Kid Power: LED Initiative Helps Kids Raise Money for Schools and Help Their Planet

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Sustainability companies New Wind, LLC and Vet Net Zero, LLC set out to mobilize nation's youth helping them to save their planet and help their schools with a new LED bulb program that could provide millions to U.S. schools and save millions of kilowatt hours.

We want it to be an interactive experience and one where the kids can take away the knowledge they are powerful and can make a significant difference in their world.

Three Tennessee firms, Vet Net Zero and New Wind of Nashville, and LionLux of Memphis, have teamed up creating a new initiative designed to help U.S. schools and youth organizations raise money and also help light the way to a healthier Earth.

The national initiative called Lighting the Way to a Greener Future, will provide LED bulbs to students for fundraising and receive $2 for their schools with each bulb sold. Sharie Derrickson, President of Vet Net Zero, a disabled-veteran-owned business, said the program will empower kids to have some say in their future.

"There are 56 million kids in school in the United States. If each child changes just one standard bulb to an 8.5 watt ETi Forevá bulb, the environmental impact would be historic," she said adding it would mean about 2.5 billion kilowatt hours saved in the United States per year. It is also saving $254 million in electricity costs, and $84 million raised for schools and youth programs. It also means saving more than 46 million seedling trees for 10 years, or 1.5 million acres of trees – the size of Delaware.

To make this program unique and to guarantee its success, the companies chose ETi Solid State Lighting out of Cleveland, Ohio, whose parent company, Elec-Tech International, is the second largest manufacturer of small appliances and LEDs in the world. Many standard U.S. products were made by them for companies such as Black & Decker®, Whirlpool®, Mr. Coffee®, and dozens of others.

New Wind president, Stuart Wiston said, "We are so fortunate to have partnered with ETi Solid State Lighting, They provided us with a bulb they warrantee not only for 3 years or 5 years, but forever. Once the kids sell someone this bulb, if anything ever goes wrong with it – ever -- they replace it."

But kid’s fundraising for their schools is only one part of the program, Derrickson said. "On our website, we have educational materials that the kids, parents, and teachers can use to help educate others on LED technology and why it is not just good for the environment. We show how they also help families financially," she said, adding LED technology is now affordable and reliable, and cuts utility bills significantly. "It is an immediate savings."

The program came after Derrickson was honored at the White House by Pres. and Mrs. Obama for her work in her community as a female military veteran. "They challenged me to continue to serve. I have a teaching degree and understand that we change behavior through education. Children and teenagers are very powerful and I wanted to give them the opportunity to have a say in the future of the planet and also, give them a way to help others save money."

To have a school or youth organization participate, all they do is sign up. Derrickson said the website was developed with kids in mind. "It is about and for the kids. Anyone interested in the program can call or email us through the website. On the site is the curriculum and all materials they need to participate. The kids learn about the technology and then go out, educate others, and then take orders, or people can order directly off the website," Derrickson said.

"Once a month, we will ship the bulbs to the school along with a check for $2 for each bulb ordered," she said, adding the kids sell the bulbs for $10 each, below retail, and $2 of that goes to the school. Schools can do this as well as other youth programs that need to raise funds, Derrickson said. "It is more expensive than candy bars, but doesn’t contribute to obesity or diabetes. The LED is warrantied forever, and it uses less than 1/5 the electricity of a traditional 50-60W incandescent light bulb it replaces, and about 1/3 of a CFL bulb. It is a win for the kids, the schools, the parents, and the planet."

"As a former teacher, I love interacting with children. I want their input. They can reach us through the website at," she said. "I want to impress on the kids that this is their program and their website. I want to take their stories and successes and let others know about it … We want it to be an interactive experience and one where the kids can take away the knowledge they are powerful and can make a significant difference in their world."

Derrickson said she is interested in forming an advisory panel made up of youth who will give input on how to tailor the program and website better for the kids. "I learned from teaching that kids sometimes have the best ideas. This is their program so they need a say. I am looking for volunteers."

Kids, parents, teachers, and the public can reach the program through and on our FB page at, or call (855) 556-3803.

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Rudy Cervantes
New Wind Energy Solutions, LLC/Vet Net Zero, LLC
+1 (615) 730-5492
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