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Learn What Inspired The Changemaker Challenge Winners’ of Each Category


As the three winning team of Changemaker Challenge compete to get the grand prize, we see from where do they draw their inspiration for being a change maker.

Learn What Inspired The Changemaker Challenge Winners’ of Each Category
Dailycsr.com – 21 February 2020 –In 2019, the Changemaker Challenge’s second annual event was inaugurated by “T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation” in search of young minds with ideas to “change the world for good”. The event received “an unprecedented 428 submissions from teams across the US”, while the entries were divided in three categories, namely “Technology, Education and the Environment”.
The submissions were judged based on their “Changemaker quality”, Commitment, Connection and Creativity, whereby selecting thirty wining teams in total while each category had their respective winners.
The contest culminates with all its thirty teams attending the workshop of “Changemaker Lab”, while the winners of all the three categories will present their ideas to “T-Mobile leaders” and get a chance to win the grand prize of “$10,000” for funding their project. Here we have the winners from all three categories sharing their secrets to passion.
In the category of “Technology”, we have the winner Social Cipher from Pomona, CA, who built a video game called Ava. Vanessa Castañeda Gill was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, at the age of fourteen. She had issues in interacting with people. She worked with games, movies and music to develop her social skills yet she remained hesitant. Following this she got to partner people on Social Cipher which made “video games for neurodiverse youth”.
Vanessa recounts:
“Each of us have a different reason or passion for being on this teamand when we bring all those passions together it creates magic, and you can see it in the quality of our game.”
 Talking about Ava, Vanessa added:
“We want to help these kids feel understood, seen and represented, as well as empowered to raise their own voices and be unapologetically themselves.
“We want to make people feel connected to themselves and the people around them.”
“We want to bring this (Ava) into schools and make it as accessible as possible. That may also include mobile. And after that we want to continue making games for all kinds of needs and other forms of neurodiversity. Everyone needs to be represented — and this is just a first step.”
In the category of Environment, the winner is “Youth Climate Action Coalition” from Granite Bay, CA. North California’s Kevin Malaekeh, Jake McCullough and Jack Galloway, juniors from high school were alarmed by the climate change and its threatening signs. These boys have witnessed “droughts, wildfires and floods” over the past few years which turned out to be the most damaging ones ever seen by the state. In Kevin’s words:
“That has had a firsthand effect on us”.
Following this they were moved to start on their journey to launch the Youth Climate Action Coalition, in short YCAC. While Jack added:
“Last year our school took in some of the victims of the Paradise Fire, one of the most devasting wildfires in California history. We talked to the victims about the effects a fire like that can have on a community. This inspired us to create an environmental club at our school.”
The boys installed “low-flow faucets across school grounds”, started a “food-scrap collection” initiative and turned “30 lbs of organic waste” into compost on a weekly basis for their school’s gardening programme. Following these successes, the team went on to implement “another regional high school’s climate action plan” and even worked with “students in Spain”. The YCAC is now a sixty members’ team with the scope of ever enlarging
In Jake’s words:
“We can not only have an effect locally but globally. That’s what being a Changemaker is all about, and that’s why we’re grateful T-Mobile is giving us this chance.”
Likewise, in the category of Education, the winner team is the “Stories Told US” from Parkland, FL. Carlos Rodriguez lost two of his friends in the unfortunate incident of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which took place on February 14, 2017. Carlos survived the incident of the gunman walking into the school premise and creating havoc.
The said event has been at the root of Carlos’ decision to become a “Changemaker” as he added:
“The night of the shooting my mom sat down with me and said, ‘Carlos, your story matters, and it’ll be heard throughout the country. And you need to help others find their story as well’”.
It is to bring together people with similar experience, Carlos developed the social media platform, “Stories Untold US”. His goal is “to amplify as many voices as possible, because our stories will be the catalyst for change in this country.”
In Carlos’ words:
“The most energizing part of being a Changemaker is turning other people into Changemakers, using our stories as a way to get back up and join the fight. It’s impressive how simply sharing one story can lead to another person sharing theirs. And it’s amazing that T-Mobile wants to help young people with big ideas, start something.”
“We want Stories Untold US to be a mass healing platform for everybody to find their voice and their story.”