Cassandra Lin

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Cassandra Lin is a young Asian-American environmentalist, philanthropist, and social entrepreneur most popular for founding Project T.G.I.F. (Turn Grease Into Fuel), an organization that collects grease from restaurants and other areas and hands it over to recycling centers so that it can be processed and turned into fuel that is given to the poorer members of the community. Since its inception, Project T.G.I.F. has now grown into a network of 113 restaurants that enable the foundation to collect over 4,000 gallons of grease per month.

Achievements

Why Cassandra Lin is Extraordinary

No matter how young or how old you may be, you are never far from making a significant contribution in your community. And even if you start small, with determination and will, you will eventually make a difference and become the person of significance you want to be. Read the amazing story of this young woman from Rhode Island who, through her little acts of kindness, established a charitable organization that is now one of the most prominent foundations in the United States.

The Turn Grease Into Fuel Founder

Cassandra Lin is a young Asian-American environmentalist, philanthropist, and social entrepreneur most popular for founding Project T.G.I.F. (Turn Grease Into Fuel), an organization that collects grease from restaurants and other areas and hands it over to recycling centers so that it can be processed and turned into fuel that is given to the poorer members of the community. Since its inception, Project T.G.I.F. has now grown into a network of 113 restaurants that enable the foundation to collect over 4,000 gallons of grease per month.

To showcase the influence that Project T.G.I.F. has garnered over the past few years, the foundation actually played a key role in the signing of a law that required all businesses to recycle their oil—Project T.G.I.F. was the mind behind the drafting and introduction of the bill to the local Senate, and was also a powerful voice in the promotion of the bill.

Through Project T.G.I.F., Cassandra was able to become a part of a truly powerful charitable force that has given around 15,000 gallons of BioHeat (the fuel from processed grease), and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, has offset over one and a half million pounds of carbon dioxide from mixing with the atmosphere. Because biodiesel is used, a clean-burning fuel, Project T.G.I.F. has often been called a ‘win-win’ solution by many people.

Cassandra Receives Awards for her Turn Grease Into Fuel Project

Due to her extraordinary efforts in helping not just the environment but also the people in her community, Cassandra has been awarded and recognized by many of the renowned institutions in the country and worldwide. Cassandra is a recipient of several awards, the most notable being the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and the President’s Environmental Youth Award. Cassandra and her team in Project T.G.I.F. have been featured in many articles and publications, and she herself has been included in many lists pertaining to environmental care and philanthropy. The most famous of these would be her inclusion in the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World by Youth Service America, which simply showcases how Cassandra has been very influential and inspiring to many.

The 14–Year–Old Leader of Turn Grease Into Fuel Project

There are so many positive qualities that you will find in Cassandra that makes her utterly extraordinary, but it is probably her unwavering desire and passion for serving others that stands out the most. Even at a young age, Cassandra has already had this desire to help burning on the inside of her that empowered her to serve their community. For Cassandra, age is not a determining factor to say if someone really has a desire to serve their society or not. Most of us often think that young kids do not care about their surroundings.

Cassandra pointed this error out in a blog she wrote:

“When you think of little kids, you probably have a mental image of youngsters frolicking around playing hide-and-seek without a care in the world. Most likely, the image that comes to mind is not a group of 10–year–olds gathered around a table in the midst of a serious discussion about creating a business plan. However, I was not the ordinary fifth grader.”

This is why Cassandra is determined to show that even little kids have a passion for helping their community. She often says this whenever she gets interviewed or is called to do a speech:

“I want to make an impact... It doesn't matter how big or small you are, anyone can make a difference!”

Another thing that made Cassandra very extraordinary is her persistence and never say die attitude. Throughout Project T.G.I.F.’s existence, Cassandra has experienced the hardships of having to deal with rejection and disappointment. If organizations run by adults sometimes encounter overwhelming circumstances, imagine what it must be like for Project T.G.I.F., who is run by a 14–year–old girl! And yet, in spite of all the challenges that she faced, Cassandra never backed down. She kept on moving forward, inspired by the lives of the families that her organization changed.

Cassandra said in an interview:

“After doing this program, I've definitely felt more conscious of those who are less fortunate than me. I've learned a lot from them and from this experience. During a documentary we filmed about the project, we got to go to the home of one of the recipients. That family received 100 gallons of Bioheat. Watching the news crew interview them and seeing how grateful they were was a really great experience. I was able to see first-hand the impact that we were making. So yeah, that's definitely changed me.”

Most of us may think that in order to do something good for our society, we must have a lot of resources, training, and people. We often make the mistake of thinking that we should start big, and therefore end up living out our entire lives without getting the chance of helping someone. But this is not Cassandra’s mind-set. To her, doing something good for your society starts in small, seemingly insignificant acts of kindness and charity that you offer someone.

Starting Small at 10 Years Old

When Cassandra was asked what advice she would like to give young people who also wanted to go into the world of philanthropy, here was her answer:

“If you want to get involved in your own community, I think you should start with extremely small steps, maybe even just baby steps. You can volunteer at an animal shelter or somewhere with a food pantry. Just take small steps that you can accomplish and move up from there. They don't have to be huge things, but you should definitely have your goals straight and have them within your reach. So you should set objectives that you can accomplish and feel proud of what you do.”

Today, Cassandra is in her senior year at high school and is looking forward to finishing with high remarks. She never lets the obstacles and challenges side-track her from her goal, and always looks forward to a better and brighter future for her community. Cassandra’s life is an important reminder and proof that even someone as young as ten years old can make a difference; all you need is the determination and the courage to never give up, and you are well on your way to success.

“So, are 10–year–olds the leaders of the future? In many ways, the answer is yes. Volunteering is both easy and rewarding. A simple passion—in my case, community service—can serve as the driving force to take action. From a young age, I realized that sometimes you can't wait for change to happen. You have to make it happen, and be your own hero. Think about it. If a group of worried 10–year–olds can make a difference in the world, so can you!”

Top Reasons why Cassandra Lin is Extraordinary

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