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CHANGEMAKER SHOWCASE 2024

Join us on Sunday, June 2nd, to celebrate our changemakers and the impact they've made with their projects this year. You'll have a chance to ask teams questions in the live Q&A, vote for your favorite team in our People's Choice Awards, and cheer on all of our changemakers.

 

Get ready to be inspired!

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VISIONARY INSTITUTE PROJECTS

FoodPrint EDU

 

FoodPrint EDU campaigns to educate people about how dietary choices influence their ecological footprint. Participating interns develop content like blogs, presentations, media posts, and recipes. Intern Jake presented, “Building muscle on a plant-based diet” and organized a table around this and Brianna also presented on plant-based eating benefits. Over 40 items were added to our sites, and firsts this term included collaborating for the first Earth Day rally at Adelphi. There we reached students, speaking about how we can use our voices and food choices to fight climate change. Additionally, an RDN conducted our first-ever food demo for nutrition month!

Growing Plant-Based

Growing Plant-Based is a first-of-its kind Australian charity that seeks to drive the transition and long-term commitment to plant-based diets and vegan lifestyles within families raising children - a demographic that is currently underserved within the plant-based movement.

Leading with the benefits for children - optimizing their health, protecting the environment, and nurturing their innate compassion - we aim to support and motivate the adoption of plant-based and vegan lifestyles among families in Australia and beyond. A vital element of our work is to provide practical resources that make it easier for parents to raise healthy, happy plant-powered children.

Holistic Wellness and Health

We've introduced over 15 youth to regenerative farming and veganism. We are restarting an urban farm that was vacant for 5 years. We created a plan to grow food and flowers on the land as well as create a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. The land will also function as a beautiful and healing green space. They are learning to make delicious vegan food that improves their health. We've fostered a community of conscious eaters, inspiring food-related activism that also benefits the animals. This program is a movement towards self-compassion, environmental respect, and community healing, one plate at a time.

Charity Elections

In a charity election, high school students research, discuss, and reflect on three charities before voting to decide which will receive up to $2,000 in sponsored funds. The programme was designed to inspire meaningful discussions and empower young people to reflect on complex world issues and realise their potential to make a difference. For each ballot submitted, an additional $2 is donated to the winning charities. The $350 donated through Global Pitch was used to sponsor a charity election at a school in Italy (42 students) and part of a charity elections at a school in the UK (133 of 826 students). The estimated impacts of the final donations are listed below. The $242 gift to the Malaria Consortium SMC programme can help protect 34 children from malaria during a high-risk season. The $73 gift to the Animal Charity Evaluators Recommended Charity Fund can help prevent 1 year of life in a cage for 650+ animals. The $35 gift to the Lead Exposure Elimination Project can help prevent lead exposure for 21 children.

Empower Through Plant Power

Since our website relaunch, we've had 183 visits from twelve different countries, demonstrating a growing interest in plant-based eating and global food cultures. Through our efforts, we aim to empower children to embrace a diverse and sustainable approach to food, fostering healthier lifestyles in a more interconnected global community. Together, we can inspire the next generation of conscious and active eaters. Thank you to our donors for making this project possible.

YOUTH-LED PROJECTS By Topic

EDUCATION

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Together We Can

Our project, which took place in Haiti, focused on distributing school supplies to students who are unable to afford them. We prepared individual kits for each student, ensuring they had the essential materials needed for their education. By providing these kits, we aimed to address the issue of poverty in education and help these students succeed academically.

STEMspire

The project aims to encourage and spread awareness about women in STEM in the villages in India. In India (especially rural areas) women are encouraged to pursue careers in art or humanities as ultimately they are supposed to be good housewives. After having conversations with young girls I realised this ideology will only change if they experience the joy of STEM firsthand. Now, I conduct workshops with the girls in the village. We have done several mini projects using Arduino, Rasberry Pie, and Tangram like measuring soil moisture, earthquake detection and more. After a short survey with the girls, more than 50% of them said that they are now more inclined to pursue STEM careers if given further opportunity.

