AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin teenager is already making a big impact in his community.
"For some plants I have to trim them, others I have to like fertilize," says LASA sophomore Ian McKenna.
It's hard work and dedication to tend for a garden, especially for a teenager.
"I'm in the garden every day," says McKenna.
McKenna has several gardens — four at schools, one in his backyard and one at Austin Orchards.
It's a project that sprouted about six years ago, when he was just eight years old. That's when he learned that other kids at his school weren't getting enough to eat.
"They can afford food, it's just not healthy," he says. "It's not organic and it's not really good for them."
But when he tried to volunteer they told him he was too young.
"I thought, 'If everyone's turning me down, why not start something of my own?'"
Now he estimates he's given more than 15,000 pounds of fruits and vegetable to food banks and directly to families.
That's why Prudential is recognizing him with its Spirit of Community Award. He's one of two winners in the state.
This is the 24th year for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. It honors students in grades 5 through 12 doing great volunteer service.
"There's no such thing as too young," says McKenna.
That's the message he hopes will serve as that extra push to encourage other kids to grow their own idea on how to make a change in their community.
McKenna now wants to expand his gardens into other cities.
In addition to harvesting all of his food, McKenna raised about $70,000 for another organization that encourages kids to fight hunger through community gardens. You can learn more about that organization here.
You can follow McKenna's journey here.