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Saturday, Jul 26, 2014
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Five questions with Stephanie Armenia, children’s author

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Today we chat with Stephanie Armenia of Lutz who self-published “When Will We Be Recycled, Momma?” The children’s book was inspired by Armenia’s daughter, Juju, who, at age 5, presented mom with a plastic water bottle she “rescued” from the trash. “This is my friend Jack! He has a dream! He wants to be recycled into a spaceship and blast off to the moon! We need to recycle him right now!” Juju told her mother. The storybook and accompanying Teacher’s Activity Guide are the foundation of One Bottle One Dream’s conservation/education project.

Q: Would you describe your program’s progress since the district launch at McKitrick Elementary on Nov. 15, 2011?

Answer: It has been a labor of love! Finding caring sponsors to gift “school bundles” to schools and camps across Florida has given the project great momentum and tremendous growth in both public and private schools in and out of the state of Florida.

Q: I understand your book is approved by Hillsborough County schools and that 194 elementary schools each will receive a sponsored “school bundle” of four storybooks and one PDF Teacher’s Activity Guide?

Answer: Yes. It’s called the School Bundle Project. Local business and families can sponsor a school for $39.99. We still need sponsorships for the last 35 schools. On March 22, all Hillsborough County elementary principals will be invited to attend a giveback at the Glazer Children’s Museum to pick up their sponsored school bundle and take the recycling vow to “do their part!”

Q: Do you find your target audience, preschool through third grade, is well versed in the importance of recycling?

Answer: Most students are familiar with the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), however not every student feels personally responsible for their own waste. This project brings recycling to life through hands-on games and crafts to show kids how their decisions are impacting the world and how to take personal action ... .

Q: Taking questions from students at many elementary schools, you must get a few doozies. Can you share one?

Answer: The one that stands out came from a boy in (preschool): “I don’t want to be thrown in the trash,” he cried! “No more throwing away plastic Jacks,” he yelled to his friends. His name was Jack, just like the storybook character that gets rescued from the trash by Juju. The message? Be responsible. That’s how change happens, one voice at a time.

Q: How can people contact you to become involved with the One Bottle One Dream movement?

Answer: Direct any questions or comments to OneBottleOneDream@Verizon.net Our goal is to find passionate families and companies to sponsor schools and camps across Florida with a School Bundle for $39.99. Log onto www.OneBottleOneDream.com to sponsor a school and keep Jack’s dream alive.

George Wilkens

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