A Team of Environmentally Conscious Kids

WHO WE ARE

MEET OUR TEAM

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Olivia

Founder, actress, national and global award recipient, public speaker & social entrepreneur.
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Vincent

S.T.E.P. Up to the Plate founder, midfield and defense soccer champ, Tae Kwon Do red senior & outreach whiz.
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Denise

Mom, author, speaker, coach, administrative social media, event producer.

Who is Olivia?

Olivia is a catalyst for social responsibility. She created S.T.E.P. after having been impacted by a FEMA flood that took away her home, school, belongings and community. Although she experienced homelessness and disaster, she also experienced the good communities can do when they come together for a bigger purpose. That is what birthed S.T.E.P. as a way to give back to communities and to engage people to come up with ways to make this Earth a better place for us all.
Olivia has been featured in blogs, articles, radio interviews, and more. She is a recurring guest of the "Own Your Dreams with Ona Brown" motivational radio show, a guest lecturer for Operation Hope (a part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center) for their adult entrepreneurship classes, and has been a guest speaker for organizations such as C.A.T.A.L.Y.S.T., Junior League of Boca Raton, Rotary Club, several city councils, Global Youth Initiatives with the John Maxwell Team, and much more. Olivia's projects inspire youth and adults to take action in living responsibly locally, raising awareness nationally, and giving globally. You can read more about Olivia on her LinkedIn page

What is S.T.E.P.?

S.T.E.P. is a social responsibility initiative intended to fulfill the mission for everyone to live more responsibly with our resources locally, raise awareness for issues nationally, and whenever possible give back globally through either time, resources, or finances. As the founder, Olivia developed the name, the purpose, the mission, and directs all programs.

Highlights:

The Deltona City Commission, recognizes youth by nomination of teachers for a special award and ceremony held at City Hall.
Olivia was recognized for her outstanding academic achievements in elementary school, but also for her achievements in creating Save the Earth Projects (S.T.E.P.) and raising funds for her school to offer tutoring programs for those with financial needs. This is the year S.T.E.P. officially began

  • The Johana Knox Award, named for one of West Volusia’s best-known volunteers, began in 2009 to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of like-minded volunteers in the community.
  • This year, in honor of the late Johana Knox’s love and commitment to children, the Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Foundation also presented its first-ever youth award to 11-year-old Deltona resident Olivia Rene Russo-Hood. Her passion to improve her community may have been ignited in 2009, after her family’s home was destroyed by a flood. Toward this end, Russo-Hood created Save the Earth Projects (S.T.E.P.) as a youth social entrepreneurship idea organizing social change, according to her nomination.
  • Russo-Hood’s first project was a used-shoe collection and fundraising partnership with Volusia-Flagler Family YMCAs called “Leave a Good Footprint.” She organized a drive that collected more than 1,500 pairs of shoes to be distributed globally, and raised more than $700 for area scholarships to help needy children participate in YMCA activities.
  • “People like Olivia Rene Russo-Hood, and our other outstanding Johana Knox Award nominees have blazed a trail of goodness and leadership to help strengthen our community,” said Ed Noseworthy, President and CEO of Florida Hospital Fish Memorial. “It is our humble pleasure to bring recognition to those who do not seek it so that others may be inspired to follow in their footsteps.”
  • The Y prides itself on the pillars of Youth Development, Social Responsibility, and Healthy Living.
  • "We knew Olivia was a special kid the day we met her,” said Jim Harris, Director of Sports Programs at Four Townes YMCA. “Her passion and respect for the land around her just exudes from her in a way that makes you want to participate,” continued Harris.
  • This award was created to honor Olivia's service to our local, national, and global community. We are very proud to be members of our local YMCA - who was the first partner to Olivia for the "Leave a GOOD Footprint" campaign that raised funds for local sports scholarships, reduced impact of shoes in national landfills, and gave thousands of pair of shoes to those in need globally.

Kohl’s Department Stores’ (NYSE: KSS) Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program honors nearly 200 deserving volunteers with $1,000 scholarships toward higher education. Olivia was chosen with two other youths from the Orlando-area from more than 37,000 nominees nationwide for making a positive impact in their local communities. “Kohl’s is proud to recognize the 182 regional winners nationwide for their dedication to making their communities a better place to live,” said Bevin Bailis, Kohl’s senior vice president, communications and public relations. “We commend these bright volunteers for being inspiring examples for others as they have made a difference in their own communities and touched the lives of others through their efforts.”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States' largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. The program was created in 1995 by Prudential in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to honor middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state, and national level.
The program's goals are to applaud young people who already are making a positive difference in their towns and neighborhoods, and to inspire others to think about how they might contribute to their communities. Over the past 19 years, more than 370,000 young Americans have participated in the program, and more than 100,000 of them have been officially recognized for their volunteer efforts.
Olivia was honored to be in the top 10% of all nominees, and was nominated by community leaders.

 

  • February 2014 - Nominee for the John Maxwell Leadership Award
  • April 2014 - Nominee for the Johana Knox Chrysalis Youth Award
  • March 2015 - Nominee for the Peace First Prize
  • April 2015 - Honoree for the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes
  • May 2015 - Nominee for the Coca-Cola Pay it Forward Academy
  • May 2015 - 2nd place regional winner Science Olympiad "Write it, Do it"
  • January 2016 - Appointed to the National Youth Advisory Committee for generationOn
  • February 2016 - co-captain and 2nd place regional winner, debate "Finding Your Purpose"
  • May 2016 - Presenter Johana Knox Chrysalis Award for Youth
  • May 2016 - Featured in Orlando Family Magazine
  • June 2016 - Visionary Award for the Warrick Dunn Charities Beauty of Business and Giving Community Angels Award
  • June 2016 - 2nd place International Eco-Heroes Award
  • ​July 2016 - Daily Point of Light Award
  • ​August 2016 - Peace Fund Hero of the Week
  • ​January 2017 - President's Volunteer Service Award
  • January 2017 - Prudential Spirit of Community Distinguished Finalist State of Florida
  • March 2017 - 2017 Futurist "The Root"
  • ​November 2017 - Celebrity Educator - Community Educator Award
  • February 2018 - President's Volunteer Service Award
  • February 2018 - Prudential Spirit of Community Distinguished Finalist State of Florida
  • ​April 2018 - Entrepreneurs International - Inaugural Youth Entrepreneur grant recipient
  • April 2018 - Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA)
  • June 2018 - RYLA Inspirational Leadership Award recipient
  • ​July 2018 - 14th Annual Power of Children's Award honoree Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

