News / USA

    Florida Teen Honored for Conservation Efforts

    Avalon Theisen, 14, of Florida was honored with the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes for her conservation work.
    Avalon Theisen, 14, of Florida was honored with the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes for her conservation work.
    Faiza Elmasry
    In April, Avalon Theisen, 11, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.

    “This year we created something that I don’t think had ever been done before," Avalon says. "We videoed 347 people and one happy dog and created Florida’s largest human frog chorus to raise awareness for amphibian conservation."

    That would be humans making frog-like noises.

    Through her website, and Conserve It Forward, the non-profit she founded two years ago, Theisen raises money for conservation, inspires other kids to take care of the natural world and shares her passion for protecting frogs.

    “I’m always adding new programs to ‘Conserve It Forward’ and looking for new ways to help the environment as well as ways for others to get involved," she says. "Some of my ideas are to start a snake conservation program for little kids, say just from pre-school to second grade. I really love snakes. They are actually my favorite animal.”
    Avalon Theisen, 14, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.Avalon Theisen, 14, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.
    x
    Avalon Theisen, 14, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.
    Avalon Theisen, 14, organized Tampa, Florida’s "Save the Frogs Day" event.

    Theisen's efforts were recognized this year. She is being honored with the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. The annual award, established by children’s book author T. A. Barron, honors young leaders, between eight and 18 years old, who are making a difference in the world.

    Barron says the prize recognizes that even children can make the world a better place. “That’s the truth, but most young people don’t know that or if they heard of it they wouldn’t believe it.”

    That’s why Barron started the prize 12 years ago. The winners receive $2500 to support their education or service project.

    Honorees have to meet certain criteria, according to Barron. That includes a genuine sense of passion about a problem that affects humanity or the environment; a real and lasting commitment to try to make a difference; and effectiveness, measurable results of a project that has actually made a difference.

    The prize is named for Barron’s mother.

    “She was a teacher," he says. "She taught at a Colorado school for the blind. She always believed that every person could somehow make a difference.”

    Like Barron's mother, this year’s honorees have made a difference in a wide range of areas.

    “We have a boy who developed a solar lantern that’s now being used in villages in East Africa, that can light homes effectively and no energy needed," he says. "We have a girl who is developing sustainable farming techniques at her farm. We have a boy who developed puzzles that can help older people with Alzheimer’s to reclaim their ability to remember.”
     
    Barron notes that, although the Young Heroes have different interests and backgrounds, they all possess self-confidence.

    “The one thing that's really in common is a sense of themselves as a bundle of energy that could be turned  toward positive good and help other people” he says.

    And, he adds, they have family support, parents who encourage them to turn their dreams into action, and to realize they really can change the world.

    Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Avalon Theisen was 14 years old. VOA regrets the error.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mark A. Cook from: Dunnellon, Florida, USA
    October 19, 2012 7:04 PM
    While that is a great article about a great young lady, you all have her age wrong. She is 11, a few months short of 12, not 14.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora