Last year, we learned about Nadia Sparkes, a preteen with a penchant for picking up litter. Because of her habit of collecting garbage on her way to school, kids in her hometown of Hellesdon, England, gave her an unfortunate nickname: “Trash Girl.” Admirably, however, Sparkes embraced this moniker as she continued to “make the world a better place.” Due to her unwavering dedication, Sparkes will soon be picking up more than trash, as UK Prime Minster Theresa May presents her with a Points of Light Award on April 12, 2019.
“Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers—people who are making a change in their community,” the Prime Minster’s Office explains. A Point of Light award is given out every week, allowing ample volunteers to be recognized for their work. With this accolade, Sparkes will join an eclectic group of honorees, from a doctor who offers free heart surgery to children to a woman who helps domestic abuse victims get back on their feet.
In each case, May pens a personal letter to the winner in which she praises their work and explains the importance of their impact. “Through your ‘Trash Girl’ campaign you are changing attitudes on littering and inspiring thousands of your fellow students to take action,” she wrote to Sparkes. “You are sending a positive message that we should all take responsibility for looking after our local environment, and should feel very proud of the difference this is making.”
Impressively, this is not the 13-year-old’s first prestigious role. Just last month, she was made one of the youngest Earth House Ambassadors by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has made her a “Litter Hero,” and David Luke Schoolwear has named her one of “16 Under 16” eco influencers.
Even with all of this fanfare, Sparkes remains extraordinarily humble and focused on fixing the planet’s problems. “I am so amazed and grateful to be given such an honor and I just hope that this helps to highlight how important it is for all of us to work together to make our world a better place,” she says about her Point of Light Award. “Every small action that each of us makes counts, whether good or bad. Please make a pledge to pick up 3 pieces of litter every day.”