Introducing the NEW Roots & Shoots 2020 Youth Leaders!

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Roots & Shoots Youth Program of the Jane Goodall Institute Announces National Youth Council for 2020 

2020 is all about seeing the good all around us, and what’s more filled with good than a group of young change-makers stepping up to become young leaders? This week, Roots & Shoots, a program of the Jane Goodall Institute USA (JGI) founded by Dr. Jane Goodall, has announced their new 2020 youth council! The National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) is a passionate group of young people from around the United States who are dedicated to making positive change happen in their communities–for people, other animals, and the environment we share. We’re proud to announce this year’s 2020 NYLC, a group that includes young people from many backgrounds and skills, representing the best of Roots & Shoots activism, commitment and compassion. 

New Members 

William Charouhis- Miami, Florida- Climate Activism  

Isabel Gray- Washington, D.C.- Climate Change Activism 

Hannah Zhang- Tuscon, Arizona- Sustainable Eating (Vegan), Human Health 

Kate Misher- Los Angeles, California- Gun Violence, Diversity & Inclusion 

Ojas Phirke- Round Rock, Texas-STEM, Environmental Engineering 

Rhea Kripalani- Morganville, New Jersey- Plastic Consumption, Sustainability 

Mingya Wang- Portland, Oregon- STEM, Gender Equality 

Samyukta Iyer- Marietta, Georgia-Advocacy and education for marginalized people (but said better) 

Gabriella Mendoza- Greenwich, Connecticut-Income Inequality, Community Enhancement 

Chloe Ng- Rye Brook, New York- Native Species, school composting 

Mahir Rahman- Kissimmee, Florida- STEM, Equal Access to Medical Care 

Marissa Teitelbaum- Morganville, New Jersey- Environmental Engineering, Environmental Advocacy  

Joseph Zhong- Omaha, Nebraska-Music Therapy 

Returning Members 

Daniel Randall- Sherman Oaks, CA – Green Spaces, Public Lands 

Madailein Gregg- San Marino, CA – Animal Welfare, Gender Equality 

April Zhang- Oro Valley, AZ – Girls in STEM 

Jonathan Lui- Arcadia, CA – Environmental Conservation 

Virginia Johnson- Pittsboro, NC – Environmental Stewardship, Animal Welfare 

Shrida Pandey- Lafayette, CA – Community Building 

Margaret Odom- Kailua, Hawaii – Conservation, Gender Equality 

Nicole Rosenfeld- Weston, MA – Girls Who Code, Girls in STEM 

Rachel Lind- Los Angeles, CA – Education 

Ashley Lin- Vancouver, WA – Entrepreneurial Education 

Noah Weiss- Sherman Oaks, CA – Green Spaces, Public Lands 

Vaidehi Phirke- Round Rock, TX – Environment, STEM 

Olivia Najarian- Dexter, MI – Women’s Access to Education 

Claire Goodowens- Winter Park, FL – Eradication of gun violence 

Kelly Qiang- Marlboro, NJ – Animal Welfare, STEM 

Anna Schilling- Lake Bluff, IL – Environmental Stewardship 

College Council 

Abby Abrahamson- Rehoboth, MA – Fracking, Access to Menstrual Products/care 

Camille Sylvester- Berkeley, CA – Environmental Stewardship 

René LaPointe Jameson- Medford, MA – Environmental and Social Justice 

The NYLC represent the youth voice of Roots & Shoots (and more broadly the Jane Goodall Institute USA) and help to grow engagement by sharing the vision of the program with the world. As a part of the NYLC, members gain professional development and support in further expanding and implementing their service projects, ideas and collaborations. NYLC members are provided with fun and comprehensive skills training including public speaking, storytelling, community mapping and service learning, and more. They also are provided with opportunities to mentor Roots & Shoots members and represent Roots & Shoots at events/conferences nationally and even globally as part of the NYLC Global Roots & Shoots Summit at Windsor Castle. NYLC members gain access to influential leaders, experts, and resources to help them grow their abilities. Through this program, members unleash their potential and become the compassionate leaders the world needs. 

Through JGI’s Roots & Shoots program, Dr. Goodall and JGI empowers young people to improve their communities through service projects, ensuring that they become better stewards of the environment than previous generations. Roots & Shoots exists in over 60 countries around the world and all 50 states, growing a movement that’s good for all.


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The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Communications & Policy Officer at the Jane Goodall Institute, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Biology. She has a varied background including conservation, art, communications, digital media, design, photography, and documentary filmmaking. Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in magic of storytelling to change hearts and minds. Through growing understanding and empathy, she believes it is possible to ignite positive change, every day.