We’re in a time where technology often dominates the lives of young people and one organization in Philadelphia is working diligently to reconnect them with nature.
Power Circle Mentors, led by its president Eugene Thomas, who goes by “Buddha,” is on a mission to inspire young minds by showing them the wonders of the natural world.
On a recent episode of ecoWURD hosted by P.O.C., Buddha shared his passion for mentoring teens aged 12 to 19, hosting community events and helping students build a strong foundation. The show featured the Teen Nature Smartphone Photography Club, a program designed to engage young people with nature while giving them a creative outlet through photography.
Buddha opened up about his motivations and goals. “I always try to figure out the answer to that. It really just leads back to God giving me this purpose,” he said, reflecting on his journey into community activism. He emphasized the importance of filling the void he saw in his area by inspiring young people to make positive choices based on his own life experiences.
When discussing the Teen Nature Smartphone Photography Club, Buddha was quick to give credit to the program’s collaborators, including Riverfront North, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and maintaining parks along the Delaware River. Riverfront North played a key role in bringing the program to life, providing a space where young participants could explore nature and develop their photography skills.
As Buddha explained, the program not only gets kids outside but also shifts their attention from constant social media use and gaming to capturing the beauty of nature. Moreover, the program offers students financial incentives, helping them learn the value of hard work and creativity. Budding photographers can even earn money for their photos.
Buddha shared the positive impact he has witnessed during the program. Seeing the smiles on the student’s faces as they engage with the outdoors and capture moments through their cameras brings him a sense of accomplishment. The program gives children a safe space to explore and create, away from the pressures and distractions of daily life.
To learn more about Power Circle Mentors you can follow them on social media, where they provide updates on the organization’s initiatives, workshops and events. Buddha also encouraged individuals to consider supporting the program and helping the youth by volunteering, donating or providing resources.
“Join the Power Circle, tap in with us, and bring more opportunities to these kids,” he said. “Anything is possible. That’s the message.”