NEW YORK - Spreading the message of eco-friendliness across elementary schools throughout the United States, 12-year-old Riley Hoffer has come to New York this month to visit the Alain L. Locke Elementary School in Harlem.
Young Riley is the spokesperson for CGKidz, the community outreach arm of stainless-steel water bottle maker CynerGreen, Little Rock, Ark.. The Hoffer family-owned company has devoted itself to spreading the word about conservation and environmentally friendly living.
The event opened with a school assembly for the upper grades in which the student listened to a presentation about how they could be more environmentally friendly.
Riley opened the event discussing the three Rs—Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. “I want to talk to you about attitude, the attitude to think green,” she said, adding, “Most of the things that you use today, like light bulbs, newspapers and cardboard boxes can be recycled.
You can do things at home to help out your parents, like separate cans, bottles and newspapers for recycling, and you can join your environmental club at school. Just find a way to get involved because every little bit helps.”
Riley also showed the students how to decorate for Christmas using things that they had around the house, such as colored paper to make origami candy canes and ornaments using CDs.
She showed the students a Rudolph Junior CD ornament and explained the procedure as follows: “He is made out of just a regular CD that I had, some pipe cleaners, jingle bells, googoly eyes, and colorful pompoms that I put all together. If you add a magnet, he can go on the refrigerator.”
Following her demonstration, the students were introduced to teachers from the Gibson Island Country School, Pasadena, Md., which will be providing mentoring and curriculum materials for the Locke school to get it started with its new environmental club. The Gibson school is Maryland’s first certified eco-friendly school.
Vicki Dabrowka, a teacher from the Gibson school, spoke to the Locke students saying, “I thought that maybe we should bring a message from our kids because we have been doing a lot to help the environment over the last couple of years.
We do all the plastic, paper, and cardboard recycling, and we are also recycling glue sticks. We even recycle food and that is called composting which can be a messy job, but we get to keep a lot of those things out of the trash. And so the kids from the third, fourth, and fifth grade wrote some letters and helpful hints that we are going to leave with the school.”
Danelle Hoffer, co-founder of CynerGreen and Riley’s mother, presented the Locke school with an “environmental club in a box,” which contained: green pens, pencils, notepads, an environmental guidebook, and a binder full of letters from students from the Gibson school.
After the assembly, the Hoffers went up to one of the classrooms and worked with the students on making more origami candy canes. During this time, speaking with Mrs. Hoffer, she said the guidebook is “a collection of different projects that they could do. We combined them with projects from what Gibson Island does. There are probably 100 different types of projects, tips, and ideas of how kids can get involved in the community.”
Also as a gift to the students, CGKidz gave a stainless-steal water bottle to every student in the assembly. “Our gift to these kids is not just that club, but that bottle. There is such a message behind that bottle, that we really want them to think about and use in their everyday lives. We are also hoping that it will rub off on their parents.” said Mrs. Hoffer.
All of the bottles were donated to the school by CGKidz. All of the profits that come out of the CGKidz division of CynerGreen, go back into making the bottles that are donated to the schools, according to Mrs. Hoffer.
This school event was brought about in collaboration with PENCIL, New York City-based organization that supports customized relationships between business leaders and principals to inspire innovation and transform public schools, Karasma Media,, a Harlem-based boutique specializing in social media, and Sperling Greene Partners, a Tenafly, NJ-based marketing and public relations company.
CGKidz next stop on its school tour will be Riley’s own school, Cabot Middle School North, Cabot, Ark. Subsequently, CGKidz is in talks to present their message in schools in Oregon and Wyoming.