The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful are teaming up once again to invite 10th -12th grade students from all corners of the state to make a difference in their communities through the Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania program.
The Young Ambassadors program aims to cultivate community stewards and civic leaders by inspiring and empowering young Pennsylvanians to not only keep their neighborhoods clean and beautiful but also become ambassadors for a shared vision of a pristine Pennsylvania. Candidates are expected to be passionate about the environment and committed to fostering a state that shines through volunteerism and leadership.
The program offers high school students a unique opportunity to receive training and connect with industry leaders, state agencies, local media, and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful network. This exposure enhances their leadership and problem-solving skills, preparing them to continue making a positive impact in their communities and beyond.
PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll remarked, “Young people across the Commonwealth are instrumental in the effort to curb litter and environmental degradation, now and in the future. It’s inspiring to see the rising stewards of Pennsylvania’s environment taking on such an active role in clean-up efforts around the state.”
“We are honored to partner with PennDOT for the second year to offer the Young Ambassadors Program. The program exceeded our expectations last year, so we are eager to meet the new slate of students with the passion to implement change in their communities and the commonwealth,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “We hope to not only inspire a sense of community ownership but also highlight the importance of engaging community members, local businesses, and organizations in identifying issues and partnering to find solutions.”
Selected candidates will serve as Ambassadors from October 2023 through May 2024, representing and upholding the mission and values of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. Their responsibilities include attending six mandatory virtual education sessions, conducting a community assessment, creating a summary presentation, organizing and participating in at least one community cleanup event through Pick Up Pennsylvania, and conducting one community education event or activity. Additionally, there will be non-mandatory education sessions covering various topics.
The program will offer participants education and training on topics related to the impact of litter on roadways, litter prevention, waste management and recycling, civic engagement, related public policy, volunteer management, and social media marketing. Moreover, networking opportunities will foster a sense of community within the program and support the professional development of individual students. As an added bonus, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has teamed up with Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, funded by the NiSource Charitable Foundation, to provide Job Shadow Days to select Ambassadors.
The Young Ambassadors program was recommended in the commonwealth’s Litter Action Plan announced by the Governor’s Office in November 2021 and is funded by PennDOT.
Applications for the program are being accepted from August 1 through September 14. A competitive application process will determine the chosen students. Those interested in applying should visit keeppabeautiful.org and navigate to Programs, Education, then Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania. Alternatively, they can contact Kylie McCutcheon at 724-836-4121 x114 or email@example.com.