“greeNEWit Sends a Green Message to Kids That Filters Up to the Parents" The Biz Monthly

August 7, 2013 Written by  Comments Print

“We are doing this on the company’s dime; we consider this as investing in the next generation,” said Josh Notes, co-founder of greeNEWit, in Columbia.

Notes is referring to the hour-long presentation he and other staff members made at local Hammond Elementary School, teaching about sustainable energy. During the past school year, they gave this same presentation to more than 5,000 elementary school children.

As the children filed into the gym, “all-star sign spinners,” according to Notes, were demonstrating their twirling skills of arrow-shaped signs to the young students’ “oohs” and “aahs.” Notes then rapped a message about sustainable and renewable energy and efficiency, with the message of using the least to get the most. He started the kids chanting “life, energy, planet, greeNEWit,” with their participation both loud and all-inclusive.

‘OUR’ Environment

This hour-long presentation is only one component of the OUR Schools Program developed by greeNEWit between it and elementary schools with the objective of spreading the message of “Ownership, Understanding and Responsibility” (OUR) to young children.

“We know that a sustainable society has a solid education at its core,” said Notes. “By participating in the OUR Schools Program, students gain the necessary tools to help impact their life, energy and planet for a better future. It is then up to the students to use what they learned to maintain ownership, understanding and responsibility of their life’s energy use and our community’s carbon footprint. OUR program is fun and interactive and we have developed it to use the current curriculum.”
As advertised on the company’s web site, www.greenewit.com, “through this program, we hope to neutralize the carbon footprint of Maryland schools in the next 10 years. We’ll also produce the first generation of truly energy-conscious students, teachers, staff and administration.”

Sally Oswalt, a Gifted and Talented teacher at Hammond Elementary School, said, “we have a green school here so the kids know the words and concept, but we have to do more with the parents. This is a great way to do that and teach the students how being green is used in real life.” According to Oswalt, it is a win/win situation where “we teach about the future and promote a local company.”

To develop the program, Gabe Bustos, greeNEWit’s director of social programs, worked with high school interns during the school year and college student interns during the summer to create the program and curriculum, market it and put together the supply kits.

The supply kits are filled with information about being responsible regarding the environment as well as a packet for parents encouraging them to take a Quick Home Energy Checkup (QHEC), which greeNEWit provides at no additional cost to the family.

The reward comes if a family utilizes greeNEWit’s services by completing a QHEC and, according to Notes, “The branding is great, but it is the simple mind shift — these kids becoming more sustainable-minded at a young age — that is our legacy. It will have a ripple affect across the world.”

Agents of Change and Social Entrepreneurship

In addition to taking their message to the classroom, the three founders of greeNEWit, Notes, Jason Jannati and Matej Harangozo, “encourage social entrepreneurship projects, as well, that [the company’s] Agents of Change Internship program creates and manages on a day-to-day basis,” said Sarah Frye, director of marketing and public relations.

The Agents of Change program, as described by greeNEWit, “recruits high school and college students with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for social change to assist with social media, marketing and development needs. Students get hands-on experience as social entrepreneurs.”

One such project is Cleats for Bare Feet that collects boy’s and girl’s second-hand soccer cleats/athletic shoes and sporting equipment and sends them to disadvantaged youth around the world.

“We believe in the power of soccer as a means of interacting across cultural boundaries and creating community,” said Frye. So far, the initiative has collected more than 6,000 pairs of soccer cleats for distribution among various organizations in Haiti, Kenya, Jamaica, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Senegal, China and the United States.

The Agents of Change program has been very successful in that it provides “a safe place to talk about ideas,” said Gabe Bustos, director of social programs. Bustos started as an intern and then signed on full-time. “It helps when someone nurtures you that you trust.”

Through the program, greeNEWit believes it “provides students with important career skills and instills a passion in them for entrepreneurship and sustainable living. The goal is to create a collaborative working environment that fosters the generation and sharing of ideas.”

Based on its many innovative programs, and the awards and honors the company and its co-founders have received, entrepreneurship is contagious at greeNEWit.

Original Source