Avery’s Bright Idea
30 Nov 2008
For most people, tackling an issue as big global warming could be seenas quite a daunting challenge. However, the sheer scale of the task didnot perturb Avery Hairston, a 16-year-old schoolboy from New York.
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For most people, tackling an issue as big as global warming could be seen as quite a daunting challenge. However, the sheer scale of the task did not perturb Avery Hairston, a 16-year-old schoolboy from New York. ‘It did not feel right that we (in America) were not doing our part to help the environment’, Avery explains. ‘When I first heard the facts concerning global warming, I knew that something had to be done!’ With this desire to make a difference, RelightNY was born. The premise is simple. Taking the idea that everyone can make a change by doing something small, RelightNY, a charitable organisation, raises money to purchase Energy Saving light bulbs at a discount price for low-income housing tenants.
For Avery, the key to the success of the campaign is to ‘keep the message simple.’ Through this scheme, the people of New York are being motivated to change not just their light bulbs, but their lifestyles too. RelightNY has distributed 30,000 light bulbs (and climbing!) to 2,540 New Yorkers, reducing electricity bills by $100,000 and carbon emissions by 1.5 million pounds. It is Avery’s hope that with the launch of the new website this year that ‘the message of RelightNY can be heard by everyone.
Much emphasis of the RelightNY campaign is on having fun, which Avery attributes to getting his friends from school involved with the project. He also believes that inspiring other young people to raise money is very important. ‘One of our favourite donations’ Avery recalls, ‘was from the Cornelia Connelly Centre, a school that prepares girls from low-income families for high school. They had a bake sale at their school and gave RelightNY over two hundred dollars. Although it was not our largest donation, receiving money from young people is such a motivation for us.’
Avery’s hard work and dedication was recognised by the Do Something’ campaign this year, rewarding his achievements by listing him as a finalist in their 2008 awards.
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