T-Mobile has been changing wireless for good and now the Un-carrier is setting its sights even higher by giving youth some tools to change the world for good!
The T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge is a nationwide search to find teens and young adults with big ideas around how to create positive long-lasting change in their communities.
After launching the program on March 28 and spending the last few months collecting and reviewing more than 330 unique and creative entries, T-Mobile is today revealing the top 30 winning submissions whose teams will get to visit T-Mobile Bellevue, for a VIP, all expenses paid lab and mentoring experience as part of the first ever T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge.
“The Un-carrier is all about driving change and pushing against the status quo — and that’s what Changemaker Challenge and these young visionaries are about, too!” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile. “I am blown away and personally inspired by how this generation of youth is motivated to find solutions to issues in their communities by stepping up and taking action. They’ve dreamed up some big ideas and we want to do everything we can to help them bring their incredible dreams to life!”
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
The 30 Changemaker Challenge winners include the following projects:
- ArtPass (OR): Reimagines how kids across the world perceive and experience being in a hospital.
- Aware (WA): Provides a more inclusive environment for students with special needs.
- Badge Up (MA): Facilitates conversation between urban youth and neighborhood police force.
- Bay Area Solutions B.A.S. (CA): Educates youth about using art to create meaningful change in their community.
- Bits N’ Bytes (CA, IL, IN, NJ, and NY): Equips citizens with cyber security skills through multi-media education.
- Common Ground (NE and MO): Supports LGBTQ youth while strengthening their community of allies.
- Coppercuties (WA): Creates jewelry that spreads awareness about a variety of social causes.
- Dios del Sol (God of the Sun) (PR): Works with faith-based institutions in Puerto Rico to bring solar power to tens of thousands of people.
- Dual School (DE): Empowers students to launch passion projects.
- Echo Effect (CA, ID, VA, WA): Social media game where users earn points for taking a photo of a good deed.
- E-JangRadio (CA, FL, Hong Kong, Senegal): Teaches English via radio programs in Senegal, where people lack consistent internet access
- HER (D.C., VA, Pakistan, and Morocco): Builds libraries at underfunded girls’ schools in developing countries.
- Kids First Project (CA, OR, and D.C.): Brings educational and recreational programs for homeless youth.
- “Meating” the Need for Our Village (MI and NC): Utilizes local farm donations to fight food insecurity in rural areas.
- Operation Sustain (WA): Makes the science of climate change accessible through an educational game.
- Peerlift (CA, MA, and PA): Provides an online platform for students to share college scholarships and internships with fellow students.
- RISE (Refugee International Support Effort) (VA): Provides hope to refugees through creative outlets and passion projects.
- Service Day Toolkit (MN): Engages residents to build community within a community.
- Signal 365 (VA): Focused on education on how to stay safe during natural disasters.
- Sole2Soul (CA): Reuses and repurposes shoes for low income communities and athletes.
- South Texas Ideas (TX): Encourages underprivileged Hispanic communities to pursue their interests.
- Standing Tall (FL): Closes the achievement gap through mentorship and civic engagement.
- Student Political Action Coalition (MA, PA, TN): Opens collegiate chapters that engage students in political issues and topics.
- Tech-Savvy (NJ): Provides inexpensive computer education and devices for children in low income families.
- The Party Project (OR): Creates birthday party supply kits for youth in low income families.
- The Yellow Tulip Project (ME): Shifts the stigma around mental health and creates hope for young people.
- Threading Twine (TX): Creates a platform for activist youth to publish their views and engage with each other.
- Urban BEET (WA and D.C.): Distributes produce from urban farms to school food pantries.
- Vaayu (MA): Reduces pollution with mosses that are formulated to purify the air.
- Waste No Food (CA, IL, and FL): Model for collecting excess food and distributing it to hungry people.
Now, the top 30 selected teams will participate in a two-day immersive Changemaker Lab at T-Mobile’s Headquarters in Bellevue on August 19 through 21. They will receive in-depth mentorship and skills training with T-Mobile senior leadership and get the chance to collaborate with their fellow Changemakers. All 30 winning teams will also receive a new device and a portion of nearly $60,000 in seed funding from the T-Mobile Foundation.
The highlight of the lab will be each team formally pitching their big idea to a panel of T-Mobile senior executives to receive real-time feedback on their plans and advice on how to put them into action. John Legere, the original Un-CEO, will also select his personal “CEO Picks”. Winners will receive a special prize package, created by Legere. The ultimate goal: turn their revolutionary ideas into a sustainable reality!
“The innovation and passion shown by these young changemakers is nothing short of inspiring,” said Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO of Ashoka. “Together with T-Mobile, it’s our goal to help them kickstart their ideas into action and help them develop real, sustainable plans for changing the world for the good of all!”