to complete the legal formation and filing fees to register P.I.T.C.H. as a 501(c)(3) organization.
Its mission is simple: to help teens develop leadership and management skills while helping the community in which they live. And since the cousins are interested in science - Mark’s favorite subject at school is biology, while Xavier wants to become a veterinarian - they decided P.I.T.C.H.‘s first project would be a recycling campaign.
The two had a booth at the Splendor of China festival last month, where they collected more than 2,300 bottle caps and personally spoke with more than 1,000 people about the danger these tiny pieces of plastic pose to Mother Nature. They then demonstrated just how easy it is to recycle the caps.
“People were surprised to find that bottle caps can be recycled,” Xavier states. “Many people indicated that now that they know where to take the bottle caps, they will start to recycle them. This made us really happy since it seems that the booth was successful in teaching people about cap recycling.”
Next Xavier, 14, and Mark, 16, will be visiting two elementary schools in December to spread their wealth of knowledge and get kids excited about recycling.
“We wanted to work with grade-school students because we thought that some of these habits are best to start when you are young,” says Xavier, a freshman at Maryknoll. Mark is a junior at Punahou.
To encourage students even more, the boys will issue a challenge to see which classroom can collect the most caps. The winners will receive a party, and Xavier and Mark want to start permanent collection bins at both schools.
“We hope that the students will continue to recycle caps even after our contest is done,” Xavier says. “We think this is something any kid can do to help Hawaii. It’s a small change that can make a big difference.”
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