This Power of Children Award Winner Never Stops
The Power of Children Awards at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis recognize students in grades six through eleven for their philanthropic impact. To date, 72 winners have been selected for their dedication to their projects that contribute to changing the world. In 2018, six winners were chosen. One winner, Olivia Russo-Hood, is being acknowledged for her Save the Earth Projects.
A few years ago, Olivia Russo-Hood and her family lost everything to a devastating flood. Cars, homes, schools and belongings were all washed away from many families. Most people would view this tragedy as a total loss, but Olivia gained faith in something better to come. As people she had never met before were willing to help her family and fellow flood victims, she was inspired to help other people she may never meet. She wanted to do something for others and narrowed in on creating a project that benefitted both people and the environment.
Save The Earth Projects is an umbrella over many other projects Olivia has created. One of her most successful projects is Leave a GOOD Footprint, which has collected over 35,000 shoes for people without access to footwear. Roughly 100,000 children pass away annually from infections due to the cuts on their feet—deaths that could simply be prevented with a pair of shoes. Not only do these shoes save lives, but also the environment. Leave a GOOD Footprint has donated 18 ½ tons of shoes—shoes that have now been repurposed. Olivia receives monetary donations from her partners for collecting and donating shoes. She forwards these financial donations directly to different charities. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
More of Olivia’s projects include S.T.E.P. Up to the Plate™ which allows kids to plant gardens in homes or their communities and Thirst Aid Stands which are lemonade stands raising funds for the global water crisis. Olivia is constantly thinking of unique, exciting ways she can support more causes. She also gives speeches to different clubs and entrepreneurs about giving back, but focuses on students her age “since they will be the leaders of our community one day.”
Her personal experience with a natural disaster has given her a flood of new experiences. “I have gained wisdom and stronger leadership skills in public speaking, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility.” Olivia also states that “it is really fun to do something to help others.” She understands how a small project can grow into something bigger and make a global impact. As she realized these things, she also understood she can do anything she sets her mind to, which makes her unstoppable.