HBO’s Big Little Lies has crowned Monterey County with pop culture status. A paradise comprised of picturesque coastlines and row upon row of luscious California live oaks, the scenery is fairy tale in nature. The locals, too, are exceptional. Just over 15 miles from Carmel, where the show takes place, sits Castroville. Known as the “Artichoke Center of the World”—to those who could point out this small town of approximately 6,500 on the map—Castroville is home to Maria Quentas, a teen change-maker with a mission. For Maria and friends at North Monterey County High School, combatting negative stigma fettering their hometown is a daily motivator. Together, with the help of WE Schools service learning resources, these students are changing their local community through positive impacts. Watch as Maria takes on big city problems in her little town, all the while earning her way to WE Day.

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