Because of LOVE

Inspiring L.O.V.E (Leadership, Openness, Vision and Excellence),

Photo of Genesis Alcantara
7 2

Written by

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

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

July 2nd, 1996

Where are you located:

My location: Leominster, MA (01453)
Location of the for-purpose organization: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.

Date Started

05/5/2018

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..."

I'm stepping up to make change because it is time for us to realize that as young people, we CAN be world-changers. So many times we've been told NO; because we're too young, don't have the resources, or simply that we're just not good enough. But I have been inspired to make the impossible happen. I dream of a world where the younger generations are the at the forefront of change.

That is why I am starting a for-purpose organization led by young people for the younger generations. It is an after school program in the Dominican Republic in hopes of developing world-changers, leaders, and people who are passionate about serving their communities. Dance classes, boxing lessons, sexual education, and more will be accesible to the community.

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

Unfortunately, these past years there has been a rise in violence, teen pregnancies, High school and primary school dropouts, , and so many other social issues in San Cristobal. I believe that the lack of after school programs is contributing to these issues.
A lot of young people look to the streets to because they don't have any where else to go. They are learning unhealthy behaviors that prevent them from having a better quality of life.

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

Starting a for-purpose organization (non-profit organization modeled by for-profit business mindsets where the ultimate goal is maximizing purpose rather than profit) is definitely a step towards solving this problem. Monitoring and evaluating our programs is a way for us to measure the progress being made.

There are three branches to this organization which are: the arts program, the sports program, and the health and wellness program. Students can participate in as many programs as they would like since the activities will be held on different days.The arts program focuses on dancing, acting, singing, painting, and music. The sports program will provide self-defense classes, basketball, and other sports. The health and wellness program consists of education on nutrition, exercise, mental health, drugs and alcohol, as well as teaching girls about their bodies, periods and personal hygiene. We hope that local businesses partner with us and donate hygiene products to these girls because a lot of them don't have the products they need which can cause them to miss school. All of these activities will be taught by young people and young professionals who want to serve this town.

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

While in San Cristobal last November, interacting with my younger cousins and their friends filled my heart. I saw so much potential in them but I didn't see any programs available for them to be creative and express themselves. Therefore, one night I decided to throw a party just for them. I asked my cousin Maria to help and she reluctantly agreed. We planned out the music and the activities for the party. In the process of making rice-krispy treats, I asked each kid to take a marshmallow, make a wish and then throw it in the pan so that their wish may come true. My spontaneous idea inspired Maria to also take a marshmallow and make a wish. After that spontaneous and magical moment, I watched her step up to lead the kids coming up with new activities, and develop a passion to serve the younger kids. And that is what I want to happen to those that get involved with this project.

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

This organization is unique because it gives the power to the youth to make a difference. It gives them the power to be mentored and molded into a world-changer and put their skills to practice. Not a lot of programs mentor and apprentice the youth and allow them to lead other younger kids though dance lessons, painting class and educational expositions. We will focus on finding young adults who can mentor adolescents ages 14-18 so that they may become leaders to the kids aged 6-13. This will leave a legacy of leadership, openness, vision and excellence for generations to come.

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

We plan on being a data-driven organization where we’re rigorously monitoring the effectiveness of every program and project that we implement.
By conducting short and long-term assessments. These are a series of surveys given to participants before and after a topic is covered or shared like sexual education, sanitation and hygiene or nutrition. We will also conduct surveys asking participants if they feel that the program is adding value and creativity int their lives. There surveys are important because they allow us to analyze and measure our impact so that we can strengthen our programs.

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

In order for this project to be taken to the next level I need to fly to the Dominican Republic and meet up with the other two amazing leaders Roque Marquez and Grismell Sierra. We plan on meeting up in late June to start talking to parents as well as the kids and young adults in the community to get an idea of what it is they want to see change in the community. We will be surveying the young adults concerning what they want to learn about and what kinds of activities they want to participate in. We are currently reaching out to local businesses to get them involved and provide us with the incentives/rewards for the people who participate in the surveys.

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

In order for this organization to be long-lasting, we need to recruit talented youth who want to grow as well as to lead this community forward. We definitely need funding so that we can start the application towards becoming an official organization in the DR. We look forward to working with local business because we need to launch a website, musical instruments, sports gear, and a space to operate in.

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

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

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.

The basis of this organization is collaboration from the local community but also from our neighbors all around the world. There are so many young change makers in the world with ideas, talents and experience to learn from. As of now, I have teamed up with Roque Marquez and Grismell Sierra who live in San Cristobal and are also eager to make a change in the town that has shaped us into who we are. Roque is currently studying English and hopes to graduate this summer to be an English teacher. Grismell is graduating high school this summer and is applying to college. They both share a love for the arts and aspire to lead the Because of LOVE organization through dance classes and singing lessons. The three of us are reaching out to local businesses and leaders hoping that they will parter and share their resources with us. We welcome any young people who want to visit San Cristobal whether its for a weekend, a whole summer or more; we know that everyone has something to share and if you are being called to serve our community, you will be welcomed with open arms.

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?

  • Communities of color
  • Disability community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

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