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“It Inspires Us to Keep Going”:
Recent Winners Reflect on What it Means to Win the Barron Prize

by | Oct 22, 2019 | Barron Prize Winner, Guest Post

In the month since announcing our 2019 winners, we’ve heard from many of them about the impact of winning the Prize. We asked several if they’d share their thoughts for this blog. Here are their reflections on winning the Prize and what it’s meant to them and their work.
Winning the Barron Prize has meant so much to my brother Matty and me. We were so excited to get the winner’s package in the mail and could hardly believe it was real! It means a lot to be recognized. In school there are grades and sports where you know if you win or lose but when you’re trying to do something like save a bird species, there isn’t that constant feedback. We just keep doing it every day, not knowing if we’re making a difference or if it really matters. It can be hard to stay motivated to keep going because the task feels so overwhelming and never-ending. But when we see our story written in a national magazine because of the Barron Prize and the attention it brings to our cause, it inspires us to keep going. It’s like winning the Super Bowl!

Co-Founder – The Blue Feet Foundation
Raising money for scientific research on the Blue-Footed Booby population decline in the Galapagos

Being one of the winners of the Barron Prize has been absolutely incredible! It’s amazing to think that what I have been doing really is making a difference and inspiring others. After the award was announced, I was featured in The Washington Post. My mom told me it was one of the most-read newspapers in the area and I was really nervous (but also excited!) to be seen by so many people. A follower of our Facebook page reached out after reading the article with her 8-year-old granddaughter. She said her granddaughter was inspired by my story!

Winning the Barron Prize has really motivated me because it helps me realize that what I’m doing is important and big. I would love to be able to mentor young kids because my goal is to inform kids that they can really make a difference when they are young and that they don’t have to be an adult to follow their dreams. I was very proud to be able to donate $250 of my Barron Prize award money to the Dian Fossey Fund, and $250 to the Ellen Fund. I am very excited to see where connections that I have made with other winners takes me!

Founder – Gorilla Heroes
Raising money for gorilla conservation

Receiving the winner’s package definitely gave me a great feeling of gratification. Although I don’t work for awards, it was certainly exciting to be recognized in such a grand fashion. The publicity is mind-blowing! My Barron Prize recognition is definitely a tangible reminder of how important my work is to others. It drives me to introduce new activities and to continue to improve current ones.

Founder – Ball4Good
Supporting communities through sports

Winning the Barron Prize has meant so much to me, and I’m honored to be a part of this prestigious community. While this opportunity has given me both funding to help further my environmental initiatives, as well as a remarkable amount of credibility (and I feel humbled by my peers), most importantly, this has given me a platform to spread the word about the problem of microplastics in the ocean. I believe that we need to work on getting more people involved, not only with clean-up and single-use plastic prevention efforts, but also encouraging young students, like myself, to engage in some form of project-based learning.

The Barron Prize and all the amazing things that come with it has opened doors for me to inform more people around the world about this problem. I hope my message reaches more communities of people who can get involved, with not only the issue of microplastic pollution, but also to work together to solve the global crises that are facing all of us right now.

Founder – Deep Plastics Initiative
Preventing and cleaning up ocean plastics pollution

I felt very humbled when I opened my prize package. Seeing the plaque with my name on it was surreal. The entire experience has been very encouraging. The Barron Prize has challenged me to continue to have a positive impact on my community and to lead others to do the same. It is so amazing to be recognized for the work I have done and it inspires me to rise up to that title of ‘young hero.’

Co-Founder – Meating the Need for Our Village
Providing high-quality, youth-raised food to low-income families

“Though the things I do every day are about service and not recognition, it does feel good to have our hard work noticed. It’s my hope that recognition of Meating the Need for Our Village means more youth around the country will be inspired to impact their communities in their own way.”

Co-Founder – Meating the Need for Our Village
Providing high-quality, youth-raised food to low-income families

Winning the Barron Prize exemplifies the philosophy deeply entrenched in my work: to uplift and inspire young people and let them know that age should never be a limit to passion. My nonprofit’s work revolves largely around the idea it is never too early (or too late) to make a difference, and that people should be defined by what they have done, rather than what they haven’t. Winning the Barron Prize has reminded me that I can define myself as more than just a being, but rather a being with something to say, something to offer to others. Receiving this recognition doesn’t just mean success for me but for all those that I represent, all of us who are affected by climate change and who choose to act. Yet, this award has also humbled me because it has reminded me that I still have so much to learn about the world around me and that I can always fight to be better, to do better.

I would have thought that my passion for what I do had already reached its peak, but I have seen that passion is a complex, multifaceted flame that needs courage to ignite it and perseverance to keep it burning. The Barron Prize and the emotions it has brought me have done nothing but feed that fire, to keep me acting, to keep me learning, to keep me fighting. I will use this award to fuel my work even more, because investing this money into my nonprofit means investing it into a future that many of us hope to see.

Founder – back2earth
Working to reduce the amount of food waste in landfills