The Tomorrow Project

Inspiring sustainable practices in future generations through education and experiential learning

Photo of Maxwell Feldman
6 17

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Additional categories (optional)

  • Education

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

  • Yes

Eligibility: Date of Birth

07/16/2003

Help us stay in touch!

425-503-0309 27138 NE 29th Pl WA: Redmond (98053)

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

www.instagram.com/the.tomorrow.project www.tomorrowprojectseattle.org

Date You Started Your Project Started

04/04/2019

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?

Climate change is a product of everyone's actions, no matter how small they may seem. However, while it is very simple to want to make a difference, it is incredibly difficult to alter the mindset of adults once habits are formed surrounding waste management and sustainability practices. Many kids grow up unaware of the importance of climate change, uneducated as to how simple unsustainable choices affect their futures - and that needs to change.

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

Our philosophy at The Tomorrow Project 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 the people. Recently, sustainability has become a common topic of discussion, but solutions often target communities with more money. We want to demonstrate that it does not have to be expensive nor difficult to help the environment our future depends on. Our goal is to foster sustainable practices and normalize environmentally conscious behaviors in all schools and communities by way of customized programs in local underserved schools. Prospective solutions include setting up compost bins in cafeterias and inspiring sustainable classroom habits such as turning off the lights when leaving. We plan on working with the students through interactive, hands-on lessons, and giving them easy tasks that they can complete at home, so they can lead sustainable lifestyles. Additionally, to generate excitement around the topic, we will implement a rewards system that recognizes the students' contributions to an eco-friendly community.

3. 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 a prevalent issue in our society. After the seminar, this quickly 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. But there is more to be done. Starting out, we identified food waste as an issue in our community. We first contacted the City of Kirkland with a proposal, and we are now piloting a public food waste bin to determine how we can work towards permanent public composting. However, after realizing that the root of the issue was not a lack of resources, rather a fixed mindset, we came up with this new project, to target habits before they are even formed.

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

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

The initial connection will be made by reaching out to the school administration. We will share our mission and vision, and information about the importance of sustainability. Once they agree to partner, we would build off of their current sustainability initiatives and create a custom green plan specific to their needs. Each individual plan will follow an interactive, hands-on model to share with students. It will include games, workshops, information nights, and more to teach students and their communities about being eco-friendly. Our goal is to make sustainability seem “cool” so that students create a domino effect with their parents at home. We are also developing a volunteer model, open to other students interested in joining the project. We have already had a couple of people reach out to us asking about how they can participate, so we are confident this model will succeed.

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

Sustainability initiatives often target those from privileged backgrounds as they are perceived as costly, creating a falsified barrier for people in lower-income areas. We want to break this barrier, working directly in underserved areas. But we know that we must approach our project in a way that sets schools up for long term success, which is why we are customizing our program for each school. We want our ‘for the students, by the students’ initiative to be grounded in impact - unlike many programs that come to schools and only provide resources - by developing lifelong sustainable habits.

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

Recently, we successfully started a public composting pilot project in Kirkland. After presenting our idea to city council, Kirkland accepted our proposal and began working on implementation. The pilot project has launched and today you can use our public food scraps bin downtown. We have yet to see the results of this project, but if it is successful the City of Kirkland has agreed to implement similar bins across the city, which would greatly increase public composting in the city. We have also pursued several sustainability initiatives at our school. At the end of last year, we worked with the Dean of Students and the Food Services Manager to get information on our school’s sustainability habits and make suggestions. Over the summer, the school implemented many of our ideas! We also started an Instagram to share our progress and inspire others to be sustainable in their own lives.

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

Although we have started planning out what we would like to accomplish in schools, we have yet to implement our model. With this funding, we can start to gather materials for events, including reusable water bottles to give to kids in the schools we visit. We would also use the money for larger school-wide projects such as installing compost bins and hiring speakers to educate the kids. We would also like to tackle other areas of sustainability in our community. If the Kirkland food waste pilot project is a success, we will use that as leverage for expansion. Our project has also drawn the attention of other local citizens; the Redmond high school green team asked us to partner with them in initiatives to make Redmond more sustainable.

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

  • Project Plan & Strategy

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

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

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)
  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)
  • Middle Eastern or North African (for example: Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, Algerian) (11)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth

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6 comments

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Photo of DREW Team
Team

I am very excited about this project! I love the idea of making sustainability accessible to groups such as students and those who cannot afford to participate in existing programs.

Photo of Akerth Jain
Team

Awesome project! I like the "public composting" idea a lot, I wish my city had that implemented. Also, the idea of affordable sustainability is a great innovative idea! Good luck, I hope you win!

Photo of Teresa Allnoch
Team

We need to support and encourage any ideas focused on improving our environment.

Photo of Ethan Ocasio
Team

We're always for people who want to protect our planet. We like your project.

Photo of Jennifer Feldman
Team

Thank you for taking on such important work!

Photo of David
Team

Great work. Truly proud of your initiative and achievements thus far!