Parent Spotlight: Rochelle Chen

“This wasn’t just about learning; it was about bringing what I learned back to my classroom and my family.”

– Rochelle Chen, PCC Social Media & Publicity Intern

If you’ve been on The Parents’ Climate Community’s Instagram account lately, you’ve probably noticed an uptick in lovely, creative visuals combined with practical tips for families. That’s all thanks to Rochelle Chen, our new Social Media & Publicity Intern. As a mom of two and former elementary school teacher, Rochelle brings a rootedness in early childhood education and a deep concern for kids’ health and wellbeing to our team.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

As an educator and a mom, I love teaching kids about important things like taking care of our planet. I taught for 10 years, and during that time, I’ve learned how to balance my job and being a mom. My interest in helping the environment grew because I want to make sure the Earth stays healthy for my kids and all the children I taught. That’s how I became involved in projects that help reduce plastic waste and teach others about climate change.

How did you first get involved in climate and sustainability efforts?

My journey into making a difference for our planet began when I was a teacher, which led me to a digital marketing boot camp at the University of Texas at Austin. There, I found an incredible internship with Plastic Reduction Project that opened my eyes to the impact of plastic waste. This wasn’t just about learning; it was about bringing what I learned back to my classroom and my family. Combining my teaching skills with new digital marketing knowledge, I started to spread the word on reducing plastic use. This experience showed me how we can all make a difference, starting with our families and reaching out to the wider community. It’s been a rewarding path that mixes my love for teaching, care for the environment, and the joy of influencing both my students and my own children towards a greener future.

You and your 7-year-old like to learn about environmental and climate topics together. What are a couple of your favorite resources?  

The National Geographic Kids website is a rich source of captivating facts about wildlife and ecosystems, presented through stunning visuals and kid-friendly content that educates and entertains. We especially love the interactive quizzes and videos, which make learning about planet protection an enjoyable experience for the whole family. 

The Austin Common is an excellent local resource for keeping up with environmental events and sustainability efforts in Austin, offering everything from recycling tips to conservation projects. It provides a wealth of content relevant to our community, making it easier for families to learn about and contribute to our city’s green initiatives. This platform is a fantastic way for parents and kids to find engaging, educational activities focused on environmental stewardship.

Activities we love sharing include embarking on nature scavenger hunts, engaging in DIY recycling projects by creatively reusing boxes and containers, and tidying up our surroundings in parks we visit—even if the litter isn’t ours. We make a point of disposing of trash thoughtfully, paying close attention to labeling to ensure proper recycling. Our outings often feature picnics, further enriching our time spent together.

What role do you think digital media can play in social movements?

As someone who’s juggled roles in digital marketing, teaching, and being a full-time parent, I’ve seen how digital media can be a game-changer in supporting causes close to our hearts. It turns awareness into action, helping us and our kids get involved in meaningful ways. Digital media has been key in finding ways to contribute and teaching our children the importance of making a positive impact.

As a busy parent who recently transitioned to a new career, what do you do to take care of yourself or unwind?

In navigating the transition from a decade-long teaching career to the dynamic role of a PPC associate, I’ve learned the importance of balancing professional responsibilities with family life and personal well-being. My journey has led me to explore Austin’s rich coffee shop scene and its numerous parks, finding these spaces ideal for moments of relaxation and reflection. Embracing sustainability, I often bring my own cutlery and prepare my own food for these outings, enhancing the experience and reducing environmental impact. These practices have become a crucial part of my routine, offering not just an escape but a way to connect with other parents looking to weave self-care and eco-consciousness into their bustling lives, sharing insights and inspiration along the way.

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