I admire brands that promote and support worthwhile causes. One such brand is T-Mobile and I’m so thrilled to have partnered with them to tell you all about the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge!
T-Mobile has been changing wireless for good and now with the recent launch of T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, the Un-carrier has set its sights even higher by giving youth some tools to change the world for good! This first-ever program from T-Mobile encourages teens and young adults nationwide to create positive long-lasting change in their communities through their big ideas.
T-Mobile launched the program on March 28 and after spending the last few months collecting and reviewing more than 330 unique and creative entries, they picked the top 30 winning submissions. These teams then got to visit T-Mobile’s Bellevue Headquarters for the Changemaker Challenge Lab on August 19th-21st.
After the top 6 Changemaker Challenge teams presented their world-changing ideas to T-Mobile’s Senior Leadership Team, T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere then made a surprise visit to the Changemaker Lab and announced that on top of his two previously-announced CEO Picks, he decided to choose ALL SIX of the top teams as CEO Picks because he was SO inspired by what he heard from the teams the day prior!
The team winners were: ArtPass, Aware, Dios Del Sol, Echo Effect, Peerlift and Yellow Tulip Project and their team projects include impactful ideas that help: bring art supplies to children in hospitals; foster inclusive environments for children with special needs, distribute solar energy to communities hit by hurricanes such as Puerto Rico; create access to college for those who might not otherwise get the opportunity; and create conversations and reduce stigmatization of mental health illnesses.
Over the past few months, judges from T-Mobile and Ashoka partnered and reviewed submissions from youth teams (between the ages of 13 and 23) from across the country. Project ideas ranged from building libraries in underdeveloped countries to distributing excess food to hungry people to facilitating conversations between youth and local law enforcement. Winning teams have been selected based on the following criteria:
- Changemaker Quality – already taking steps to make a difference
- Creativity – fresh, innovative ideas that challenge the norm
- Commitment – devoted to seeing their project through, and to make a lasting impact
- Connection – ability and openness to work with others in their communities
I love all the projects that all of these teams represent. But the project that is closest to my heart is Kids First Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that brings programs and services to homeless youth living in shelters. Its mission is to empower youth experiencing homelessness to reach their full potential and help break the generational cycle of poverty.
Before I had my kids years ago, I used to volunteer at a local homeless shelter where I lived. My experience working closely with families, children and youth affected by homelessness was truly a humbling one. I know how it is for these children to have little or no access to affordable and convenient educational programs, and how they feel deprived because the resources are just not there for them, or are never enough. That’s why I fully support non-profit organizations like Kids First Project because they offer easy access for homeless children and youth to scholarship programs and in-shelter services such as teaching them life skills, tutoring in order to help them succeed in school, providing them physical activity programs and extra-curricular activities, and many other programs and services that promote the well being and health of these children and youth.
Overall, it’s truly admirable that T-Mobile is driving positive change in our communities through our youth. I love that the Changemaker Challenge brings out the innovative spark in these young people and encourages them to take on difficult challenges that are facing their communities.
To learn more about T-Mobile’s Changemaker Challenge and to see what’s next for the 30 selected teams, go here.
*This post is sponsored by T-Mobile. All views and opinions are mine.