PSE Backs Youth Fundraising Efforts With CFL Bulbs

With budget cuts threatening youth programming statewide, Puget Sound Energy and the organizers of ITSCOOL, a service-learning fundraising initiative, announced today that PSE will provide thousands of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs to support the program’s local youth fundraising efforts in 2009.

PSE is backing ITSCOOL to support the program’s unique use of energy conservation activities to educate and train youth as leaders, while also helping customers save money on their energy bills.

The ITSCOOL program being implemented in PSE’s service area, entitled “Get on the Upward Spiral,” will be available this spring and open to schools, clubs, teams and other groups for ages 7-18 in PSE’s electric service area. Lake Washington High School (LWHS) Environmental Club, in Kirkland, is among the groups that will launch the fundraising program this spring. The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is also supporting the program.

“PSE’s support of ITSCOOL means youth groups will be able to keep up to 63 percent of the money they raise, much higher than most school and club fundraising activities,” said Andy Varyu, founder and president of ITSCOOL – and 1992-94 LWHS Environmental Club leader. “The youth group activities will also help local communities access energy-efficient technology, meaning lower energy bills and carbon dioxide emissions for residents in PSE’s service area.”

To raise money for their activities this year, groups participating in the ITSCOOL program will sell the CFL bulbs, which are up to 75 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. PSE will provide the CFLs, along with educational materials and other programmatic support.

“In addition to providing benefits for youth groups, communities, and the environment, ITSCOOL is a one-of-a-kind model for training our region’s young people to be leaders in a cleaner energy future,” said Cal Shirley, vice president of Energy Efficiency Services for PSE.

The ITSCOOL program distributes educational materials and activities for helping youth understand and explain energy efficiency during their fundraising activities, and rewards them for their educational efforts as well as level of sales.

“It’s like planting a tree,” said Sam Ross, a current teen leader with the LWHS Environmental Club. “You don’t see it at first — but then it grows.”

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