Campaigner Lulu wins Nickelodeon award and holds #UpForSchool Petition drive
Up for School or #upforschool campaign
Lulu Cerone knows young people are capable of achieving amazing things. At the age of just 10, she had a simple idea that raised $4000 for victims of the Haiti earthquake.
She gave a twist to the iconic image of the American lemonade stand, putting on a girls versus boys fundraiser called LemonAID Wars. It was such a success that she founded LemonAID Warriors to encourage other children to make social activism part of their life.
Fast forward five years and Lulu is now a multiple award-winning philanthropist and an A World at School Global Youth Ambassador. She started the 200Girls campaign to mobilise action for education, has helped to provide clean water for thousands of people in Uganda and has spoken at the United Nations.
But the 15-year-old from California was still thrilled by two events in the past month. She was named as one of five winners of this year’s Nickelodeon Halo (Helping And Leading Others) Awards and she ran a drive at her school to get students to sign the #UpForSchool Petition.
The UpForSchool Petition drive at Lulu’s LA school
Lulu said: “Nickelodeon didn’t tell me I had won. They told me they were flying me to New York to do promos for the awards show. When we arrived, there was a stage and a big audience – it was a great surprise. We were up there with Nick Cannon and Jessie J. It was such a surreal and crazy day.”
The teenager will be going back to New York for the actual awards ceremony on November 15, which will honour teens making a difference in their communities. She added: “I’m looking forward to the experience. It’s a great opportunity to get our name out there and get people involved with LemonAID Warriors and to change the way my generation thinks about community service.”
That spirit of helping was evident when Lulu collected signatures for the #UpForSchool Petition at her school in Los Angeles. The petition, hosted by A World at School, is being driven by young people and calls on world leaders to honour their promise that all children around the world would be in school by the end of 2015.
She said: “My friends and school community are super supportive – they are always there to back me up. When we held the petition drive, everyone got involved.”
Lulu, second left, with Nick Cannon at Nickelodeon announcement
Lulu takes inspiration from her role as a Global Youth Ambassador. She said: “I think that when you’re young you’re full of raw ambitions and you have some of the best ideas. Young people are really stepping up these days and it’s great to see that.”
She used our petition toolkit to set up the event and explained: “A World at School is an amazing source of information and a great way to share news and action ideas. Putting pressure on leaders is so important.”
LemonAID Warriors have become widely known for creating the PhilanthroParty idea – helping young people to set up parties that raise money for good causes. So far they have raised more than $65,000.
Lulu’s big passions are finding sustainable solutions to the water crisis in parts of Africa and helping girls’ education there. She said: “In 2013 I travelled to Uganda to visit clean water projects on school campuses that LemonAID Warriors helps to fund. Some of the experiences of the people there resonated with me. The passion that I saw from the school kids was so incredible – that’s what sparked my passion for helping everyone to achieve a safe education.”
Lulu started the 200Girls campaign to raise awareness of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria and mobilised the 200Girls community to sign the #UpForSchool Petition.
With her work at LemonAID Warriors and her role as a Global Youth Ambassador, how does she find the time to fit it in with her schoolwork and still be a normal teenager?
Lulu – who also sings and plays keyboards and drums in a band – said: “I usually clear out my Sundays and use that time for A World at School and LemonAID Warriors. My mom is great and helps me with time management. It’s become such a big part of my life but I’m so used to it now.”
The schoolgirl plans to go to college but can’t imagine giving up her activism. Lulu said: “I want to keep this a big part of my life. It’s natural for me, as I have so many passions. I am constantly finding new things I want to do.”