Education Equalizers

Our project focuses on solving the lack of educational resources problem in rural Kenya and Uganda. We want to help better children's education in these countries by providing resources that support students' educational progress. Specifically, we are partnering with Crossing Thresholds to teach classes to children in Nairobi and sending basic school supplies like paper, pencils, binders, etc to the FAFU School in Gulu, Uganda. Through our project, we strive to enhance the education of students in Kenya by giving them an equal opportunity to learn.

ConnectED NY

Our group tackled the issue of the Digital Divide in schools in New York by hosting a tech drive. We collaborated with Human.I.T, an organization that will sanitize, refurbish, and distribute the technology to students in need. We promoted our drive using Instagram as well as hanging up flyers in our school and around town. On the day of the big event, we set up a table in the heart of town for collection and to raise awareness of the issue. We collected over 70 items including 16 computers, 10 tablets, 7 iTouches and 10 cell phones.

Education Initiative

To eliminate education inequality in Westchester, NY, we created a library program that gives children the opportunity to get a preschool experience, an important part of their social development. Although the children that attended our program were either too young for preschool or attend preschool, we hope to get more families to attend in the future. We also held a children’s book drive at our school and donated 3 boxes of books to 914 Cares, a local organization that will send the books to schools, libraries, and families in need.

Study Pals

For our project, we learned about the Tanzanian Education system, and since classrooms in Tanzania have 200+ students for only one teacher, we created a one-on-one tutoring program so the students can have specialized learning on what they need help with. We have 13 students from our school who are interested in helping tutor students. Additionally, we created a website where people can be educated about the issue, as well as places to donate money for data vouchers that help improve the internet connection in Tanzania so that tutoring calls can run more smoothly.

Fin Power

My project, Fin Power, is a comprehensive initiative aimed at empowering high school students with crucial financial literacy skills. Through engaging workshops, I've directly reached 40 students, providing them with foundational knowledge essential for their financial well-being. Additionally, my website offers interactive videos, quizzes, and practical tools like budget worksheets, further equipping students with the skills they need to make informed financial decisions. I am seeing tangible results, with students demonstrating increased confidence and competence in managing their finances. Fin Power isn't just about education; it's about creating a lasting impact, empowering the next generation for financial success.

SOCIAL Justice

Future Free

In order to combat child marriage, I knew education was key. To do this, I got in contact with the AHA foundation, a human rights organization, and they helped me find Sara Tasneem. Sara is a survivor of child marriage, and she agreed to share her personal story with students and staff at my school through a lunch and learn, which 35 people attended. Sara's powerful testimony shed light on the harsh realities of child marriage. Her presentation sparked meaningful questions from the students, which she was able to answer through a Google Meet.

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Open Arms

To combat the current crisis in New York City with the overflow of migrants, we created an event on May 19th where refugees and asylum seekers can take their minds off the stress of their lives and just relax and have fun by playing sports. During our event, we will also be holding a clothing drive of professional attire that new immigrants can use for job interviews. We are planning to continue hosting these events during and after our time at the high school.

Do What's Write

To combat unjust book bans around the country, I created an Advocacy Campaign to ensure literary freedom for all. First, I created the Banned Book Forum website, which has everything a censored student might need: digital banned books, organizations who specialize in the world of book bans, data, and much more. I also brought in Emily Drabinski, the President of the American Library Association, and Cameron Samuels, a student advocate, to educate my community on the topic of the Book Banning Epidemic. PEN America and The American Library Association will promote my work to the public.

Food Securers

Through the Changemaker project, I was able to educate food-insecure individuals on how to read food expiration dates on products as well as educate them on particular foods that can be used past expiration by designing and handing out 500 100% recycled bilingual food date awareness informational flyers in Spanish and English at a local food pantry. I also emailed the flyer to 13 different food organizations, and one of the food pantries was so grateful for the information that the Executive Director called my principal to thank me for the flyer.

