Empowering youth to become curious ambassadors for the environment through the arts.
The idea for OPAK started over 15 years ago in the childhood home of our Co-Director Melanie Colby. At age 11, Melanie began writing a magazine to promote awareness of the ocean with her childhood friend when they saw trash polluting their local waters in New Jersey. The magazine itself did not go far, but the idea of ocean advocacy bloomed. OPAK is now an education organization reaching out to the youth of communities to teach about ocean and climate sciences, hand-in-hand with an arts curriculum. Public speaking and the power of song allow students to voice their opinions on the impacts of a changing globe. We provide an introductory science package and pair it with hands on experiments, music and visual arts giving youth all of the tools they need to be the next generation of environmental ambassadors.
It is our utmost goal to tailor to local communities, working with local schools and environmental groups to get kids engaged with their native ecosystems. Music and the arts are natural ways for children to express themselves which provides a strong foundation for environmental advocacy. We strongly believe that all students should have the great fortune to enjoy and then advocate for nature because everyone has the ability to speak up for their environment, no matter their background. By educating local youth about their environment we hope to spark a curiosity that will inspire them to become stewards for their communities. Curiosity fosters lifelong learning and therefore lifelong advocacy.