HAUULA (KHON2) — What better way to celebrate our planet on Earth Day than taking care of our environment? You could always help send earth’s kids to college.
To figure out doing both simultaneously must take a billionaire entrepreneur, like Hawaii residents Larry Ellison or Mark Zuckerberg. How about Jeff Bezos? None of them have come up with an idea quite like 14-year-old local boy Genshu Price.
Earth Day brought Genshu to one of Hawaii’s pristine landscapes, Kualoa Ranch. There Price and his non-profit Bottles4College teamed up with 4Ocean for a recycling and educational drive.
Bottles4College is a program that Genshu started when he was 10-years-old in hopes of one day paying his way to college. After his first load to recycle only netted $14, Price realized he needed to scale his project.
“He’s a smart kid he was doing the math, he was like oh it’s going to take me so long dad!” Genshu’s dad Mike said.
Initially, the goal was to collect a million cans and bottles.
“After the first drop off, I realized a couple of things, one it would take me forever to get remotely close to a million cans and bottles. And two this could be so much more,” Genshu said.
More became donating the proceeds to others by getting the community involved with weekend events. Price has made $30,000 so far from recycling and donations. The new goal has become getting a couple of Hawaii students every year a full ride at a four-year university.
“Education does matter, the environment does matter,” Genshu said. “There are still those fundamentals that you need to have, and I want to help those that want to go to college but really can’t,”
Being that each can or bottle is 5 cents, Genshu’s 500,000 bottles and cans collected so far have only made a dent in his lofty goal.
“We’ve been trying to get more grants as we enter our second year of incorporation. That way we’re able to expand and go to that part where we can go to our goal of collecting 2-4 million cans and bottles each year. So annually 1-2 Hawaii students can get a full 4-year ride to college,” Genshu said.
It’s ingenuity and dedication that even some of the world’s wealthiest should aspire to. Genshu credits his mom and dad.
“We see that this is all part of his education as a whole, there’s so much that he is learning not just from the recycling and environmental point of thigs but also all of the social issues that he is aware of,” Genshu’s mom Maria said.
Maria brings the education, while Mike, who says he wasn’t afforded the financial possibility of attending college, instills the work ethic.
“Making sure that what he signed up for he’s gotta continue it because he has a lot of people supporting him and volunteering time and giving money,” Mike said.
It’s not all work. Genshu is still a kid at heart and needs to be motivated from time to time. He loves basketball and has dreams of being a college hoops star. From bottles to buckets, he’s not taking no for an answer.
“That’s where that hope and inspiration dies where you think there’s no way. I want to show that there is a way.” Genshu said.
Plans on who will be receiving scholarships are still in the works, but the Prices say that they plan on grades being criteria with a lottery to determine winners.