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Green Apple Day of Service

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Last week, I was able to visit one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to make an exciting announcement, recognizing the Green School in Bali as USGBC’s “2012 Greenest School on Earth.” The school has some incredible features, such as structures made from environmentally friendly bamboo, solar energy, and vortex hydro technology projects to remove the school entirely off the grid, bio-intensive farming around campus to raise organic food and so much more. The Green School is a reflection of the values of the Balinese people, an inextricable tie to nature, a true appreciation of the earth’s beauty and a fertile environment for most anything (and in this case children) to grow.

One of the things that most impressed us about the Green School was its commitment to giving back to the local Balinese community – the school offers an Indonesian Scholarship Program, which provides almost 100 percent financial support for local children to attend. The school is the way that famous jeweler John Hardy elected to give back to a country that had made his business so successful. The school is in and of itself an act of service.

This, and so many other actions by parents, teachers and students around the world have become inspiration for us. We wanted to find a way to bring together the people who care about our schools and making them healthier, more sustainable learning environments. So we are calling on volunteers to come together for one day to join us for the first ever Green Apple Day of Service.

On Sept. 29, 2012, we anticipate more than 2,500 service projects led by more than 20,000 volunteers, will take place around the world to further advance the Center’s mission of green schools for everyone within this generation. This event will bring together individuals and communities to make changes in their schools and surrounding areas, and there are plenty of ways for you to get involved with this effort leading up to and on Sept. 29.

Perhaps you and your kids want to clean up your school grounds. Or maybe you work for a large company where the employees want to commit to help an elementary school plant a garden or initiate a recycling program. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to check out our event website, www.mygreenapple.org to search for events near you, register your own activity, invite your friends and family to participate and sign up to receive more information as we move closer to the date. And don’t forget to share your idea with us through social media using the hashtag #greenapple and by visiting the Center for Green Schools Facebook page and adding the event to your calendar.

The Green Apple Day of Service is driven by individuals like you – if one in every 10 Parenting magazine readers hosted their own service project at their children’s schools, we could increase the number of projects by hundreds of thousands. So brainstorm a service idea, grab some volunteers and join us in starting what is sure to be a national movement. We can’t wait to have you on board.

Rachel Gutter is the director of the Center for Green Schools and is an experienced teacher and green building consultant.  

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