11-Year-Old's Story Proves to Kids That They Can Make an Impact if They Try
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Note: This is an older piece I originally published in 2010 via Yahoo Contributor Network. However, Olivia Bouler is still at it in even bigger ways.
If you met Olivia Bouler, your perception of things might change. She saw an opportunity and seized it. What's so unique about Olivia is that she is just 11 years old. Right now, Olivia is on tour to make a difference in her own way. When the oil spill happened in the gulf, Olivia made the decision to donate 500 bird drawings - one for each of the first 500 people to donate to the Audubon society to help. I recently was able to speak to this amazing little girl and feel her story is one all parents can use to teach their kids to stand up for what they believe in.
Putting Thoughts Into Action ("One Small Thing Can Make a Big Difference.")
Since the initial decision, Olivia has come out with a book called "Olivia's Birds, Saving the Gulf." All of the writing and illustrations in the book are Olivia's own. Those interested in following Olivia's efforts can follow her Facebook page, suggested by the Audubon Society.
If you thought the drawings are where Olivia's story ends, you would be very wrong. She has won several awards and even participated in beach cleanup with Disney's Friends for Change with Nick and Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers. According to Olivia, "My parents have always loved the environment. I've grown up in a very big-hearted family. Very loving brother, parents, and grandparents." Her efforts don't stop at a few small things. Although, as Olivia said to me "one small thing can make a difference."
How Parents Can Use Olivia's Story
Over $200,000 was raised through her efforts at the time I spoke to Olivia. Parents can talk to their kids about what she has done by using her Facebook page, reports on what she does, as well as her book. I found her illustrations to be beautiful and her words to be so inspiring. I have used lessons from Olivia's actions to teach my own kids.
But don't end the lessons at simply looking up the information. Let your kids put their dreams into action. For those interested in helping the environment Olivia suggests to start with "just throwing birdfeed or saving your food items to plant trees, recycling, everything - even just a little cup of water outside for the birds. It's one step at a time and you can could change the world."
What is Olivia Up To?
In addition to her book coming out and doing her drawings, Olivia Bouler made 2010 ASPCA Kid of the Year. She's currently on a book tour. As part of this, Four Seasons is flying her to Costa Rica to distribute books to schoolkids and read them. For that, she received a grant from Disney Friends for Change and the Youth Service of America . Four Seasons is footing the bill. Olivia is also a recipient of the Dale Earnhardt Legends Leadership Scholarship and a Dawn Jr. Wildlife Champion.
Is Olivia just a normal kid?
This is likely a question your kids will want to ask. Of course, she's a normal kid, just like any other. Everything you do doesn't have to be amazing. It's great to make a difference, but kids will still be kids. Olivia likes to play jazz music via her alto saxophone. She says her brother is pretty amazing, too. She also swims at the YMCA and does other things normal kids do. She does of course get tons of fan mail on Facebook. But underneath all that, she wants other kids to know that she is just like them and they can make a big impact, too.