What started off as a good deed transformed into a whole movement for 13-year old Nadia Sparkes.
Every day, before and after school, the Norfolk native would collect trash and recyclables in her bicycle basket. After some time, she’d been able to collect over 3,000 liters of litter!
Though, her care for the planet didn’t translate so well with her classmates. Students at her school began to call her “Trash Girl” for her noble commitment and began to bully her so bad that she had to change schools.
The event did not faze Sparkes; she turned to social media, created a Facebook page, and amassed more than 6,000 followers who share in her cause.
Many members of the “Team Trash Girl” group support Sparkes and her passion, citing her as an inspiration for other individuals in the community to begin picking up litter as well.
Sparkes’ story went viral and she soon began to be recognized by international organizations like Greenpeace and WWF. Her mother, Paula Sparkes, has said that her daughter “could own ‘Trash Girl’”.
And own it she did.
In 2019, at 13 years old, Sparkes was awarded the Points of Light award by the Prime Minister for her efforts in keeping Britain and the environment clean.
Once she began to become recognized as a leading force in environmental awareness, the bullying had stopped. “It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as what you’re doing, you know is the right thing,” Sparkes said.
Now, Sparkes has been widely considered a hero to others and is focused on continuing to inspire other young members of the community to join in on her cause.
She is fortunately attending a different school, one that supports her endeavors. “All the volunteers look forward to working with her as we all set a sound example about respecting the environment and living more sustainably,” schoolteacher Matt Willer said on creating an allotment project in partnership with the teen.
In the face of struggle, this young girl was able to push for what she believed in. You go, Nadia!