This New Year’s Day, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is going places — riding down Colorado Boulevard in the world-famous Rose Parade in Pasadena, scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Because of the Roots & Shoots groups’ huge commitment to sustainability and improving communities, Goodall has invited three young Roots & Shoots leaders from Southern California to join her in her horse-drawn carriage as she rides in the Rose Parade as this year’s grand marshal. The three honored individuals are:

» Maddie Mender, 17, of Santa Barbara’s Don’s Net Cafe Roots & Shoots

» Bryce M., 11, of North Hollywood’s Campbell Hall Planet Savers Roots & Shoots

» Claire Robinson of Rancho Palos Verdes’ Soleado Suns Roots & Shoots

These three Roots & Shoots groups had the opportunity to select Maddie, Bryce and Claire because of the groups’ contributions to the current Roots & Shoots campaign, One Million Hours of Service. Collectively, over the last 12 months, these groups contributed more than 50,000 hours of service.

As Maddie, Bryce and Claire join Dr. Jane in the Rose Parade, they will not only proudly represent their Roots & Shoots groups, but also the work and impact of the entire Roots & Shoots network. Every day, we have so much to be proud of, and this New Year’s Day we can be especially proud that Roots & Shoots will receive worldwide recognition for all that we’ve done to make the world a more sustainable
and beautiful place for all living things.

The Don’s Net Cafe hails from the Santa Barbara area and has been a member of Roots & Shoots for more than seven years. The group, which involves high school students ages 13 to 18, has 47 members. In 2012, the group members completed seven projects, which included their favorite — a walk to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. This walk helped them connect with their community and pay tribute to a former teacher who suffered from the disease.

On the horizon for Don’s Net Cafe is the grand opening of “The Spot,” a community, ocean-friendly garden and lunch area where students can hang out during their lunches, eat healthy foods and appreciate music created by fellow students.

Maddie is very well respected among her peers in the group, and it was because of this, and her recent selection as a member of the Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council, that she was chosen to represent her group at the Rose Parade.

“Maddie is reliable, eager to help, funny, and wholeheartedly believes in Dr. Jane,” said Lee Knodel, aka “Mrs. B,” the Don’s Net Cafe’s adult mentor. “Maddie keeps track of our community service hours, reports projects, writes blogs, and of course volunteers at our many events.”

— Shawn Sweeney is the youth outreach and engagement coordinator for Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots.