07-06-14 Co–Host Cassandra Lin –TGIF! Turn Grease into Fuel
In 2008, when I was a mere 5th grade student, I came across the increasingly devastating issue of climate change. I found out that the main cause of this global problem was human consumption of fossil fuels. We
were burning so much coal and oil that our world was, and is, literally heating up. Of course, as a young girl in this big world, I was absolutely horrified. After further research, I discovered that the consequences of climate change were huge – melting ice caps resulting in rising sea levels, countless species such as polar bears forced into extinction. But what did this mean for me? I live in a small coastal town in RI called Westerly, five minutes away from the ocean. If global warming was allowed to continue at its current rate, parts of my own town and many other regions could be eventually submerged underwater! Well, that decided it. I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to try and stop this rising problem.
My next step was to rally my classmates to action. I got together with a group of my friends and we formed a community service team dedicated to helping the community and environment at the same time. We called ourselves the Jr. WIN (Westerly Innovations Network) Team, a name modeled after the original community service team initiated by my older brother. We sat down at a round table, figuring out what we wished to accomplish.
What could we, eight ten-year-olds, do to help solve this issue? We already knew that global warming could be slowed down by replacing fossil fuels with alternative energies, such as biodiesel. Following this, we visited the Energy Solutions Expo at the University of RI, where we found that biodiesel could be produced from waste cooking oil. But what finally brought us to a revelation was an article in the local paper. The article was about a local charity in our area called the WARM (Westerly Area Rest and Meals) Center, which had initiated a campaign titled “One Dollar Makes A Difference”, in which residents donated $1 each week to go towards emergency heating assistance. We were astonished by this realization – people in our own community were struggling to heat their homes in our harsh New England winters. Surely, we thought, we could help these needy families. And then, a solution came to us. This solution became Project TGIF – Turn Grease Into Fuel.
Project TGIF is an innovative system that collects grease, converts it into biodiesel, and then distributes the fuel to local families for emergency heating assistance. To make this project work, we partnered with many companies, such as grease collectors, biodiesel refiners, biofuel distributors and charities that help us identify the needy families. We raised awareness of global warming by handing out 6,300 flyers, 4,500 kitchen calendars, airing a PSA with COX Media and making presentations. Then, we lobbied our Town Council to set up a grease receptacle at the transfer station where residents could recycle their oil. To date, we have set up 10 public receptacles in 6 towns/cities and 2 states. We asked local restaurants to donate their grease to the program. So far, we have 120 restaurants and counting participating. We even drafted and helped introduce a bill in RI, which mandates that all businesses must recycle their grease (the bill was signed into law in July, 2011 and went into effect on Jan 1, 2012). Our project is a win-win situation. The environment wins because we’re using biodiesel, a clean-burning alternative to petroleum-based diesel, to heat homes. By the EPA’s calculations, we’ve offset 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Finally, the needy families win because they’re being provided with heat. We have donated 21,000 gallons of Bioheat (approximately $81,000) to six local charities, allowing 210 families to stay warm in the winter.
Additionally, in December 2012 we launched a campaign titled You Eat, We Donate to help rebuild our local beach after the devastating Hurricane Sandy with the help of several of our corporate sponsors (such as Prudential and Build-A-Bear workshop). In the campaign, we pledged to donate $20 to the Bring Back the Beach fund in our town for every receipt we received from customers dining at TGIF participating restaurants. The response was overwhelming, and we were able to donate $11,000 to the fund in January 2013. So far project TGIF has participants in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts; we plan on expanding project TGIF to all six New England states in the next 5 years.
Our Practitioner: Lora Cheadle
Lora is an AFAA certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise and Yoga instructor. She’s a certified FlirtyGirl Dance Instructor and teaches many different forms of group exercise, virtually guaranteeing a workout that you will love.
She is really able to work magic in her clients’ minds through hypnotherapy, which aligns the conscious desires of the mind with the often out-of-alignment unconscious minds, thus removing mental blocks and clearing obstacles. She was awarded her Certified Hypnotherapist Designation, with Honors, from the Hypnosis Motivational Institute in California in 2008.
Although she grew up being very intuitive and spiritual, in 2010 she had the honor of attending one of Dr. Doreen Virtue’s last life ANGEL THERAPY PRACTITIONER® certification courses. Through this she was able to expand her gifts and intentionally channel the spirit realm, whether through angels, guides, or deceased loved ones.www.pyramidfusion.com