Think Before You Trash

submission by Grain of Sand
Think Before You Trash

Organization Name


Grain of Sand - Granito de Arena




Please select the one indicator that is most relevant to your project or organization: Environmental Quality

What is your idea and how will it impact your indicator?


Grain of Sand - Granito de Arena (in Spanish) is a non-profit organization run by Ernesto Renella, (local business leader, surfer and community volunteer) to teach environmental awareness and stewardship to underprivileged children in local communities. The mission is to build a healthier environment and educate children to create a better world. The program teaches children that their daily decisions affect the beaches and marine environment around the world and shows them how to connect to nature through environmental awareness and surfing.

“Being in the ocean is a much more personal experience than just looking at it from the beach or highway. Surfing is about being physically and mentally moved by the power of the ocean. By experiencing its energy directly affecting its own element and environment. Once these kids stand up the first time and ride a wave in, they never look at the water the same way again. The ocean transforms into something that they need to respect, maintain and protect so that future generations can enjoy it as much as they do. The way I see it, each person represents a grain of sand, standing alone one might seem small and insignificant, but working together with our neighbors we are powerful and can create a better future for everyone.”

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?


Teach surfing camps – surfing competitions
Organize Beach Clean ups
Be recognized by the community and other non profits as a local pro environmental organization
Spearhead educational programs outside the classroom.
Bring awareness to nature and environmental issues.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.


Heal the Bay
Newton Police Activities League & other PALs
Santa Monica Police Activities League & other "at risk groups"
LA unified school district

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?


It may be difficult to “measure” the success of my endeavor, because it is hard to evaluate the lasting impact that experience, education, awareness has on children. One thing I know for certain is that bringing a child, who has never been to the beach, to experience the sand and the ocean is something that is life changing. This action alone has a lasting and unmeasurable impact. Every child who comes through the program learns not just about how to take care of the beach and the oceans, but also how small daily efforts can impact the environment in a large and positive way. Armed with such knowledge, the students in turn learn about the responsibility of teaching others how to respect and take care of nature too. And lastly, when children learn about water safety and how to surf, they challenge themselves and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles? Please be specific.

Grain of Sand - Granito de Arena brings inner-city children to the beach, and pairs them with local surfers and environmental speakers for a day of learning, surfing and beach clean ups. Through fun and mentorship, young people understand that the beach is just as much theirs as everyone else’s and it's up to them to take care of it. The children develop an understanding of: the negative effects of water and land pollution, the impact that individuals and communities have on the ocean, the profound effects of recycling programs and the importance of wiser buying choices. Furthermore, exercising in nature through surfing encourages children to become more active and healthier.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?


in light of public opposition over the The Clean Water, Clean Beaches ballot measure, that would pay to reduce storm water pollution, Los Angeles County supervisors may axe the proposed clean water fee. As it stands, the Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure would increase L.A. County resident’s property tax bills by about $54 for the typical homeowner and possibly thousands of dollars for some commercial property owners. The County spends an outrageous amount annually In grooming and cleaning our beaches on a daily basis. This fee could be rendered unnecessary altogether if everyone did their part in properly recycling trash and helping to keep storm drains free of debris.

By educating enough people to make environmental friendly consumer purchases, responsible trash disposal and to be aware that all storm drains end up in the ocean, citizens have the power to not only make a positive environmental impact, but also a fiscal impact as well. Instead of spending financial resources reacting to current problems, we can instead create a cleaner and greener future.

4 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

After visiting my sister in Santa Monica and contracting a sickness the doctors says was caused by the sand and pollution, I think this project is great! Cleaner beaches for not just Santa Monica but all over the world! It has to start somewhere.

by leigh.willis.3
about 3 years ago

I think what you guys are doing is amazing the beach is a tranquil and serene place to relax
They should never be left like that in the image above.

Fight the good fight

by tonyjannine.marsden
about 3 years ago

What a wonderful project! After moving to LA I quite often take my 2 year old son to the beach and find it so upsetting to see all the rubbish on the beach. I am from Australia and we have similar projects to keep our beaches clean. Its so important to educate people, families and our children to keep the beaches clean and to throw away your rubbish and tp recyle.
Thank you for your great work in keeping our world cleaner and safer for this generation and the future generations.

by shannonwillis77
about 3 years ago

We need to stay on top of beach clean up 24/7 - I support your project and hope you will be able to do more regular clean up on the beach than Heal the Bay currently does. I would like to see your organization work with the City and County of Los Angeles to encourage daily clean-up of the shoreline - also, a PR campaign is needed to encourage visitors to the beaches to "bring a bag" -- to pick up trash as they go for their stroll. I see so many people walking down the shoreline, ignoring the trash at there feet. If everyone pitched in, it would be clean all the time !!! Finally, as part of a PR campaign - residents of L.A. need to be aware that when they throw trash on the street it finds it

by spiritofvenice
about 3 years ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
$1,000,000 in total grants
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Submission Began
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Submission Ended
Thursday, March 28, 2013
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Voting Ended
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address

Winner Announced
Wednesday, May 08, 2013