This Independence Day, FOX Fan is honoring modern-day men and women who have devoted their lives to a cause. From feeding
Tessa Hill turned personal tragedy into an opportunity to teach children. Through her organization Kids for Saving Earth, she provides children with the knowledge to get involved in helping to heal our environment.
FOX Fan: Tell us about starting Kids for Saving Earth. Your son, Clint, started the organization, correct?
Hill: Clint was 11 years old and had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He started Kids for Saving Earth because he believed that kids could make a difference and influence adults, particularly their parents, to help save the planet. He also believed that pollution and environmental factors contributed to his illness so that made him even more passionate about cleaning up the planet.
FF: What inspired you to establish it as a non-profit after his passing?
Hill: Upon his death in November of 1989, my husband and I established Kids for Saving Earth as a non-profit in order to carry on Clint’s dream. I came from an education background and my husband worked in advertising, so our collective experience lent itself to this. We started it by reaching out to Clint’s classmates, teachers, and principal at Sunny Hollow Elementary. The school really jumped in, we got some sponsors, and it took off from there.
FF: What is the overall mission of KSE?
Hill: Our mission is to supply teachers and principals with lessons and activities related to the environment that they can incorporate into their curriculum. We do this through books and printed materials, but more and more lately, I have been relying on the internet and adding everything to our website (www.kidsforsavingearth.org). My mission is to turn education into action. Real empowerment comes from action.
FF: What is the most challenging part of your work?
Hill: Money! I’ve been doing this for nearly twenty years, and for the past 15 years, I have been doing it without a salary. I’ll continue to do that, but I do have other staff members who I need to pay. That’s one of the benefits of moving “online”…we don’t have to incur the high costs of shipping.
FF: What inspires you to continue this effort on a day-to-day basis?
Hill: I always think about Clint and his dream. But I also know that there are a lot of Clints out there. Knowing that he is like many others inspires me to continue…to try to help them along as best I can. The best way to do that is through their teachers.
FF: Why is it important to bring this issue to their attention at a young age?
Hill: Because this is habit-forming. First, kids learn that they are strong enough to influence the way adults think from their parents to politicians. But also, they’ll be spreading the message of a healthy Earth throughout their lives.
FF: What is your overall goal? Do you envision yourself continuing to work for this cause for years to come?
Hill: I don’t foresee that I’ll quit. This isn’t the sort of thing you can retire from. I think that the Earth is going to need a lot of attention for years to come.
To learn more about Kids for Saving Earth, click here.
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