Vasi and her brother are addressing both environmental sustainability and the needs of underprivileged children, while also building a scalable model for social change that involves other teenagers.
(PRWEB) April 19, 2015
Vasiliki Argeroplos (Vasi), a sophomore from Woodbine, Md. who attends Garrison Forest School, was named a Distinguished Finalist for the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in Maryland and won a President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award is one in a long line of honors Vasi has received for her work with Okay to Play, a non-profit she started with her brother that uses proceeds collected from recycled electronics to fund toys, books and sporting goods for children in hospitals, orphanages and foster homes.
In 2010 Vasi, then age 12, and her brother Niko created Okay to Play after watching a documentary about children in foster care and noticing the lack of toys for the children in the program. Together, Vasi and Niko collect used electronics and sell them to a recycling company, using the funds to help create a happier environment for children in need.
Since starting Okay to Play, Vasi has raised $50,000 for the organization, distributed hundreds of toys to children both in the United States and Afghanistan and Greece and helped keep an estimated 2,000 used electronics out of landfills. She has also organized seven other teenagers in five other states to run Okay to Play in their areas. Her next goal is to raise $100,000 to build a playground for a Baltimore-area foster home.
"The most impressive thing about Okay to Play is that it uses social entrepreneurship to tackle societal issues on multiple fronts,” says Garrison Forest Head of School Dr. Kim Roberts. “Vasi and her brother are addressing both environmental sustainability and the needs of underprivileged children, while also building a scalable model for social change that involves other teenagers. We are so proud of her!"
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. The Awards program also distributes President’s Volunteer Service Awards on behalf of President Barack Obama to students who qualify based on the number of volunteer hours they have completed. In addition to her Spirit of Community Award and President’s Volunteer Service Award, Vasi was selected in 2012 by Central Maryland Junior Achievement to participate in a national video and has been nominated for the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.