In 1989, Melissa Poe was watching a TV program. It was about pollution and showed what the Earth would look like in 50 years. There were no trees or animals. The Earth was almost dead. The program really scared Melissa. She decided to take action to help save the Earth. She was only nine years old.
Melissa wrote to the president of the United States. She begged him to do something before the Earth died from pollution. The president didn't write back to Melissa and so she was very upset. Then she had an idea.
Melissa wanted to be sure that the president would get her message. She came up with the idea to display it on a giant sign. It would be so big that people would notice it. And maybe the president would see it, too. A local business helped her with her project. They painted her letter on a billboard along a highway in her hometown. Many cars passed the billboard every day.
Soon Melissa had a billboard in Washington, DC. and hundreds more across America. Young people around the country read Melissa's letter. They wrote to her and asked what they could do to help. Melissa realized that the president wasn't the only person who could save the Earth. Children could help make the world a cleaner place, too.
Melissa started Kids for A Clean Environment. The club shows others how to do good things for the planet. Club members learn how important trees are to the quality of the air we breathe. They plant trees and start recycling projects in their own towns. Melissa started her club with only six members. Today there are more than 300,000 members in 23 countries around the world.
Melissa Poe is a role model for children everywhere. She is still active in the club she started many years ago. Since then, many presidents have written to her and listened to her speeches. She's also been on TV many times. She's helped us learn that kids can make a difference.
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