An Eagle Scout Gets His Neighbors On Board With Composting

Fifteen years ago, Edward Maddalena was in the final stages of becoming an Eagle Scout. He spent the majority of his youth in the Boy Scouts, but in order to achieve his ultimate goal of Eagle Scout, he had to complete one final leadership project. “The aim is to lead a group of other scouts and adults and bring them all together to accomplish a shared goal of creating positive change in the community,” Edward says. 

Inspired by the “leave no trace” tenet he learned during his time in the Scouts, for his final project, Edward decided to conduct an Environmental Awareness Fair for his neighbors in Brooklyn. “I wanted people to know we can do simple, small things in our own backyards and still bring about big change.”

The event (and the planning that went into it) involved many moving parts. Edward wanted to provide handouts with information about climate change, environmental sustainability, and list ways for people to take direct action. In addition to educational handouts, a core part of the Fair involved purchasing reusable tote bags to share with attendees, in order to help the community cutback on consumption of plastic bags. 

“That’s where ioby came in! We needed a way to purchase totes for everyone who came, because that’s how we were going to make a difference. I heard about this organization that was working to support environmental projects in Brooklyn, so I reached out.”

Edward alongside ioby Co-founder Erin Barnes at the Environmental Awareness Fair in 2008.

Within a week, Edward launched his project with a modest budget of just $150. As soon as his page was live, he began the process of reaching out to everyone he could. “Be prepared to ask 1,000 people, have 100 people interested, and 1 person who is able to actively commit. It takes time and effort, but it really is worth it. You never know who your biggest supporters will be, so it’s important to involve everyone!”

Two weeks after starting his campaign, Edward met his goal and was able to purchase reusable bags for all event attendees, as well as several pizzas to share with his neighbors on the day of the event. Ultimately, the event was a smashing success!

When thinking on the lasting impact of his ioby project, Edward says the Environmental Awareness Fair kicked off a lifelong appreciation and love for volunteer work in his neighborhood. “I’m still involved in bringing about civic change, thanks to this project and ioby. I volunteer at my local food bank and work on food preparation and delivery. I also do volunteer tax preparation for seniors and low income members of my community every year”  

Edward’s project also had a large impact on ioby as an organization, because his project was the first ioby project ever! “I will never forget how excited ioby was to have this be the first project. They used lots of exclamation points in their emails and were overjoyed to help me reach my goal! It’s really cool to think about how ioby’s platform and the projects have grown in the past 15 years since my project. ioby is so important because it shows you really can make such a big difference in your community, even with just a couple hundred bucks and some pizza boxes.”

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