No Barriers Youth and Wells Fargo (No. 9 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) the winners of their year-long Global Impact Challenge, a diversity and inclusion competition designed to spark ideas from high school and middle school students for building a world free of barriers, stereotypes and discrimination.
Teachers from 20 schools across the U.S. recruited diverse teams of students with and without disabilities and followed an online curriculum designed to foster creativity and develop projects to address local diversity and inclusion issues. Common topics included improving accessibility and encouraging the inclusion of minority populations and people with visible and nonvisible disabilities.
Subject matter experts from Wells Fargo and No Barriers USA jointly evaluated the project proposals and video presentations. Overall, teams participating in the Global Impact Challenge included 156 students in nine states.
"Wells Fargo is thrilled to help develop and implement the inaugural Global Impact Challenge," says Kathy Martinez, head of Disability and Accessibility Strategy at Wells Fargo. "The teachers and students developed many creative project proposals that focused on diversity and inclusion. We sincerely hope that all of the teams turn their proposals into reality, helping make the world a more inclusive place."
Two first-place teams received $5,000 to help them implement their projects:
- Grady High School, Atlanta, included six students led by teacher Nadia Goodvin. The team developed a working organization to address the lack of local sensory-friendly theaters, films and other recreational events in Atlanta for people with sensory processing disorders and related conditions.
- Hill Country Middle School, Austin, Texas, included six students led by teacher Sylvia Troxell. The team proposed a project to create a fun, interactive educational campaign about hidden disabilities to help ensure that all students welcomed, understood and encouraged to participate to the best of their abilities.
One runner-up team received $2,000 to help it implement its project:
- Century High School, Rochester, Minn., included five students led by teacher Michael Eckerman. The team proposed a social storytelling platform for students to share personal stories of hardships and barriers, with the goal of creating a sense of unity by highlighting the differences of others and the difficulties they face.
"The students are serious about the viability of their project proposals," said Goodvin. "It's amazing how a group of kids can bring an idea to life. Their enthusiasm and confidence inspire me. They will do so much good in their lives."
The two first-place teams also received invitations — including airfare, accommodations and meals — to the 2018 No Barriers Summit Oct. 5–6 in New York City. The No Barriers Summit is a premiere immersive event that brings together people of all backgrounds and abilities who are transcending barriers to unleash their fullest potential and live a life of purpose.
View a video about the Global Impact Challenge and to see the student reactions:
http://bit.ly/nbyouth-gic2018video (1.5 minutes)
Congratulations to the following 14 schools, organizations and educators that completed and submitted project proposals as part of their participation in the Global Impact Challenge:
- Boys and Girls Club of Boston, team led by Charles Armstrong-Hicks
- Hinsdale South High School, Hinsdale, Ill., team led by Raymond Baker
- Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy, Bronx, N.Y., team led by Carolina Castro-Skehan
- Century High School, Rochester, Minn., team led by Michael Eckerman
- Deerpark Middle School, Austin, Teaxas; team led by Jami Fooshee
- Grady High School, Atlanta, team led by Nadia Goodvin
- Deforest Area High School, DeForest, Wis., team led by Briana Gustafson
- Peachtree Middle School, Dunwoody, Ga., team led by Mary Jane Hollander
- William J. Johnston Middle School, Colchester, Conn., team led by Jen Karcich
- Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Chicago, team led by Caroline Liebman
- Greensboro Day School, Greensboro, N.C., team led by Megan Mimms
- Ridgewood High School , Norridge, Ill., team led by Daniel Rosenberg
- Oakwood School, Greenville, N.C., team led by Keyla Thompson
- Hill Country Middle School, Austin, Texas, team led by Sylvia Troxell
More information about the No Barriers Youth Global Impact Challenge is available at www.nobarriersyouth.org/wells-global-impact-challenge.
More information about the No Barriers Summit is available at www.nobarrierssummit.org.