SAN ANSELMO (CBS 5) – Two North Bay brothers with a single vision are changing the world one young person and one garden at a time. One of their first projects is helping students dig an organic vegetable garden at Drake High School in San Anselmo.
Lucas and Jasper Oshun say lessons on sustainable agriculture and leadership take root in the outdoor classroom. “You have the experiential learning of taking the seed, watching it grow, producing your own food,” Jasper Oshun explained.
“They are able to collaborate together and actually impact change in their community,” added his brother Lucas.
The Drake High School garden sprouts from the brothers’ nonprofit, Global Student Embassy, a group they formed in 2008. Global Student Embassy brings high school and college students together to improve the world’s environment and access to food.
Lucas Oshun says the idea grew out of several months spent volunteering: he taught English in Argentina; Jasper planted trees in Ecuador.
“We figured since we benefited so much from those experiences traveling, and it helped to develop our world view, that we really value that we should work to provide that opportunity to more students,” he said.
Global Student Embassy planted its first community garden in Sebastopol four years ago, and harvested more than 1,000 pounds of organic produce last year for families and food banks.
But Jasper Oshun says their work has branched out overseas: “It’s incredibly rewarding to work that hard on something and see it accomplished.”
In Argentina, the Oshun brothers and volunteers refurbished a school and planted an organic garden in a poor neighborhood. In Peru, they built a mile-long canal to give farmers year round irrigation. In Tanzania, they started a youth technology training center with 20 computers. In Ecuador, the group planted more than 4,000 native trees.
Drake High School junior Maya Normandi says the reforestation experience proved she can make a difference in the world.
“That totally changed my perspective,” Normandi remembered. “After that trip, I felt so much more hyped up to go out and do stuff.”
Through Global Student Embassy, not only do Bay Area young people travel overseas, but they also raise money to bring exchange students here. Today, more than 200 volunteers dig in to the nonprofit work.
“Lucas brings relentless energy,” Jasper Oshun said. “He’s tireless in his work and passionate.”
“Jasper brings strong organizational capacity and determination,” brother Lucas added.
So for bringing young leaders together to change their world, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Lucas and Jasper Oshun.
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