Be The Change Venture 501(c)(3)
I am changing the way we educate and prepare young people, ages 14-18 in areas that tend to be undervalued, in the United States to succeed.
Additional categories (optional)
Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Eligibility: Date of Birth
May 14, 1998
Help us stay in touch!
948 Brunswick Rd, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 44112
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Date You Started Your Project Started
August 1, 2014
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
We’re facing a professional development crisis in the United States, where young people, particularly those found in urban and rural areas, are not prepared to thrive in tomorrow’s workforce. 1 in 4 people in the United States today are unable to communicate effectively. 85% of today’s jobs are filled through an established connection. 43% of employers surveyed by McGraw-Hill Education believe recent college graduates are workforce ready.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
My team and I are addressing both the professional and skill development gap of young people in both urban and rural communities. We do this through a professional development curriculum which is a series of classroom workshops, online coaching, and community-centered events. These three core activities help young people develop both soft and practical skills, find and obtain an internship or job opportunities, and build relationships with experienced professionals. Our work creates a central space for young people both online and face-to-face throughout the year.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
I’m a proud midwestern boy. I live in a community where families live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. I was raised by a single mother, who would go to school and work full-time while raising three African American young men. She required my two young brothers and me in grade school to wake up every morning before she traveled for work, shake her hand, give our introduction while all giving perfect eye contact. This was one of the most intimidating experiences of my childhood and was many times in which I failed. But my mom taught me a very important lesson: communicating effectively and building relationships could be powerful assets in the future no matter which work-sector I choose to pursue. I wanted to share the same lesson with my peers which resulted in me in creating Be The Change Venture during my junior year in high school.
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.
We train and empower those who want to get involved in ensuring youth are prepared beyond high school. Roles are centered upon our three core activities: facilitating a workshop to a classroom, engaging with our local partners, or facilitating a community event. It’s team members like Jesse Ferguson, who leads our work in Lincoln, Nebraska while finishing his studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Last year, Jesse was inspired by the work we were doing primarily in Cleveland, Ohio and decided to adopt our model to his community in Lincoln, Nebraska. Within six months, he has established a team of other college students and created partnerships with Lincoln Public Schools and soon help refugee youth and first-generation college students develop both the communication and relationship-building skills to be workforce ready.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Currently, there is a small group of organizations within the youth-development market that seek to provide youth skill and occupational training. And by understanding their approach over the years, we have found their programming to be limited because they are carried out in either one sitting or during a fixed time of the year. This hinders the education and opportunity young people can receive and further prevents them from reaching their fullest potential. We counter this disparity by offering our service both online and face-to-face year-round.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
In five years, we have served 1,000 youth. This year alone, we have worked with 300 young people, ages 14-18 in communities across Cleveland, Ohio and Lincoln, Nebraska. As a result of our programming, we have found 79% learn how to communicate effectively, 69% are empowered to build relationships, and 74% feel more prepared for future work opportunities. It’s students like Erica, a senior at Shaw High School in East Cleveland, Ohio, who is already STNA-certified and near to completing her health career technical education. She appreciated classroom exercises like our “make a first impression with a handshake” because it allowed her to learn from her failure and to be important when building relationships.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Short term, we’re working with Cleveland Metropolitan, East Cleveland, and Lincoln City Public Schools and programs like the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s NOREMA Internship and Case Western Reserve University’s High School Polymer Envoys. Within the next year, we will be working with these schools and organizations to enhance the quality of education for 2,000 young people in under-resourced areas like the Central Ward of Cleveland and the City of Scottsbluff. Long-term, we will be working to be a central hub for the 53,000 young people across both the urban and rural areas of Ohio and Nebraska.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
Donations between $1k-$5k
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?