Community Spotlight: Hannah Testa
Hannah Testa in Her Movement Against Plastic Pollution Not Your Typical Soccer Player
Age doesn’t matter when it comes to love, that’s what they say. This 15 year-old student from Cumming, GA proves that age is also NOT a matter when it comes to starting, leading, and making a significant difference for a better world. Unlike a typical student of her age, Hannah Testa has that unusual passion in caring for the world she’s living in.
A typical teenager would love to spend time with her friends, family, and her sport. Hannah Testa formerly played as a center-midfielder for UFA – United Futbol Academy. She enjoyed her time in the sport but decided to give it up for a more significant purpose.
Hannah shares her thoughts about her life as a soccer player.
“I played with UFA – United Futbol Academy. I am passionate about soccer, but I recently gave it up to focus on my two priorities – school and my volunteer activities. I was center-midfield, which was my favorite position. I don’t have a favorite player or team. I really enjoyed my time playing – I learned that a cohesive team of close-knit girls is stronger than a talented team of individuals that may not be as close. One year we won the championship, and we weren’t the most talented but we all worked very hard and very well together. We were all friends on and off the field. I also will say that I didn’t score often, but I took a lot of pleasure in assisting my team so they could score. I also loved stealing the ball away from the other team. These are things that don’t make the highlights but are critical to winning.”
Moving forward, Hannah dedicated her time to a more significant passion that needs action, regardless of age.
This passion led her to start a journey of influencing people to care, and do something to help save animals and the mother earth. One of which was through leading an advocacy to inform people about the destruction brought about by plastic pollution and what people can do to help minimize or possibly eradicate it.
“I have a dream that all animals will live in a world that is full of compassion, love, and respect towards animals. Every animal has a right to be on this planet as much as we do. We should live in harmony in this spectacular world alongside these magnificent creatures.”—Hannah Testa
How it All Started
At an early age of 4, Hannah already showed compassion for animals like rhinos, elephants, horses, bears, dolphins, chimps, and orcas. She became interested not only for animals but even in environmental issues affecting them. Her concern for these living and loving creatures led her to see that it is not enough to just sit back and watch the world destroy itself as well as the animals living in it.
Hannah did not let her young age hinder her from voicing out and standing up in behalf of animals which cannot speak for themselves. Full of determination, she started an advocacy through teaching and influencing others to care for animals which are abused across various industries. Her message mainly focused on raising awareness about how plastic pollution is negatively affecting the animals from different parts of the world.
Working through Her Goal
Hannah has become an environmentalist and animal rights activist at 10. She discovered that plastic pollution is the cause behind the world’s biggest problems today. At the same time, she realized that mankind can control and do something to eradicate or reduce plastic pollution. Since then, she started disseminating the information about it through presenting it to the public.
Hannah has already presented her advocacy to not just hundreds but thousands of adults and children around the world — including local, state, and international government officials. In her presentations, she taught practical ways on how people can reduce plastic footprint.
Hanna’s ability to determine problems and provide practical solution is truly admirable. As a teenager, she wanted to influence other teenagers and even adults to make a move against the alarming world problem — plastic pollution.
She believes that even a small change can help bring a huge difference in our world. For her, if people will not start doing something to fight the pollution today, some of the planet’s most majestic creatures will be extinct before Hannah becomes a mother.
Hannah4Change was launched to help spread the advocacy across the web. People who are interested to join the advocacy will see tangible ways on how they can help bring a difference once they joined. Using reusable straws and bringing own to the store, just to name a few.
Hannah has partnered with the local senator in Georgia to create a “Plastic Pollution Awareness Day” on February 15,2017 and February 15, 2018. 400 people attended the cause, even The Weather Channel, CNN, and even other local media outlets helped spread the awareness. Altogether, they proved that this event is needed to help reduce the plastic use.
Through this advocacy, Hannah was also able to partner with GA State Senator Nan Orrock to propose a bill to ban the trade of ivory and rhino horn within the state of Georgia.
Hannah has talked to CNN and shared her commitment in educating the public about plastic pollution.
She even met Adrien Grenier who is the co-founder of The Lonely Whale Foundation, an organization aiming for the education and awareness for ocean health.
Hannah’s advocacy has led her to earn awards for bringing a positive and timely change for the world. She has received a number of awards, including the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, an award for 25 young leaders who contributed a significant positive difference to mankind, animals, and the planet.
Hannah was also recognized by peta2 for her outstanding dedication to defend the rights of all living things and being a role model for people all over the world.
More of Hannah’s Honors and Awards:
Featured in the book “Life without Plastic: The Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Avoiding Plastic”, 2017
Ocean Health Leader by Lonely Whale Foundation, 2017-2018
Contributing Writer for MyForsyth Magazine, 2017-2018
Hero to Animals Award by peta2, 2017
SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Environmental Excellence Award, 2017
Teen Earth Day Hero by CNN, 2017
Environmental Impact Award Winner by the National Youth Activist Awards (NYAA), 2017
Lonely Whale “Catch the Wave” Youth Ambassador, 2017 -2018
5 Gyres Advisory Board, 2017-2018
State (Georgia) and County (Forsyth) Resolutions passed in Hannah’s honor declaring Plastic Pollution Awareness Day, 2017
Young Superhero for Earth Award by Captain Planet Foundation, 2016
Animal Hero Kids Wildlife Freedom Award, 2016
One of 25 recipients of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, 2016
Pioneer of Sustainability award, Ted’s Montana Grill (first ever recipient), 2016
Georgia Resolutions (SR1034 and HR1530) passed to recognize Hannah’s volunteer efforts, 2016
President’s Volunteer Service Award, 2015 and 2016
Prudential Spirit of Community Award “Distinguished Finalist” for animal rights efforts, 2016
Magnificent Kids SuperHero, 2016
Co-President, Animal Hero Kids, 2015-2018
5 Gyres Ambassador, 2015-2018
Ambassador and Agent for Change, Simply Straws, 2014-2018
Featured in the book Animal Hero Kids: Voices for the Voiceless, 2015
Featured in Time for Kids Magazine, Earth Day edition, 2015
5 Gyres Ocean Hero 2015
Local Winner, Kohl’s Care Scholarship, 2015
Created plastic pollution videos utilized in Bermuda educational programs by Keep Bermuda Beautiful, 2014
Youth Ambassador, Plastic Pollution Coalition, 2014-2019
Student of the Year – Keep Forsyth County Beautiful, 2014
Student of the Month – Forsyth-Cumming Optimist Club, 2014
Board Member, One More Generation, 2013-2014