A budding environmentalist, Millikan High School junior Isaiah Williams has done enough earth-friendly deeds to make Al Gore green with envy. The Los Angeles Lakers recognized his good work by giving him a Community Champion of the Month award on the Staples Center court during halftime at a recent Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings game.
“It was very exciting. I was in the center of the court. It was something I’ll never forget,” he said.
Isaiah has been a part of the Grades of Green Youth Corps Eco-Leadership program for more than three years. The nonprofit Grades of Green organization provides schools with free access to tools and information to help students care for the environment.
Over the past several years, Isaiah has led Grades of Green activities, including the installation of a bluebird-friendly garden at Hughes Middle School, where he gave a presentation on native birds to fellow students. He once hosted a birdwatching event at the Dominguez Gap Wetlands, and he has partnered with the creative writing club at his school to create a book featuring poems and student crafted artwork to celebrate local birdlife. He also created a custom coloring book called “Danny the Dolphin,”which he printed and gave to students to teach them about ocean pollution and how they can prevent it.
His interest in the environment started when he joined the Green Team at Hughes. The Green Team supports environmental service projects among students and helped Hughes to win a National Green Ribbon award for environmental excellence in 2013.
“I ended up really enjoying the Green Team,” he said. “It opened my eyes about what was happening in the environment, and I guess the passion grew from there.”
Grades of Green partners with Green Teams at several local schools, sponsoring an annual trash-free lunch contest and other activities. Schools donate uneaten food to local shelters daily, and they compost fruit and vegetable scraps on campus, in some cases reducing waste by as much as 90 percent.
Learn more about Grades of Green at gradesofgreen.org.