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Mill Valley Middle School Student Hopes to Change the World, Selling Her Art With a Cause

Annelie Miller, 13, is a Mill Valley philanthropist, who says she was just doing her part, when she recently donated more than $700 to support cleaning up the oceans. See how she is raising the money and changing the world one peer at a time.

Annelie Miller shows off her current, favorite art piece.
Annelie Miller shows off her current, favorite art piece.

It has been said that children are the most valuable and best hope for the future, and if one Mill Valley junior high student is the light, we can expect brightness in years to come.

Annelie Miller is a 13-year-old philanthropist, who says she is just doing her part, recently donating the $716 she raised to a project close to her heart.

“When I was in 4th grade, my mom took me to the Marine Mammal Center,” she began to explain, “There was an art exhibit created from plastic found in the ocean that caught my eye — it was horrific. I knew I wanted to help, but as a student it is difficult to change the world.”

The next year, Miller gathered the support of her peers, challenging them to collect all of the plastic they would normally throw away or recycle, and bring them to school to create their own art projects.

“My classmates were really surprised by how much plastic we really waste,” she said, “From there my friends and I have made an effort to really reduce our waste.”

Miller explained that last year she began painting watercolor pictures and notecards adorned with ocean and land animals, “I love painting; some people thought they were pretty cute and wanted to buy them,” she explained.

As her sales ramped up, Miller realized that the best thing she could do with her earnings was find an organization that could do more with it than she could. When she found a program called Plastic Ocean Project, her heart knew it was the right fit.

“I did a Google search of great organizations protecting against plastic in the ocean, and read a lot, and Plastic Ocean Project’s traveling art show and outreach really caught my eye” she explained, “I’m only 13, so this is where I can start.”

“I wish every child could have their say, every little bit helps,” Miller told Patch, “I'm just trying to do my part by giving the money, and raising awareness for my peers, family and Mill Valley. This project can help people who can do more than us.”

Plastic Ocean Project (POP) addresses problems that arise with wildlife due to plastic in the ocean. A non-profit comprised of college students and scientists, they are constantly innovating ways to reduce waste, curb damage, and raise awareness.

POP established an innovative, traveling art exhibit called "What Goes Around, Comes Around" in order to bring awareness regarding the problems with the over-use of one-time use plastics, why it matters, and what can be done about it — and has collected plastics from nearly 10,000 nautical miles in three oceans, creating a display of morphed waste into works of beauty.

Although Miller doesn’t know what she will do as an adult, she knows her passion for animals and the earth will influence her career. For now, keep an eye out at local merchants for her Christmas focused collection effort, as she hopes to collect another, larger donation to send out soon.

“We are so privileged to be where are born, where we were, so it is incredibly important to learn to give back,” her words of wisdom for us all this holiday season.

Email Annelie for information on how to purchase a piece of her art with a cause at anneliekm@hotmail.com

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