Justice League

As mass incarceration is deeply rooted in America’s history, we decided to take an educational approach to our project. Owen created a writing competition to bring out incarcerated voices, but after failing to obtain submissions, he instead created a website to help people educate themselves using the sources we have produced. Sophie and Abi created a podcast discussing mass incarceration and its history featuring a criminal justice expert. Olivia created an interactive presentation and presented it to two classes of high school students totaling 50 students. Ultimately, our impact came in the form of raising awareness about our issue.

The Healing Bridges Project

To fight the negative mental health effects of experiencing anti-semitism, I created a book to detail ways for Jewish students to find a safe community on their school campus. The book includes a fictional story compiled from many students’ experiences and a checklist of preparation with helpful organizations and resources for Jewish students. I have ordered 10 copies of this book, which I plan to distribute to my school, local library, temple, and the UJA Westchester JTeen organization. Additionally, I have a PDF copy, which I will promote on social media (@healingbridgesproject) to spread awareness for this issue.

Wrongful Convictions

For my project I chose to take an educational route to spread awareness of the flaws in our criminal justice system specifically regarding wrongful convictions. I created a lunch and learn where I brought in an exonerated individual to talk via zoom sharing his powerful story with around 40 students and teachers. I also created my own lesson plan to bring more light on the topic and share more stories of these types of cases.I was able to go into 2 sophomore classes and teach my lesson to roughly 40 more students to keep spreading awareness.

MealMission

After noticing that food insecure people are at higher risk of obesity, we wanted to help people in our community facing food insecurity. We created 25 cookbooks and a PDF version with healthy recipes using common ingredients found at a local food pantry. In our cookbook, we created 7 dinner recipes and 3 dessert recipes which appear in both English and Spanish. We made posters and social media posts to raise awareness surrounding the issue of food insecurity. By distributing the cookbook and the PDF, we are able to reach about 600 different families and give them nutritious recipes.

Helping Immigrants

In the US, the unemployment rate for migrants has increased significantly since the COVID-19 19-pandemic. To combat this issue, I created a documentary to illustrate the struggles, stories, and experiences migrants face in obtaining a work permit which I plan to share with legislators and lawyers who can help advocate for change. Secondly, I created a petition to help change the law that prevents migrants from securing a work permit. After promoting my petition through social media and my school I was able to spread awareness on this issue and reach 120 signatures.

Health + SAFETY

The Protectors

For my project, I focused on domestic violence prevention by teaching a lesson, creating a website, and having a bake sale. I taught an informative lesson to the S.A.G.E club and the Health and Wellness elective at my high school. The website I created contains facts, ways of how to help, who was affected by this issue, etc.. I also was able to have a bake sale where I raised $147. The money from the bake sale went to My Sisters’ Place Organization, which strives to end domestic violence through services, advocacy, therapy, and community education.

Water Girls

Unfortunately, 21 million people suffer due to water scarcity in Uganda. To raise awareness, we presented to our district's 5th-grade class. After educating them and our peers, we hosted our Water Palooza event at our high school. Our event involved outdoor games for the kids, where we raised money to implement a water filtration system in a school in Uganda. We also sold shirts we designed at this event and bake sale, which helped us raise $1,528. This money will be put towards the Matindi school in Uganda, providing 1,653 students clean water and access to their education.

Student Demand Action at Byram Hills

School should be a place where students feel safe and secure but for many it’s a new place of fear due to an increase in school shootings. After talking with the organization Students Demand Action and several administrators at our school, we decided to create a pamphlet about Byram Hills that teaches the students and faculty about the actions our schools take to prevent school shootings in case of a threat. We were able to educate our community to make sure they feel safe at school and encourage the school to continue to care to protect our students and faculty.

FULLY FUNDED

Pure Palette Initiative

In order to make my community more aware of the negative effects of synthetic food dyes on children’s neurobehavior, I decided to create the Pure Palette Initiative. For my project I created dye-free candy gift boxes. The candy boxes contain candy from YumEarth and Smart Sweets, and are personally designed to the buyer's liking. I have sold 30 boxes to individuals in my town and raised $300.00 for the Center For Science in the Public Interest, to advocate for the banning of synthetic food dyes in the US. I hope to sell more boxes this summer as well!

