Empowering the next generation through educational resources.

Photo of Arun

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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..."

Despite being in the heart of Silicon Valley, the Bay Area is far from perfection. As I accompanied my dad to his office in Oakland, the stark contrast of the unemployment and hopelessness in some of Oakland’s small communities awoke me. Throughout my middle and early high school years, I have watched from the sidelines as organizations pushed for greater government funding, enhancing the school curriculum and fulfilling the necessities of free lunch programs. But as I, myself, continued to wonder what to do with my free time, I realized how much self-motivation determines success. Without convincing our students that they have the ability to break the status quo and change their lives, developmental suppression will continue to threaten poor neighborhoods. Therefore, the purpose of my foundation is directed at the motivation for students who lack the necessary resources to find success.

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

The purpose of my organization is to cultivate, specifically, a passion for reading that will carry students throughout their lives. I have launched the summer reading program at two Oakland schools and distributed renowned books( I Am Malala, The Hate U Give, and March) to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. After reading these books, participating students will be uploading their motivational essays on our website.

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

Our organization has set many plans in motion. These past few weeks have opened gateways towards reaching a bigger audience, as publishing companies have generously given books and discounts for us to donate. We are concurrently working with multiple middle schools, since we believe the beginning of adolescence is the most essential period for inspiration, to send books (like The Hate U Give, March, All American Boys, Smile and I Am Malala) to the students before the school year ends. This is part of our aid to the school summer reading programs where the students will complete the book and write essays that will grant them opportunities to more unconventional materials and easy access to educational resources. Future fundraising through music concerts and cultural events have also been planned during the summer in prospect of August, when the school year starts and we can introduce the following phase; we will add in backpacks with more books and learning materials( access to subscription education-oriented websites).

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

We want people to volunteer in our organization in order to expand our outreach, bring more innovative ideas, and increase collaboration with stakeholders. We are always looking for ways to motivate the future generation. We have a plan for students who benefit from our organization. In our current phase, the books we have chosen are to motivate the students and provide them an effective way of using their summer. By cultivating this love for reading, students will discover unteachable treasures applicable throughout their life. In order to ensure that poverty does not hinder student development, writing essays based on the books we provided ensures that the students are able to follow their passion. Through this manner, our organization has created a competition whose only competitor is the individual themselves. This is the basis of creativity and the solution to hopelessness.

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

Conventional programs focus on improving school test performance or enhancing school resources. However, when viewed from a larger perspective, these solutions are only short term. Our organization, LiftPack, is dedicated to lifting students out of their pedestrian indifferences and leading them towards inciting specific passions. Through individual exploration, students can find their passions naturally without suffering from academic pressure. Rote school learning can only take students so far; self-motivation is the key to long term success.

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

By collaborative discussion with school administrations these past few weeks, our organization has motivated school leaders to rethink their current reading programs. With the aid we implemented, two schools have already enhanced their summer reading programs through using the books our organization supplied. More importantly, students are given an option to write essays and receive more material.

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

LiftPack is already in the process of planning the next year funding activities such as concerts and multicultural events. With greater involvement, our organization can take our web interface to the next level where students can interact directly and we can reach a greater diversity of schools. We are also launching an initiative to collaborate with corporations to find sustainable revenue streams, scholarships, donations, etc.

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

With greater corporate sponsorships, a larger team of experienced volunteers, and partnering with teacher associations, our foundation can be taken off the ground and to the next level. In addition, promoting LiftPack through social media will increase awareness of the issue and augment our fundraising.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100

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.

In my last year of middle school, I developed my purpose for educating other students by starting with only one. He was visually impaired and for almost a year, I taught him mathematics. I taught him by myself. However, in my first year of high school, I began helping students learn Spanish through a summer program. Here, a group of friends and I worked together to make a difference. Now, I am looking to expand my leadership group even further. By partnering with other like-minded change makers, we can help students use the education system to their best ability and, more importantly, develop their personality as they discover true passions. Others can directly join our organization by building relations with school administrations and corporate sponsors. Together, as a team, we can work towards long term solutions fighting poverty and hopelessness.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Denilson Pierre Louis

I can’t think of a better way for kids and just about anyone else to learn new stuff then by reading. Reading is essential to everyday life. I’d love a collaboration with you. This is awesome.

Photo of Arun

Hi Denilson! Thank you for your kind words. I definitely agree with you that a collaboration would take the organization to the next level through expanding connections and resources! What is your proposal? Feel free to email me at

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