We the Immigrants

I created a platform that shares immigrant youth stories around their immigration experience.

Photo of Salomée Levy
4 9

Written by

Additional categories (optional)

  • Education

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

www.wetheimmigrants.site Instagram: wetheimmigrants18

Date You Started Your Project Started

November 2,2018

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?

I am working on reducing the prejudice immigrants face in America. Ever since the 2016 election, there has been an increase in deportation and hate crimes toward immigrants–specifically undocumented immigrants and immigrants of color. We always see statistics, but we never hear their voices around this issue. Along with not hearing their voices, they do not have as much college resources which is why We the Immigrants focuses on immigrant youth.

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

We typically see the statistics around the number of people deported since the 2016 elections, but what about their feelings? What about their personal input on it? We the Immigrants builds a platform for immigrant youth and children of immigrants to share their story through art, poetry and opinion editorials to break the prejudice people have against them. Our website platform shares real immigrant voices around their immigration experience instead of reading just a statistic, they are able to change their negative bias towards immigrants. Our writers come from Bolivia, Belize, Pakistan, Kenya and live around the world including: Nevada, Minnesota, Virginia, Michigan, California, Texas, Australia, and Belize. While We the Immigrants share immigrant voices nationally, We the Immigrants has a small education program in Las Vegas that mentors immigrant youth on the college application process and workshop supplemental essays and the personal statement. The college application mentorship program recently started in August and will be expanding the next few months, but overall I provide immigrant youth opportunities through writing and mentorship.

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

Picture this: a young child is told by her mother to not open the door with the fear of ICE coming to arrest them. That girl was me in the first grade, my family lived in fear of getting deported in America. Growing up, I could never really tell people about my family’s immigration status. My family always told me to not share any of our information to my friends. I always loved school, but when it came to opportunity and planning my future, I was not too sure on where to begin. I was not alone; thousands of immigrant youth living in America are facing a similar situation to where they feel silenced and have no support for future plans. Immigrant youth and children of immigrant parents lack opportunity in America which is why I used my past experience with writing for TeenVogue & WashPost to create a platform that shares immigrant youth voices through writing and provides mentorship.

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 immigrant student in Las Vegas walked through the doors on a Saturday morning, their family were not sure where to start in the college application process. The parents never attended college and were not sure who to reach out for assistance. As I Skyped a friend from Cornell University, they were able to break down the application process, what admissions officers expect, FAFSA, and brainstorm ideas for the supplemental essay and personal statement. In just two and a half hours, the student and his family learned so much about the application process and became more confident with college preparation. At We the Immigrants, as our main focus is sharing other immigrants voices, we focus on mentorship and college application assistance in Southern Nevada so immigrant students are prepared to write any essay that comes along their way for college.

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

While there are organizations that translate documents and tell immigrants their rights, there is nothing specifically for immigrant youth and children of immigrants where they have the chance to share their voices and feelings so people can learn about what they are experiencing, along with a lack of resources for college preparation. We the Immigrants overall serves immigrants and works to amplify immigrant youth voices through writing, art and poetry and provides mentorship to help them become writers for well known magazines while also providing college advice to immigrants in Las Vegas.

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

With the rising college application workshop in Southern Nevada, we have helped out 43 immigrant students with their college applications by partnering with the the University of Nevada Las Vegas and reaching out to immigrant college students around the nation in just one month. By the end of this year, we will provide college application mentorship to 450 immigrant students. I currently have 7 writers, I plan on expanding the number of writers once there are more mentors able to provide mentorship to help them pitch to top tier magazines. I plan on reaching out to staff writers from TeenVogue and WashPost (as I wrote for them in the past) so they can provide immigrants the opportunity to amplify their voices on well known magazines. By the end of this month after the summer 2019 has been reviewed, we will have a total of 20 immigrant writers with a fall 2019 series coming out.

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

In the next year, I am hoping to expand my scholarship and college application seminars under We the Immigrants to multiple cities and partner with more universities and university student organizations that can help assist immigrant students with their applications for free. While this is a start, I hope to find more mentors that can assist as immigrant high school students in Nevada have found the twice a month workshops useful and feel more confident about applying to college. I would like to work on networking with admission representatives from top tier institutions so they can connect with students and tell them what they expect on the application so immigrant students are prepared for the rigorous application.

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

  • Public Relations

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

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $100-$1k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

8 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 62.5%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 37.5%

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%! - 37.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 37.5%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 25%

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 - 75%

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%! - 87.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 12.5%

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%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Manat Kaur

It is so cool that you are combining storytelling and education! As you scale the mentoring program, I think it would be really impactful if you connected youth with mentors when they join high school. This way, they could build a strong relationship together and be on the right academic path to create a strong application.

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