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Power of Children Award Winners: Life Initiative for Technology

Every year since 2005, The Children’s Museum has recognized incredible youth who have impacted their communities with extraordinary service. The Power of Children Awards, inspired by the Power of Children: Making a Difference exhibit, awards these winners with a partial university scholarship to IUPUI, UIndy, or Butler University along with a $2,000 grant to continue their philanthropic projects.

  • Eric Li
  • Grade 11 
  • Hometown: Manvel, TX
  • Project: Life Initiative for Technology

Assisting his older sisters with their non-profit efforts at the age of seven, Eric Li is no stranger to the time, hard work, and dedication it takes to help others around the world. 

Even before he was assisting his sisters with the We Care Act disaster relief, Eric had a fascination with recycling. He set up a recycling program in his household. After working with his sisters in disaster relief, he noticed that despite immediate needs, the kids he helped had more concern for their future, lacking the resources necessary to thrive. 

With 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste generated per year, it didn’t take long for Eric to connect the dots. Equipped with the classic idiom, Eric created and executed a framework that turned trash into treasure. 

In 2014, Eric created LIFT, a project that recycles and refurbishes electronics for students around the world. He ran a survey, gave presentations about recycling online or at local organizations, and even taught others how to refurbish electronics. From there he initiated two non-profits, trained several youth groups in Chicago, Boston, and California, and created videos to establish the project’s presence further in other countries. 

This project has kept more than 7,400 pounds of electronics out of landfills, and unlocked the world for multitudes of people in this country and others. “In many of the schools where I delivered electronics, students had never seen a computer before so the existence of this technology is an eye-opening excitement for the students in Nicaragua, Nepal, and South Sudan,” said Eric.

His school guidance counselor, Connie Clark, said, “Eric takes recycling and re-use to heart; he will do everything in his effort to save our planet.” With his award money, Eric plans to strengthen his efforts by reducing the waiting list of schools in need of computers and upgraded software.

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Power of Children Awards