Q&A With Microgrant Recipient James


Meet K4C microgrant recipient James (13) from Iowa who named his project the Wakema Creek Clean-up. James noticed a shallow creek in a park that runs through his city. Although the creek was home to small fish, sand, and rocks, it also contained garbage, dead wood & grass so long that he couldn’t even see the water. So the creek was unsafe for anyone to explore or enjoy. 

James is part of a group of 12 middle school kids who enjoy spending time together. The kids come from two different communities but attend the same school. The group of friends met with the community park director and, with their parents, asked permission to use the park pavilion twice a week for summer activities.  In exchange, the friends offered to clean up the creek so everyone in the city could safely enjoy it.  In addition to clearing the creek, they wanted to paint a mural in the park.

The park director asked the friends if they would be interested in making overall park clean-up a part of their project to which they all agreed. The friend group is made up of 12- to 14-year-olds, but the city only hires kids age 15 and older for summer park jobs.  So this project gave the group some work experience that would prepare them to apply for paying jobs from the city in the future.

  1. What inspired you to start this project? Jai’s grandma Deb used to play in the creek, but these days you couldn’t even see it and there was no way to know if it was safe. We wanted to clear brush, so you can see it and clean up the trash to make it safe for kids. 
  2. While working on your project, what surprised you? I didn’t know that our creek went into another creek that went into a river that supplies water to a town. 
  3. What did you learn from this experience? I learned teamwork and that even us kids can help the community. 
  4. How did Karma for Cara impact your project? The grant money really helped a lot because we didn’t have the tools before, but now we do. Also, it helped us buy safety vests, so we can be seen better in the thick woods. 
  5. How will your project continue to impact others? Our creek is now able to be accessed by kids, so they can play in it when the weather is warm. We also learned how important our waterway is to another town, so we will test the water and tell our city the results so they can do something if the water is polluted. 
  6. How many hours did you spend on your project? 22 
  7. How many youth volunteers were involved in your project? 
  8. How many total hours did other youth volunteers spend on your project? 32