Design for Change USA Announces 2018 Ambassador Team

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The Bellaire School from Queens, NY to represent USA at Global Conference in Taipei, Taiwan

Winning DFC USA 2018 was humbling and truly a result of sacrifice, passion, and perseverance.

Design for Change (DFC) USA, a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, MA, and the U.S. partner of the worldwide Design for Change network, announced today a team of 15 fifth graders at The Bellaire School from Queens, NY as the 2018 Ambassador Team winner. Winning teams will attend the DFC Global Conference in Taipei, Taiwan on November 30 – December 2, 2018 where they will have an opportunity to meet other student teams from around the world and learn about their projects.

Amy Schindler, Director of Operations for Power2Change Foundation, a DFC partner and one of the award judges said, “Our mission at Power2Change Foundation is to inspire and empower middle school youth. The projects we were able to view were evidence that youth involved in DFC are empowered to change their schools, communities, and themselves. The students’ desire to make the world a better place and the confidence they demonstrated is truly inspiring.”

To be eligible, student teams must complete and submit a DFC project, including a reflection, and in most cases a short video, documenting their journey through the stages of the DFC design-thinking process: Feel, Imagine, Do, Share. A panel of industry experts from design, non-profit, foundations and corporations judged the submissions. Judging was based on a rubric to rate each of the four categories: Feel, Imagine, Do, Share.

“Winning DFC USA 2018 was humbling and truly a result of sacrifice, passion, and perseverance,” said Patti Andreolas, teacher for the winning team. “It was amazing to watch students come alive when presented with the opportunity to do something that allowed them to make a difference in their own community. The sharing of ideas, discussions and feedback transcends values and builds their skills for the future as global citizens.”

Catalyzed by local health issues in their school community, students from The Bellaire School (PS 135Q) used DFC’s design-thinking process to address the root cause of infectious diseases. As they learned more about the issues and brainstormed solutions, they were motivated to create change both in their community and internationally with a SUDS4SOCIETY and #stopthespread initiative.

"The students from The Bellaire School in Queens, NY, demonstrated strong ingenuity to solve the problem of poor hygiene,” said Sanjli Gidwaney, Director, DFC USA. “Their agency and thoughtfulness were apparent at every stage of the Feel, Imagine, Do, Share process. They truly stand out as a strong example of student driven change and we are thrilled they will be representing the USA at the annual DFC Global Conference in Taipei, Taiwan!"

The Bellaire School decided to create a campaign to spread awareness of infectious disease with a focus on the flu. They first collected data to confirm the issue followed by the creation of posters and coordination of speaking engagements in peer classes to talk about washing hands, covering mouths, getting vaccines, eating right, and taking vitamins as preventative measures. They also employed Empatico.org to Skype with outside schools, created music videos for YouTube and Vimeo, and leveraged social media accounts to #stopthespread.

Taking things one step further, the team set out to produce their own sustainable bars of soap, making them by hand and branding them with SUDS4SOCIETY. Each bar was sold for $6.00 and all funds were donated to families in Kenya to promote proper healthcare.

About Design for Change

Design for Change is a global movement across 50+ countries that empowers young people to transform themselves and the world around them. Every year, students do projects in their own community that not only improve lives but help them build character and key 21st century skills. Using a simple four step process - Feel, Imagine, Do, Share - they have shut down drug houses, helped refugees living in American food desserts, addressed the teen suicide rate in their community and have done countless other projects in their local communities that have resulted in real change. Every year, Design for Change hosts a global conference to bring change makers together from all over the world. For more information visit http://www.designforchange.us.

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Ashley Wells
Corporate Spending Innovations
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