Shreya Ramachandran, 14, of California, has been chosen to receive The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes 2018, an award that celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from across the U.S. and Canada. Ramachandran is the founder of The Grey Water Project.
Established in 2001 by author T. A. Barron, the Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and the environment. Fifteen top winners each receive $10,000 to support their service work or higher education.
Shreya Ramachandran founded the non-profit Grey Water Project to promote the safe reuse of grey water, along with water conservation, as a way to address drought. Her outreach includes curriculum for elementary students and a partnership with the United Nations’ Global Wastewater Initiative. The Grey Water Project, a non-profit that promotes the safe reuse of grey water and water conservation, as a way to address drought.
Shreya works tirelessly to educate others about grey water – the gently used water from household sinks, showers, and laundry – and to remove the stigma that it is unclean and unusable, the Barron Prize said.
She has learned the California Plumbing Code and conducts seminars to show others how easy it is to build “laundry to lawn” grey water systems using organic detergents such as soap nuts. Soap nuts are a natural berry shell that release soap when placed in water. They are cost effective as a laundry detergent and are readily available around the world, it added.
Ramachandran began her work with painstaking research on the environmental safety of soap nut grey water, concluding after three years that it doesn’t harm soil, plants, or aquatic life. She is now collaborating with several California water agencies to promote grey water reuse, the organization said.
She has earned numerous awards for her work, including the President’s Environmental Youth Award, and was invited to partner with the United Nations’ Global Wastewater Initiative, it added.
She is currently developing a grey water curriculum for elementary students to teach water conservation and the idea that small actions can make a huge difference. “I’ve learned that even though I am young, I can make a positive impact in my community,” said the teen. “If I want to change something, I have to go out and make that difference instead of waiting for someone to do it for me.”
Since its inception, the Barron Prize has honored nearly 450 young heroes and has won the support of Girl Scouts of the USA, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, and the National Youth Leadership Council, among other organizations. The Barron Prize welcomes applications from young people residing in the U.S. and Canada. The online application system for 2019 opens January 7th and the deadline for entries is April 15th. For more information, please visit www.barronprize.org.
In addition, T. A. Barron is running a year-long #SparkGoodness social media campaign to recognize everyday acts of goodness. Through October, anyone sharing their good deeds and acts of positivity at www.sparkgoodness.com is eligible to win one of several monthly prizes. At the end of 2018, a Grand Prize winner will be selected from all the winning entries throughout the year.