The Student Initiative
Creating an environment of leadership, mentorship, and support for our youth to create community initiatives.
Title 1 School: Book Share Event
Our storage unit brought to Dominica
Back To School Event
Tabling for Youth Day of Service
UTSA College of Business Students partnering with Microsoft
Handing out backpacks in Dominica
Signing Words of Encouragement to Students in Donated Books
Youth Ambassador, Cristina, donating over 300 books
New York Youth Ambassador Event
Dominica Youth Service Project
Books Signing Event
Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Eligibility: Date of Birth
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11015 Rocky Trail, Texas: San Antonio (78249)
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.
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
The challenges include economic disadvantages, low literacy rates, and limited access to educational resources for underprivileged students. Over 750 million adults in the world are considered illiterate, the correlation stems from limited access to educational resources. Lack of resources and support leads to a student's academic decline. Closing the gap and creating better opportunities for students will help elevate the economic disadvantage.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Our main objective is to reach the heart of as many students as possible by mentoring youth leaders to increase the standards of quality education by facilitating education initiatives. By empowering youth to be leaders unifies our communities to help increase access to quality education and a love for reading. Being apart of the nonprofit Give More Hugs, our students for students model, ambassador program, mentors, trains, and mobilizes youth from across Texas and beyond to initiate projects to help students at a local Title 1 School in their community. Currently, we have 28 ambassadors from the U.S. Our goal for the first 6 months is to donate 20,000 books and 5,000 backpacks with school supplies or food supplies. The next 3 months will be dedicated to expanding our ambassadors in the US and Dominica through Youth Leadership Discover workshops. Through this workshop, we will have a youth leadership panel and leadership activities. In closing, we will have a service project to get more students involved in our mission. We piloted the Youth Leadership Discovery workshop with 3 US Ambassadors in Dominica. We will recruit youth teams through this project and empower students to join
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
It wasn’t a question if I wanted to give back, but a matter of who will I give back to. I came across Give More Hugs in the early development of their youth program and took the leadership opportunity in my own hands. I took my own initiatives and raised funds for needed resources. I made good connections with a Title 1 school in Southside San Antonio. I gained enough books to provide every student with a book to take home. I was placed in the library to meet every student and do a Bookshare. What really rattled me was that I was inside a library that was about ⅓ the size of the elementary school library I had. Not only that but there were rows of empty bookshelves. This sent millions of questions, empathetic concerns, and ideas in my mind.
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.
When a youth leader decides he/she wants to help students in underserved communities have access to a quality education and books, they apply and interviews to be an ambassador for their community. Each year, we mentor up to 30 students who partake in virtual conferences and implement projects where they see the most need. We offer mentorship in our programs which include: book drive, book share, backpack drives, and school supply drives. We guide and empower students on who and how to develop partners and fundraise for needed supplies. There are mentors from all over the U.S to share ideas with ambassadors on how to complete a successful project and gain the support of their community. We provided physical resources and support our ambassadors every step of the way. I have done all programs and currently mentor all U.S youth leaders on how to follow through with initiatives.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Our project differs from existing efforts in that we have a focus on youth lead projects scaled on the national level. Youth ambassadors are recruited from all over the U.S and Dominica. Our growth has reached as far as New York, Washington and Dominica from students in Texas encouraging and empowering youth around the world to impact and reach more students through outreach and community partnerships. Today’s youth strive to be the change they want to see, and we support them through our leadership and mentorship model. It’s the connection from student to student that makes us so unique.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
What is so fun is seeing impact and growth before our eyes. We have trained, coached, and developed over 125 middle school, high school, and college students. These youth ambassadors are found all over the U.S which include Texas, New York, California, and Washington, to name a few. Uplifting communities that are not part of my own is so rewarding. There is not one state that does not need the unification of our youth. This year alone, over 12,000 books have been signed with words of encouragement inside and donated to Title 1 schools, churches, and after school programs. This fall, well over 4,000 backpacks with school supplies were donated to underprivileged students. The time commitment of over 5,000 volunteers hours from mentors and ambassadors were given for the sake of developing our future generation.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
We plan to create a scalable Youth Leadership Discovery Workshop to reach more students across the US. We will plan and host these workshops in Texas and New York this spring and our 2021 Global Youth Leadership Summit in Dominica. Through regional Youth Leadership Discovery workshops, we hope to reach more students. As we continue to build our team of Ambassadors in Dominica, we plan to recruit more students and implement literacy initiatives for students across the island. This summer, June 2020, we plan to invite 5 ambassadors to share their story of impact at our first annual leadership gala honoring students for students and fundraising to continue our mission.
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?
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?
No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community
How did you hear about this challenge?
Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?