The Tomorrow Project
Inspiring sustainable practices in future generations through education and experiential learning
Eligibility: Please confirm you meet all the following criteria
You are aged between 14 - 18 as of August 1, 2020
You live in the United States or its territories
You are not employed by, or directly related (grand parents, parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
You have been working on this project for at least three months
You consent to us possibly featuring your work on social media
You confirm you have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form
Eligibility: Date of Birth
What gender do you identify with?
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27138 NE 29th Pl
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Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Climate change is a product of everyone's actions. However once bad habits are formed, it is incredibly difficult to alter them. Many kids grow up unaware of the importance of sustainability and the science behind it, uneducated as to how simple unsustainable choices affect their futures. This lack of exposure causes them to form bad habits at a young age and makes it harder to shift the paradigm once they grow older.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Our philosophy is that anyone can have an impact on society, but the most lasting changes in a community take place when you shift the mentality of people. We partner with schools and build customized curricula to foster sustainable practices and normalize environmentally conscious behaviors. Activities include modeling water pollution through science experiments and setting up compost bins in the cafeteria. We work with the students through interactive, hands-on science lessons and give them simple, sustainable tasks that they can accomplish both at school and at home. We are also working to implement school-wide science-based sustainability projects - such as a community garden or worm bin. These projects allow students to pursue their scientific learning once we leave the classroom, as they can continue to interact and learn from the natural environment in educational ways. Once we leave the classrooms, we will continue to check in with the schools on these projects, to make sure that they are still running smoothly. Additionally, if these classroom and school-wide initiatives change student’s habits, a “domino effect” will start that will impact the larger community.
3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.
At The Tomorrow Project, we believe that science is an essential part of learning about sustainability. Through our educational workshops, we bring hands-on, interactive science experiments and activities to elementary school classrooms. Science is instrumental in actually understanding the reasons behind the importance of sustainability and critical in encouraging students to make green choices. We believe that our classroom and school-wide activities will give students the opportunity to see first hand why it is so important to care for our planet and inspire them to make green choices in their everyday lives. The workshops we have constructed also connect to common core science standards and requirements, making them easy to integrate into already mandated science curricula and encourage interdisciplinary learning.
4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
We have always been passionate about serving our community, especially in terms of sustainability, since our future is on the line. We met in a seminar at school in which we had to identify an issue in our community. This became a passion project that we wanted to pursue independently. Living in such a forward-thinking city with people dedicated to making change further inspired us to pursue this project. However, there is more to be done.
Starting out, we identified an issue with food waste in our community. We began by contacting the City of Kirkland and together piloted a public food waste bin to figure out how we can work towards permanent public composting. However, after realizing that the root of the issue was not due to insufficient resources, but rather a fixed mindset, we came up with this new project around education to target habits as they are forming in students.
5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”
6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.
In mid-2019, we partnered with the City of Kirkland to implement a public composting pilot. Shortly after, we began partnering with local schools to lead classroom workshops and establish school-wide sustainability initiatives. Additionally, other climate projects, like Climate Strike WA, have asked us to work with them to spread awareness about the science of sustainability. And recently, youth across the country have contacted us about starting their own Tomorrow Project chapters.
7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
We are proud to be a for-youth, by-youth project. Elementary schoolers look up to high schoolers; they see us as their teachers/mentors and also peers, generating more excitement. Unlike most programs, we provide hands-on, interactive activities that students directly engage with.
We also prioritize making these projects cost-friendly. We know that public schools typically don’t have a lot of excess funds, so we want to help ease the burden by providing our services at a minimal cost.
Finally, our program is fully customizable; we work to fit the needs and resources of a given school.
8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?
In the past few months, we have partnered with four schools in the area and have impacted over 500 students. However, due to COVID-19, we have postponed many of our events.
Our first hands-on workshop at a local elementary school went super well! We taught the students about water pollution in our local Lake Washington. They were incredibly engaged and excited, and were able to identify specific action items they learned at the end of the lesson - proving that the experiment was successful. After the lesson, we took the list of action items the students created and made a poster for their classroom, so that they could remember the workshop and the actions they committed to doing. We are also working on a community garden for that school, and we want to bring in more high school students to teach the elementary schoolers about the garden and its importance in the community.
9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Currently, our main objective within the next year is scaling at a variety of levels. Now that we’ve established partnerships in multiple schools and seen the validity of our program in action, we are looking to grow. One of the main ways we hope to expand is through creating new Tomorrow Project chapters across the country. Student groups in Chicago have already reached out to us regarding this. We also want to grow our local Seattle team by adding more specialized members to our base team in roles like finance director and social media manager. By the end of 2021, our goal is to have 5+ Tomorrow Project Chapters and partnerships with 20 elementary schools.
10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.
We are currently ramping up our outreach strategy, as we are looking to add new members to our team and launch new chapters. Our biggest form of influence has been social media - we have taken advantage of Instagram to reach other youth and environmental groups. We are always posting content - whether big or small - so that our followers can see how exciting our work is! We have also put a lot of time into designing our website, to strengthen our credibility and demonstrate our professionalism.
11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?
We would love to partner with other changemakers who are working in schools to tackle the issue of climate change. We think our project is easily scalable, so others can get involved and implement it in their community. In addition, we would love to bring technology/innovations that other changemakers have built that encourage sustainability to the schools we partner with.
12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?
Climate Change is an issue that impacts EVERYONE and if we do not collectively take action now, the devastation will be irreversible. However, the problem can feel unapproachable because of its scale, and in turn, passionate people opt to do nothing. Our project emphasizes small, simple actions that are easy to implement - which can be extremely powerful when done collectively. To get other’s buy-ins, we demonstrate how easy it is to be sustainable - which enables many people to take action.
13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations between $1k-$5k
Jennifer Feldman - email@example.com, 425-647-7478
Anupam Gupta - firstname.lastname@example.org, 425-829-2991
Abhay Jain - email@example.com, 425-829-8103
Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?
How did you hear about this challenge?
Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
Ashoka page or contact