Gym class won't teach you how to file taxes but the "manila project" WILL!!

This website will teach you the skills and show you the resources you need in order to survive in society. Ex. How do i get health care?

Photo of Zachary Cota
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Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Date Started

December 8th 2012

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I had specific plans for myself after high school graduation, and when those plans for myself did not happen, I became a little lost. Without any back up plans in place, I went through a tough couple of years. Long story short, I ended up being homeless, broke and had no sense of direction. Eventually, I was connected to a case manager and my life started to improve. He taught me how to utilize community resources, so that I was able to transition towards independence. After I became self-sufficient and got myself into a home, got a job, about to graduate from college, mental health club president, I decided I wanted to give back. I wanted to help people who are in the same situation that I was once in. I want to show them how to use society to there advantage and survive and succeed.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

I cant think of any high school that teaches students basic skills that they will need in everyday life. Never was I taught how to file my taxes or how to get food stamps. Students need to be taught how to do basic adult things in order for them to thrive and literally survive.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

This project's website is already live, students can access it through any type of device with an internet connection. I really have a vision of the website having more in-depth tutorials with videos or more literature from experts on the specific need. If a student needs to learn how to get a phone then T-moblie can have a video or link on how to do just that. I also think that this project can hire private tutors and have them sent into high schools to teach survival curriculum. My biggest dream is that there would be drop in sites all over the USA for students to come in and meet with a resource specialist and help them with there survival needs.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

John was in gym class. He sprained his ankle. When he got home he told his mom but she didn't want to help him because John has a troubled home. John knew he needed to see a doctor but he didn't have health insurance or any money. He decided to go on a website that his friend told him about. He went on to the Manila project's website and clicked the medical link. The website told him that he can go to this place even if he didn't have health insurance or money. It gave him the address, phone number and the steps he needed to take in order for it to work. After that John took the bus which he got the route information also from the site and was able to be seen by a doctor. John is fully healed now and gave manila project thanks for the tools he needed when no one else was around to help.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

My biggest "competition" is 211 by the united way. They have the same concept I have. The biggest difference is that my website gives you more details in a user/tone friendly manner. It gives you a summary and steps vs just the information. Bill Gates may have made the computer, but Steve job's made is classy and easier to use for the consumer. Manila is really gentle and easy to navigate, 211 is like a library catalog. It's hard to understand and its really boring.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

So far I have told a couple companies in the town so that they may show it off to people who would benefit from it. I published it on facebook and got a lot of reviews, likes, shares, and feedback. The website is really helpful it just needs help being advertised to the people who need it most. I send out emails all the time so people can know about this site and how helpful it can be.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

I need someone to invest in this project. Both financially and also as a mentor. I need people to help write the curriculum and make videos and teach people the skills. I need this to be advertised to education companies so maybe they will take this idea into there platform. I want this project to be used in every town in this country. I want tom from Texas to be able to log in and see what he needs to do to get car insurance, that video would teach him how and where to go for his small town.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

I need a mentor, I need a company that knows what they're doing and likes my idea and wants to help me make it a reality. I need someone who can make a mobile app, make a better website and do maintenance on it. I need help advertising and having the companies that I do advertise on the site need to pay a fee. I need all the help I can get the non-profit world. Anything will help.

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

I am willing to contribute my time, ideas, and energy to anyone that wants to do something that makes the world a better place. I have a lot of characteristics and abilities that can be useful for the changing the world. I work for a mental health agency where I sit as a young adult board member. We try to influence change within the mental health system. They tell me I have a lot to offer and that I am a team player.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)
  • Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community) (10)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Article in the news

Evaluation results

5 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 40%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 20%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 20%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 20%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 20%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 60%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 20%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 40%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 40%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 20%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 100%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 50%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 40%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 20%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ariyan Miller

Hey There Fellow Changemaker,

Congrats on moving to the next phase. I wishing you the best of luck ! & I am sending love and light to all the positive things that you do.

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