Mamas Matter

Post partum depression affects women all over the world. To raise awareness for this prevalent issue around Westchester County, we created pamphlets and social media accounts. The pamphlets include symptoms, prevention, and risk factors of post partum depression, and our Facebook and Instagram account handles. Between doctors offices and organizations, we distributed a total of 100 pamphlets. The pamphlet is also available online in Spanish through the use of a QR code. The creation of our social media pages allows us to share fun facts in order to raise awareness, locally or globally.

MediaSavers

Our project was to solve the Social Media addiction epidemic of teenagers using their phones way too much, resulting in mental health problems. We wanted to make a change in students' learning by giving every classroom at Byram Hills phone pockets with the goal of having academic performance and mental health improve. We hoped our plan would encourage teens to decrease their screen time as they saw the positive effects of storing their phones away during class. After presenting our solution to the faculty, three teachers were interested in using two pockets each for their classrooms.

Wash Away the Worries

After surveying our community, we discovered that some residents suffered from skin rashes, primarily due to the water supply. To address this, we launched an awareness campaign, consulting with healthcare professionals for prevention tips. We successfully presented these findings at my university, sharing remedies and later disseminating an article via social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. Our next goal is to secure the necessary tools and resources to help the community tackle this health concern effectively.

ANIMALS + Environment

Cruelty Free Club

To combat the 115 million deaths from animal testing in America each year, we facilitated a lesson for middle school students to educate the younger generation. Our lesson plan included what animal testing is, why it is used, how the animals are treated, and multiple perspectives. At the end of our lesson, students signed letters to their senators to petition for stricter laws on cosmetic testing. By educating a small group of students, we are hoping to spread the word, and for animal testing to be banned nationally.

Seaside Savior

To combat the issue of plastic pollution in the oceans, I implemented a beach cleanup at Rye Beach in Rye, New York. I gathered a group of five friends to help remove plastic debris and other waste from the shoreline, collecting 11 pounds of trash from the beach. The cleanup raised awareness about the importance of reducing plastic consumption and inspired others to take action in their communities. During the cleanup, we were met with lots of positive feedback from passersby, who were impressed by our dedication to protecting the environment.

Demand Response

To combat the 344.85 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted in New York State each year, I brought the GridRewards program to all four Byram Hills Schools. GridRewards is a demand response program that reduces carbon emissions during peak energy usage times in the summer. With the help of the facilities manager, Byram Hills Schools will reduce their energy usage during peak carbon emission times by over 400,000 kWh per year. I have signed my home up for GridRewards and have spread the word through the North Castle Sustainability Committee to get more participants in my town.

Sajeev Khjeri

Introducing "Sajeev Khjeri" – a dynamic dedicated to the conservation of indigenous trees in Rajasthan's Barmer and Jaisalmer regions. Our mission is to combat deforestation and protect valuable tree species like the khejri, babool, and rohida. Through innovative educational campaigns, community engagement, and empowering the Bishnoi community, we aim to raise awareness about the cultural and ecological significance of these trees. By leveraging technology, including a reporting website, we encourage local residents to actively participate in reporting illegal activities. Join us in preserving our natural heritage and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.

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Newton South Gardening

For the Changemaker Project, our group decided to tackle the Newton South Garden. After interviewing classmates and faculty we learned that only a few people were aware of the garden, nor did they have much experience in gardening which made wanting to own a personal garden difficult. In our process of revitalizing the garden, we learned that for our project to fully succeed we needed commitment, gardening knowledge, and a functional irrigation system. This we were able to accomplish through emails, physical labor, and personal meetings with student clubs and teachers.

Fashionably Green

85% of clothing ends up in landfills each year, which is largely due to fast fashion. In order to combat this issue, I designed a fashion magazine to highlight sustainable fashion companies and to educate people about the consequences of fast fashion. My magazine includes statistics about fast fashion and why it is harmful, ways to shop sustainably, and examples of sustainable fashion companies. I printed 25 copies to be distributed in my school library, public library, and created an online PDF that will be posted on my website and on my feedback form.

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