Just 15 years old, this remarkable sophomore at The Nueva School is making waves in the areas of environmental advocacy and social justice through her passion for video storytelling. Her commitment to inspiring others and mobilizing communities has earned her our first-ever Youth Sustainability Award.

Kayla is a stand-out leader at her school, where she organizes impactful initiatives for her fellow students in the Environmental Club, including the Eco-Action Raisers event that empowers 300 students and teachers to take tangible action for the environment. She has also served as Nueva’s Social Justice Chair, organizing workshops and guest speakers to enrich the student body’s understanding of racial, gender and sexuality awareness issues. As a founding member of Nueva’s Project Super Plants Chapter, she’s helped to reach over 1,400 students to date, creating awareness about environmental issues and encouraging sustainable practices among her peers.

Beyond school, Kayla mobilizes her local community as a co-leader of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby San Mateo Youth Group. Her organizing super powers were evident in the success of last year’s Youth Climate Rally, drawing significant participation from the community and local policymakers. CCL San Mateo Chapter Lead Elaine Salinger said, “Kayla is a powerhouse and a changemaker for climate action. She is a very articulate, bright and effective leader. People enjoy working with her and she motivates students to step up.”

Perhaps Kayla’s most enduring impact has been through her filmmaking. Her videos and social media projects provide a hopeful answer to the environmental crisis we face and give people a way to take action. Her No Waste Nation social media project secured her a spot as one of five winners of National Geographic Slingshot Challenge short film award. She also clinched second-place in the prestigious World of 8 Billion Youth Video contest.

Kayla’s ultimate goal is to dedicate her life to public service and helping those in need, using the powerful tools of filmmaking and journalism. This young visionary is off to a great start!

Watch this short profile video to learn more about Kayla’s sustainability impact.