Grounds of Change

Making every single teenager into a world changer.

Photo of Gianna R
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Additional categories (optional)

  • Technology

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

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth


Help us stay in touch!

Phone number- 724-858-6931 304 Churchill Dr. Pennsylvania: Greensburg (15601)

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

Date You Started Your Project Started


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?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world!” My teacher wrote that quote on the board and my partner, Owen, looked at me and said: “That is a stupid quote because it’s not like I’m in a position to change the world.” Owen’s response is the problem. Many of my peers don’t have hope that they can make a difference. From climate change to clean water access to race relations, teenagers need to believe more in their power to make a difference.

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

My peers need to see that every person who has changed the world was once a teenager, and most of them were just like us. To prove this to them, I sent letters to one hundred people who have done awesome things and simply asked them to have coffee with me over Facetime. Since May of 2019, I have been interviewing 40 difference makers about who they were as a teenager and their journey from high school to changing the world. I write a blog about each interview and post it to a website I created called Grounds of Change ( Teenagers read the blog to find themselves in these difference makers. For example, my second blog interview was with Monica Yunus, the founder of Sing For Hope. As a teenager, she was talkative, loved to sing, and continually thought about college. Those characteristics led Monica to start a nonprofit that spreads hope through music. I call these stories someone’s Grounds of Change and I use them to help teenagers find their own Grounds of Change. In the future, I plan to continue inspiring my generation with an interactive website that engages young visitors in planning and taking their first steps toward making a difference.

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

In August of 2018, the entire course of my life changed because I found Beverly’s Birthdays and its founder, Megs Yunn. Beverly’s Birthdays is a nonprofit that throws birthday parties for children in need in Pittsburgh and I knew I had to become a part of it. Soon after I began volunteering, I carpooled with Megs to one of the parties and talked to her about her high school self. She loved talking, student council, making new friends and standing in the student section on Friday nights. I realized that Megs, although she had founded this incredible nonprofit, was not that different from me. I found that really inspiring because it meant that I could change the world too. I firmly believe that teenagers can make a difference, they just need someone to tell them they can...they need an inspiring car ride. So, I set out to find those people for my friends and Grounds of Change was born.

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.

Currently Grounds of Change readers scroll through my blogs and are inspired to make their own impact in their community. In the future, I want to make Grounds of Change interactive and informative. For example, my friend Owen (from question 1) visits the site and fills out a self assessment. Sidney Kushner, the founder of Connecting Champions comes up as Owen’s Grounds of Change match. Owen reads his story and realizes that Sidney was just like him in high school. He loved doing homework, playing football and never could find a girlfriend. Owen is also matched with the local animal shelter and starts volunteering every Tuesday. He also learns of a give back company which may interest him. He purchases a beanie from the give back company which, in turn, supports a little boy with cancer. Owen found his Grounds of Change and is positively impacting the world.

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

Grounds of Change is different because it is created by a teenager for teenagers. Our approach is also different because I am not just looking for teenagers who are already doing great things, I am looking to help every teenager find the world changer in them. Other organizations are trying to unite world changers, while Grounds of Change is uniting teenagers by making them all world changers. When a student goes onto Grounds of Change, they will leave it believing they can change the world AND have a plan of action to do it.

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

In the next year, I plan to continue to interview world changers from across the country. I will reach my goal of interviewing 100 difference makers in one year. To date, I have interviewed 40 people and published 20 blogs. Additionally, I hope to begin to build Grounds of Change into the interactive level to increase user engagement. Within the first couple of weeks, most of my blogs are getting 100 views normally from visitors local to my area or local to the person I wrote about. For example, when I published Snooky’ story, a woman from California who provides free salon services to women going through cancer, visitors and followers from California increased dramatically. Everytime I publish a blog, my own friends from school text me about how they connected to it.

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

My next steps include getting expertise on creating the assessment. I have several teachers who are supportive and I think they could help with this. I will then need to find a web designer who can build the new Grounds of Change platform. I am also interested in finding out how much the people I interview would be willing to connect with teenagers who match with them. All of the people I have interviewed have been very gracious with their time. I believe that many of them would love to have at least one conversation with a teenager they are inspiring. At some point, I plan on bringing Grounds of Change into schools. I want every single student to realize the impact they can and will make. I plan on having my generation change the

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

  • Web/Mobile Development

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

  • 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)

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

  • No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Email

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

Amelia Frank Meyer Founder of Alia Innovations


Join the conversation:

Photo of Katie Kertoy

What a fantastic idea! This is something that could really connect so many students to amazing opportunities. So many schools could utilize this. Well done!

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