Stories help move people in ways that create real change and real movements.
YesSheCanCampaign Promotional Video
Spotlight Program: Brooke
YesSheCanCampaign On the Road Program
Spotlight Program: Hillary
Mrs.Obama tweeted about Zaniya and the YesSheCanCampaign
Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
December 29, 2016
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)
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 am stepping to make a change because I truly believe you are never too young to make a difference. I have experienced many hardships in my life from growing in a military family to being the only African-American girl in my grade in high school, to being a victim of bullying to being rejected to my dream colleges. I experienced hardships financial, socially and emotionally. Through it all, I continued to climb and use my struggles as inspiration and motivation to create my own organization focus on sharing the stories of women who are overcoming obstacles while striving to complete their education. During my struggles, I saw the lack of community, I thought I was the only one experiencing hardships. Our organization provides girls and young women with a supportive community. Our organization is youth-led because I believe that young people have always been the forefront of movements.
Zaniya Lewis on the cover with Former First Lady Michelle Obama after winning a writing contest in 2016 that asked readers to write an essay on how they are overcoming adversity.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
We understand that there are many obstacles women face while they are striving to complete their education. We are helping to solve the problems of opportunity and educational resources not reaching certain girls because of their socioeconomic status. Through our programs we are helping girls gain confidence, be exposed to opportunities and navigate through college and life. Everyone should have the opportunities and resources to succeed.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
We have Spotlight Program where girls share their stories about overcoming adversity on our social media platforms. Our ambassador program gives girls an opportunity to take leadership roles in our campaign and promote it in their local communities. We have an On the Road program where our campaign host workshops and panel discussions for middle- college students. The workshops topics self-esteem, social media, finding your passion and more. Our Digital Internship Program gives girls, young women, and youth the opportunity to gain real-world experiences. YesSheCanCampaign Media, our media program consists of our virtual college tour program and our Inspire Blog. Our members record campus tours and post them on our insta-story for followers who may not be able to take a tour in person. For the Inspire Blog, our members write blogs and this gives them the opportunity for them to use their writing as a tool to enact change. We host a Sparkle Summit once a year consists of workshops, panel discussions, and service projects. The goal of the summit is to ensure that youth come out inspired and empowered to take on the world despite the obstacles that they may face.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
In January our organization was a guest on Good Day D.C. where we spoke about our organization and how people can get involved. We received messages from two girls stating that they saw us on television and that they wanted to get involved. We emailed them and they became ambassadors for our organization. A couple months later, we were looking for volunteers to attend our On the Road program and they signed up. We spent eight hours doing workshops with girls in middle school and we all got along as if we knew each other for a long time. This experience displayed that our organization bought each of us together, we never seen each other before this event and never knew each other before connecting through social media. This was a prime example how our organization is bringing women together from different places and backgrounds. Now, we all are like a family!
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Although there are many organizations that help young girls and women with building confidence, preparing them for college and more. Our organization is unique because the YesSheCanCampaign is run by ordinary high school and college students who all are currently overcoming adversity. We have all experienced similar situations. We have noticed that it is hard when adults give us advice, but with us being similar ages as the girls in our organization they tend to resonate with us more. Our organization is focused on using our stories to empower, inspire and motivate each other to keep climbing.
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
The YesSheCanCampaign was first an Instagram that shared the stories of women who are overcoming adversity while striving to complete their education. Then, we received so many emails asking what was next so we expanded. Our social media platforms have grown from 50 followers to 700+ followers. We have reached 500+ girls and young women nationwide through our programs and social media content. Over 50+ girls from across the country have signed up to share their stories on our social media platforms. We have over 30+ girls and young women who are a part of our executive team and ambassador program promoting the campaign in their local communities. Our first Sparkle Summit had 40 participants. Our second Sparkle Summit will have 110 participants. We will be opening #YesSheCanCampaign chapters across the country in the fall. Our national team has 15 team members from across the country.
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
We will be launching two new programs in the next year our YesSheCanCampaign Chapters that will give youth the opportunity to bring the movement to their school, community or campus. The chapter's members can design their chapter by the needs of their community. We also will be opening a digital mentorship/tutor program where people can volunteer to mentor or tutor our ambassadors instead of our team having to do everything. We also are looking to expand our offline programs to different states and have more events in general. We are also looking to partner with more nonprofits and businesses. This year we partnered with Get Schooled Foundation, Taco Bell Foundation, 1,000 Dreams Fund and more.
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
The resources we need to make this a reality is a space. We have been working out of my house this past year. We need a space to actually have our programs, we pay to have programs at other non-profit spaces or at the library. We also need more technology such as ipads and printers to help us with our programs. We also need funding so we reach more people and continue our programming and are sustainable. We have received sponsorships for our Sparkle Summit from various of corporations and businesses. We have a national team of 15 young women. We also have board members because we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we received our status in March. Our real issue is funding and space so that we continue our work of empowering girls and young women.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations between $100-$1k
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.
Our organization is all about youth making a difference. Our organization is run by high school and college students from across the country. Youth have leadership roles in the organization whether it is being an ambassador or on the national team. Youth give college tours and write for our blogs. Youth also share their stories. Our organization is built by youth for youth because we believe you are never too young to make a difference in the world. We made this happen by creating roles and programs for youth. We also have adults as our board members. For our Sparkle Summit that will be held on June 2nd, we have partnered with other changemakers to share their stories on panels. We believe if we work together we can change the world.
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
Communities of color
How did you hear about this challenge?