Project SonrYsa

Provide children facing food insecurity with meals to help them focus in school.

Photo of Ysa Moran
3 7

Written by

Additional categories (optional)

  • Education

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

11/17/1999

Help us stay in touch!

813-863-0336. 11426 Donneymoor Dr., Riverview, FL 33569

Date You Started Your Project Started

03/20/2018

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

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

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

A challenge I see in my local community is 1/7 elementary aged students living in poverty are malnourished on the weekends. At various schools in Hillsborough county, where the program is held, over 95% of the students are on Free or Reduced lunch which categorizes the school as a “Renaissance School”. It is essential for children to eat regularly to help them focus in school since they are not focusing on their hunger.

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

Two years I created a 5 year plan to start of a Project SonrYsa at a local elementary school and was then awarded with a grant to start my food distribution initiative. With thegrant I have provided 1,500 meals to date and will provide over 5,000 meals in total with the grant for the next 3 years. With my partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay I have been able to increase the amount of food in the bags to feed the whole family and have more nutritious options. Moving forward I plan to continue to aid in the fight against hunger and educating students and families to live healthy lifestyles by expanding the program to also provide recipe books in the bags so they have options. In addition to assisting in nutrition of the children and families I would like also expand the program to provide free access to online resources or mentoring opportunities to teach the students the importance of eating healthy and guide them on their journey to live healthy lifestyles. I believe adding a mentorship opportunity to my program so students can partner with a nutritionist can help the child in the long run to value their health so they can live a long prosperous life.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I volunteered with my local Kiwanis club in high school and we would provide bags of food to students to take home on the weekends. Each week i would have to look into the eyes of students who were worried if they would eat at home that night, and we were the only source of joy at these dreadful moments. On top of the sadness I felt for the students I was devastated to see the majority of the students who were living in food insecurity were hispanics, which left an even larger sorrow in my heart. For families with hispanic heritage the likeliness of living in hunger is 11% higher than the national average. When I realized it was my own community being the most effected by hunger, I knew I had to help them. The word Sonrisa in Spanish means smile, and so i replaced the I with a Y to include my nickname Ysa, so now i will be bringing smiles to the hispanic community- Project SonrYsa.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

I am stepping up to make change because Hispanic children deserve the chance to be healthy. Hunger is a national crisis and it is unfortunately impacting the Latino community much more than others, and my community needs someone to stand up for them and let them know that they are not alone in their fight against hunger. Latinos must know that it is okay to ask for help and that their health is of the utmost importance, and that I will not stop until every child is fed and well-nourished.

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

Currently at Project SonrYsa locations, each Friday students line up outside of the cafeteria and are given a bag of food at the end of the day to take home for the weekend. With the additional funding from T-Mobile however the bags will now include recipe books for the parents to use to make nutritious meals, in both english and spanish. One friday a month the students and parents will be able to sit with a nutritionist for 15 minutes to discuss their eating habits and physical activity so the nutritionist can get a sense of the childs/families general nutrition and will then provide a list of suggestions that the parents can use to address the concerns the nutritionist has. The nutritionist will also be able to answer any questions the family may have regarding the child's nutritional health, or that of the parents them selves.

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

Project SonrYsa is different becuase it not only provides nutritious foods to children and their families but also will provide sustainable resources and approaches to assist the family for years- not just one weekend. Project SonrYsa and similar backpack food programs currently only give bags of food to families facing hunger, however my program is now moving toward creating systematic change in how families living in poverty address their nutrition and overall health.

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

To date Project SonrYsa has provided over 1500 meals to 40 families in the past year and a half, and have funding to provide an additional 3500 meals with grant funding.

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

In the upcoming year I look to continue my partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay and Kiwanis to continue to aid in the fight against hunger. I would like in the future to educate students and families to live healthy lifestyles by expanding the program to also provide recipe books in the bags so they have options. In addition to assisting in nutrition of the children and families I would like also expand the program to provide free access to online resources or mentoring opportunities to teach the students the importance of eating healthy and guide them on their journey to live healthy lifestyles.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Program Design

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

  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

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

  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)

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

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

No referral, however I have had many assist me in bringing Project SonrYsa to where it is today, and if chosen to attend the think tank I would like to be able to bring someone who has been a great resource and can help me to continue the program.

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 33.3%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 66.7%

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

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

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

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 - 0%

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

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

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

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

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

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

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 66.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

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

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

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

3 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Lynnea Shuck
Team

This is an impactful project, and I'm excited to see it grow and expand!

View all comments