This piece was written by Gertrude Noden, the founder of Words Into Deeds, as a contribution to the Ithaca Voice. For other submissions to the Ithaca Voice, please email

ITHACA, N.Y.—On August 6th Ithaca’s Northside 4-H Urban concluded its Summer Program with their second annual ReUse Fashion Show, which centered around UN Sustainable Development Goal #12: Responsible Production and Consumption. Led by 4-H interns Eh Tha Yooi Lee and Pawta Shue of Wells and Ithaca Colleges, respectively, the older students researched and shared resources with the youngsters to raise their awareness about the positive environmental impacts of re-using or repurposing goods rather than discarding them. 

Participants enjoyed an informative and fun tour led by ReUse staff Robin Elliott and Sean Campbell at the Triphammer ReUse Mega Center. Here they watched employees and volunteers sorting donated clothing to select resalable items from the over 100 bags received each day, and toured other sections where furniture, cookware and dining supplies, toys, books and media, electronics, hardware and many other goods are available. One student commented, “The ReUse economic model is environmentally friendly because it helps conserve water, energy, and it promotes sustainable consumption.” Another noted, “This store is different from box stores because it’s cheaper, the items are donated and reused. It helps the earth because things are being recycled so they don’t end up in landfill.”

The program culminated with a community event, the 4-H Urban ReUse Fashion Show, for which the students donned outfits, accessories and other items acquired from the Mega Center. As they “walked the runway,” a narrator informed the audience about issues related to the sourcing, production, and environmental impacts of cotton versus polyester, plastics, and the minerals and toxins in cell phones, and related these to the importance of informed consumer behaviors. Ramona Cornell 4-H Urban Program Coordinator reflected, “This community collaboration empowered youth voices in protecting our natural resources for a healthier planet.”The event was co-sponsored by Finger Lakes ReUse, which is committed to protecting the environment by redirecting materials from the waste stream into new, productive uses, and Words Into Deeds, which included this event as part of its 2021-22 Global Youth Empowerment Summit now underway. More information on these activities is available their websites.