The Nightlight Project

Helping Bring Light Into the Young Lives That Need it Most.

Photo of Leilani Serbousek
19 12

Written by

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

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

August 20th, 2002

Where are you located:

Arizona: Tucson(85742), Marana(85743)

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

https://www.instagram.com/thenightlightproject/
This is the application that recipients of the care packages will fill out: https://goo.gl/forms/Gbbl8QroEChONaBx2

Personal Social Media:
https://www.instagram.com/yoitsleilani/
https://www.twitter.com/yoitsleilaniii/

Date Started

June / 27 / 2017

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

My childhood was difficult, from my parents constantly fighting to my mother attempting suicide on multiple occasions.
I was alone and didn't know what to do or how to get through it.
Eventually I discovered the power of reading, writing, drawing, and just learning in general. If I did not have access to books or these things I'm not sure what I would have done, they helped me escape and find myself.
They were my light and I want to be able to be other's light, whether they are going through a similar situation or something completely different or if they just can't afford them.
My mission is for every child and teen to be able to learn new things and discover new passions that they will carry with them as they grow up and won't have to worry about money, they will just be focused on learning and creating because I had that chance and everyone should be able to as well.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Children and teens in America and around the world do not have access to simple things like books, art supplies, etc. because they cannot afford them. So not everyone has the same opportunities(this is partially due to the capitalistic country we live in and because of corruption), but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to discover new interests. I want to be able to provide these things and give them a chance to develop these passions.

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

We will provide care packages with these themes:

- reader
- writer
- artist
- scientist
- mathematician
- historian
- nature
- leadership
- creator
- etc

These will be free!

Kids/teens can apply to receive these packages tailored to them(can combine interests).
Schools can get involved & tell teachers to nominate certain students or classes to be recipients.
Parents who are having financial struggles can also apply for their kids and receive these boxes that way they can give their children things they otherwise couldn't.

These boxes will be funded by donations and by the money brought in by the nightlights we will sell!

Why sell nightlights?
The idea behind the nightlight is that parents who can afford them can bring the light into their own children's lives because they can and in-turn light will be brought into other children's lives who don't have it or the same opportunities.

Instead of going down the destructive path of drugs or alcohol, these boxes can be the light that helps them find themselves and create a new path because they discovered a interest in something they previously were unaware of because they never had the chance to realize it.

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

This project has not been put into action yet so let's say there was a single mom who could not provide her kids with books, art supplies, etc.. She can apply and tell us what she wants to give her kids(sally, billy, & jimmy) and what she thinks they will enjoy.
Sally likes reading & maybe science, Billy seems to like nature & art, and Jimmy likes to write.
Their care packages:
Sally- books both at her reading level and above to challenge her; she will also get a science kit.
Billy- seeds, soil, and a container to plant the seeds, books regarding nature, and a sketchbook with color pencils.
Jimmy- pencils, notebooks, & writing tips for different writing styles.
They are now able to realize these interests and maybe find out they want to learn more and that they could turn these into jobs for the future(there will be a paper that has a list of jobs similar to the supplies they got).

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

1. We are engaging both sides. Those who have money and can provide for their children and those who can't.
2. We supply to both kids & teens. While helping children is crucial they need to have help and access to these things while they are teens..
3. We provide an assortment of disciplines so the recipients can learn about different things and expand their scopes.
4. We connect jobs to each box. They will see that this thing they are interested in can be a future job to strive towards.
5. We plan to help during their childhood and teen years(we’ll provide multiple boxes as they grow up)

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

We ask the recipients to keep in touch if they are able(not everyone we will be providing these packages to will have access to the internet) and how it has affected them.
We also ask the parents/teachers if they have seen the child grow and how their relationship has changed(these boxes will give parents the opportunity to connect with their children and they can use these things to teach & learn alongside their kids).

We also want the people that buy these nightlights to know how they are making a difference so we will have a chart that will be similar to:

"1 nightlight= 2 books and pencils"
"3 nightlights= a complete care package"

so when someone buys a nightlight or donates they can see what they provided.

There will also be a part of the website(where we plan on selling the nightlights) that will say how many have been sold and how many packages have been delivered.

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

- We plan on connecting with schools/school districts in our town and asking them to tell the parents and for them to tell their teachers to pick students; furthermore, we plan on talking to more school districts in Arizona & the country.
- Our ultimate goal is to spread this worldwide(kids/teens from all over need to realize they are capable of and can do anything)!
- We will give these packages to refugees coming into our country. They will have books both in their first language and English to help them learn. They include other things that will act as a welcome!
- We want to start a pen pal thing between the children whose parents bought them the nightlights and those who received a box! Connecting people from different backgrounds!

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

What we are doing:

We are trying to get schools/school districts to spread what we are doing so we can reach kids/teens that need the supplies we provide.
We are sharing it on social media so we connect to as many people as possible(more people who know= more people helped!)
We have people that know how to make the nightlights.

Where we need help:

We need money to start making the nightlights and providing boxes(until we get a steady stream of donations/purchases).
Creating the website where we will sell the nightlights and where the recipients can apply.
How to accept donations legally because we want to be a non-profit but we are also selling stuff.

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

  • Friend support
  • Family support

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

This was originally just an idea I wrote down last summer but while talking with some friends they were able to make it into what it is. Before I had not even thought about selling actual nightlights! it was such a wonderful idea I thought why not. I also originally wanted this to be worldwide right away, like with children in Syria or Venezuela because I don't really know how else to help besides providing hope for their future, but my friend made a good point on seeing what difference I can make locally and nationally and then work up to worldwide because we will need a lot of contacts in order to distribute and find out who needs these supplies. I also would like others to help come up with different types of packages, like sports or medical? If they could tell us what we could include that would be awesome! I enjoy sitting with others and discussing things and getting feedback and learning from them so I think connecting with others my age or close to it would be beneficial because alone you can't think of everything.

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)
  • 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?

  • Communities of color
  • Disability community
  • Low-income community
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)
  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Other

Evaluation results

12 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 33.3%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 25%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 41.7%

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%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 16.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 41.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 16.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 8.3%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 83.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 33.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 58.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 25%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 16.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

This inspired (1)

Green Initiative

19 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Aya Hamza
Team

Hi Leilani! Your story is awe-inspiring and this idea can most definitely ignite change on a large scale. We at the Agora Project are doing something similar in striving for equity for all youth, regardless of their backgrounds. Keep up the great work and best of luck!

Photo of Leilani Serbousek
Team

Thank you! You do the same!!!

Photo of Aya Hamza
Team

Hey Leilani!

I’m beginning “The Agora Project”, a racial relations project and am hoping to increase the amount of members before we really kick off.

The sign-up link: https://www.theagoraproject.com/join.html

Again, wishing you success with your project!

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