WHAT WE DO

MISSION & VISION

Living responsibly locally. Raising awareness nationally. Giving globally. Together we can make a BIG difference. One S.T.E.P. at a time!

YOUR S.T.E.P.S

Whether you make your own project, or join one of ours, together we can make a BIG difference in the lives of thousands around the world. 

RECENT NEWS

Olivia will be honored in an exhibit Nov 2018 as a recipient of the Power of Children's Awards from the world's largest children's museum in Indianapolis. Way to go O!

OUR FOUNDER

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OLIVIA STARTED S.T.E.P. AT THE AGE OF 10

"After our home was destroyed in a FEMA flood, I noticed how many people came to help us. I wanted to do something to give back and also find a way to make our Earth better.

Even though I am young, I still believe we can ALL make a BIG difference if we try!"

OUR TEAM

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Vincent

His extroverted personality has helped us reach many people with a heart to serve - one S.T.E.P. at at time. Not just a helper to his sister, he founded his own project, S.T.E.P. Up to the Plate, stay tuned!

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Denise

An event producer by trade, and with a servant's heart, this mom manages the daily administrative and social media presence as well as acts as the road manager for the many public speaking engagements for S.T.E.P.

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2009-Presidentially Declared FEMA flood hits Austell, GA and lives change forever.

2010 -Olivia and Vincent learn about land conservation and cut down trees to preserve the scrub jay habitats in Florida.

2012 -Olivia created the acronym S.T.E.P. in 5th grade as the name for her organization Save the Earth Projects, Inc.

2013 -After being honored in 2012 as a student of the month, Olivia started 2013 as the first-ever youth recipient of the Johana Knox Award for Community Service Excellence and is nominated for the John Maxwell Leadership Award.
2014 –Olivia receives the local and regional Kohl's Cares Scholarship awards, YMCA "Making a Difference" Award for Community and Global Social Responsibility

2015 –Along with receiving the Prudential Spirit of the Community Award, Olivia received a letter from President Obama for her dedicated volunteer service. She was also honored this year with the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

2016 – Olivia surpassed 22,000 pair of shoes, donated thousands of dollars to charities across the USA and UK, presented the Chrysalis Award for Johana Knox, honored as 2nd place recipient of the International Young Eco-Heroes Award, received the Visionary Award as the only child honored this year for the Warrick Dunn Charities Beauty of Business and Giving Community Angels Awards, Peace Fund Hero of the Week and Point of Light Award

2017 - Olivia continues to speak on radio and to adult and youth groups nationally. She received the President's Volunteer Award from President Obama, Distinguished finalist representing Florida for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, Celebrity Educator - Community Educators award

2018 - Received the President's Volunteer Award from President Trump, Distinguished finalist representing Florida for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, Young Entrepreneur International Inaugural Grant Recipient, Rotary Youth Leadership (Inspirational Leader) Award, honored with the 14th Annual Power of Children's Award from the world's largest childrens museum in Indianapolis

Help us reach a goal of 40,000 pair of shoes before Olivia's birthday in October! ClickHERE to participate!

Olivia and Vincent would love for you to join them by participating in these Current Projects:

We need your gently-used shoes!

  • Go through your closets and garage and collect the gently-used shoes you no longer wear
  • If you have at least 35 pair and a box, email us at info@savetheearthprojects.com and we will have our partners send you a free shipping label to ship your shoes
  • If you have 200 or more pair, we can send you collection boxes (they hold ~40 pair each and come pre-labeled for shipping)
  • If you have a favorite charity and would like to help them earn $ per pound of shoes collected, let us know! We will help you set up a S.T.E.P. Leave a GOOD Footprint drive.

Over 1 billion people don't have access to safe, clean drinking water in the world. Many don't even have access to proper sanitation. 

Thirst Aid Stands (TM) are drink stands that not only quench the thirst of local patrons, but raise funds and awareness for the global water crisis.

This project aims to help kids learn to take care of the Earth by planting home or community gardens.

The purpose is to:

  • Learn the importance of caring for the land
  • Participate in healthy eating
  • Donate crops to local neighbors who hunger

Our newest program to be announced soon. It will be a great way to share with each other!  

OR, Create your OWN S.T.E.P. Project and share it with us on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/SaveTheEarthProjects

Living Responsibly Locally

Local charities can earn money for their programs. These projects bring communities together for the common good.

Raising Awareness Nationally

Did you know that over 100 million shoes wind up in USA Landfills annually? It can take hundreds of years for materials in our shoes to breakdown. Our shoe collection project puts reuse in front of recycle. We take our resources for granted nationally. Did you know that there are community gardens that are very successful from California to Florida? Did you know that there are areas in the USA that have drinking water resources depleting to threatening levels?

Giving Globally

Not only do the local charities benefit financially, and our landfills are reduced from strain, but these shoes are deployed globally to areas where shoes are greatly needed. We are reducing emissions by growing our own foods, and we are raising funds for much needed water resources and sanitation programs across the world. 

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.