Ann Arbor teen honored with young heroes prize for environmental impact

“Nothing is more inspiring than stories about heroic people who have truly made a difference to the world.”

Ann Arbor teen Isabel "Izzy" Sutton's JustIZZY initiative has donated almost $8,000 to nonprofits. (Caroline and Izzy Sutton)

ANN ARBOR – Pioneer High School freshman Isabel “Izzy” Sutton is one of 25 young leaders across the United States and Canada to receive a 2022 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.

Sutton, 13, has raised almost $8,000 for area environmental causes and nonprofits through selling handmade biodegradable bracelets and ornaments through her JustIZZY initiative.

JustIZZY aims to reduce plastic consumption and raise awareness, which Sutton does through recycled, informational cards attached to her eco-friendly products. Each card displays information about the nonprofit that donations will go to.

Sutton started her initiative in fifth grade after learning about the impact of plastic pollution on Albatross populations. Having grown up close to nature, she petitioned her classmates and school to reduce their plastic consumption. Sutton then asked city and school board officials to ban single-use water bottles at school events.

She has even asked Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to limit the state’s plastic consumption.

“I’m grateful for this journey I’ve been on for three years,” said Sutton in a release. “I’ve discovered a passion for environmental issues and have learned to never give up on things that matter.”\

This year, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes was given to 15 winners and 10 honorees out of 500 applicants who have made an impact on their communities and the environment.

“Nothing is more inspiring than stories about heroic people who have truly made a difference to the world,” said prize founder T. A. Barron in a release. “And we need our heroes today more than ever. Not celebrities, but heroes – people whose character can inspire us all. That is the purpose of the Barron Prize: to shine the spotlight on these amazing young people so that their stories will inspire others.”

More than 500 young adults who have demonstrated compassion and focus on their community have been honored with the Barron Prize since it was founded in 2001 by Barron, who named it after his mother.

Learn more about the prize at barronprize.org.


About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.