Kids like Veronika Copping make us optimistic about the future. So for Earth Day, we present Veronika, the 12-year-old from Surrey, who created the The Juicebox Project to bring awareness to environmental needs. She has raised enough money from returned goods to sponsor over 60 wheelchairs for in-need children in Guatemala. Hear her story below (show your kids).
Veronika is a Barbie™ Super Squad leader here she shares her story to inspire kids from across Canada. The Super Squad Leaders receive a combined $15,000 to support their causes to help continue their incredible work.
We asked Veronika a little bit about what she’s all about:
1) At what moment did you realize you wanted to make a difference in this way?
When I was little, my mom worked full-time and my grandparents were my daycare. I would often go with my Opa (Grandpa) to collect wheelchairs and other mobility aids. As I grew up, I learned a lot about Guatemala and how they needed help. In grade 1, I was upset to find juice boxes in the garbage because I knew they were worth 5 cents. So that is when I got the idea to collect the juice boxes and donate the money to pay for wheelchairs for kids in Guatemala.
2) And how/where did you get support to move forward on it?
In grade 1, I asked my teacher if I could start collecting the juice boxes for my class, she and the principal said yes. When I started grade 2, my grade 2 teacher was so impressed by what I did in grade 1, that she helped me get the whole school involved.
For my TEDxKids talk in November, I had lots of support come from a teacher in the school district who helped me with making my blurb, video, my talk, as well as coached me through the whole journey. She was also a proud audience participant during my TEDxKids talk.
3) What do get personally out of your work? How does it make you feel?
I personally get the feeling of happiness and joy, because I know that a wheelchair makes a big difference in a child’s life. I get a smile on my face when I see a picture of another child that received a wheelchair because of the juice boxes that have been recycled.
4) How can other kids get involved in the Juice Box project?
If you want to get involved, you can see what your school does with the recycled beverage containers. Kids could also start recycling beverage containers on their own too. Please email me at email@example.com, and I will be willing to help you to get involved.
5) What advice do you have for kids who’d like to make a difference and start their own project?
I want to tell everyone: “That even as kids, we have the power to make a difference.”
If you want to do something, you can make it possible. Start with an idea and see how you could grow that idea to make a difference. They do not have to start a recycling program, but even helping out at home, in their neighbourhood or community would be a good place to start making a difference.
6) What do you like to do in your spare time (or do you have any spare time?)
In the little free time in have, I like to play with my little sister make crafts, and go for walks with my family.
Harriet Fancott is the Editor and Social Media Manager for Vancouver Mom. She has over 20 years experience in the arts, tech and mom-based blogging arenas. She lives in East Vancouver with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring all that Vancouver has to offer from festivals and events to playgrounds and beaches to sushi and ice cream (although not together).