Longtime sustainable education activist Faye Snodgress recently received the honor of Volunteer of the Year, an award presented by the Indianapolis Council of Women to an outstanding volunteer in the community.
Snodgress volunteers at the Altrusa International Club of Indianapolis, advises the Zionsville Community High School Climate Club, helps sort and distribute local donations, advocates for community sustainability and serves in many other capacities.
“I was raised with the saying, ‘If you have the capacity to help, you have the responsibility to do so,’” said Snodgress, a Zionsville resident. “That’s my motivation.”
Snodgress, CEO of the nonprofit Global Educational Community, said her background and passion are in sustainable education. She has worked to empower young people and raise awareness for climate change throughout her career.
She said an impactful memory from her volunteering was guiding Zionsville students as they installed pollinator gardens in the high school courtyards. She watched the students take ownership of the project and take pride in their work.
“Empowering the next group to care for each other and for the environment is something that is always important to reinforce,” Snodgress said.
Snodgress belongs to a task force at the Zionsville United Methodist Church that promotes energy conservation, both on a church and individual level. She said older generations need to educate young people about how they can face a future fraught with the effects of climate change.
“When you read study after study from hundreds, thousands of scientists around the world about what lies ahead, I just feel that we have an obligation to make sure young people have the knowledge, the skill and a global mindset of equity that will allow them to face a very uncertain future,” Snodgress said.
Snodgress also serves as a hub in her community for donations, which she helps deliver to organizations that can use donated items. She said she is known throughout her neighborhood for picking up leftover items from garage sales or even accepting donations at her house directly when the local donation bin is overflowing.
“I frequently come home and find bags on my porch,” Snodgress said.
Snodgress said her volunteering is made possible through the contributions and support of the many people who work alongside her.
“I accept it with mixed feelings,” Snodgress said of the award. “No one does this kind of work alone.”