Trip, 16, has been named one of Michigan’s top two youth volunteers for 2016. He and Aubrey Spring, 12, of Spring Lake, received The Prudential Spirit of Community Award. In addition, Trip received the President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award gold medal for his efforts.
Along with 101 other top middle and high school youth volunteers from across the country, Trip and his family received a four-day expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. to attend the national awards ceremony and various other celebratory events.
In fact, Trip has been involved in monitoring the water quality of streams and rivers in his area for more than five years. His efforts have earned him an appointment to the youth council of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
“Water quality monitoring and revitalization of watersheds is my passion,” said Trip.
After volunteering for the past two summers for the meet-up, eat-up summer food program for kids in Detroit, he knew he had to do something when he learned that an entire community like Flint had water that was unsafe to drink.
“To me this was a serious situation,” he said. “Flint is an economically disadvantaged area, and is the last community that can afford to switch to bottled water.”
Trip contacted the United Way and the Flint School District to determine the best way to proceed. He then asked his principal for permission to raise money at school. With the support of his school principal, family and friends, he was able to donate over $2,800 to buy bottled water for schoolchildren in Flint. “The students and staff at Skyline were incredibly supportive in helping when Flint wasn’t necessarily a known concern,” said Trip.
Trip said he recognizes that his donation of water will not cure what ails the city’s water supply, and he intends to work toward a long-term solution.
“In the near future, through public and private means, I intend to be part of the solution to revitalize water systems in economically disadvantaged areas like Flint,” he said.
His mother, MariAnn, said she was most impressed with the other kids and families they met in Washington.
“Most of these kids had a long-term commitment serving their communities,” she said. “It wasn’t necessarily the amount of money these kids raised, but instead their motivation, creativity, leadership and personal growth they showed in supporting their causes. These kids were truly inspiring and so enthusiastic about helping others.”
The award is supported by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) who all sponsors the National Honor Society program. There were 29,000 applications and students must be recommended by their school or other certified organizations.