TALENT, Ore. — A young girl from Talent received a $10,000 check from U.S. Cellular on Thursday for her work in cleaning up plastic litter and helping with the Talent Zero Waste Team.
10-year-old Zoë was one of three recipients for the award from U.S. Cellular's "The Future of Good" program, selected from thousands of nominations across the country for individuals working to bring fairness to their communities.
The Talent youth did not know that she had received the award until a surprise parade came past her home on Thursday. Representatives from U.S. Cellular, local law enforcement, Zoë's friends and family, and members of the Talent Zero Waste all honked, waved, shouted, and held signs as they drove by.
“We are very excited to be able to gather in celebration of this amazing young humanitarian,” said Erryn Andersen, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the Northwest. “Zoë’s efforts, along with the others recognized through the company’s The Future of Good program, inspire and motivate us to do what we can to promote fairness in the communities we serve.”
Three years ago, Zoë began organizing monthly clean-ups to dispose of plastic litter, according to U.S. Cellular. That led her to join the Talent Zero Waste Team, helping them convince the Talent City Council to ban plastic takeout items. Zoë has also presented at local elementary schools and even wrote a children's book called "Coral's Quest" to help other kids understand the harms of single-use plastic litter in the oceans.
Zoë received an oversized $10,000 check and a celebration kit — including technology items, a backpack, water bottle and note congratulating her on being The Future of Good.
The Future of Good program has been going on for five years. The first three recipients of the award were chosen in February, and three more will be named at a later date.