Youth Kindness & Innovation Competition Awards $200,000+ to Students and Educators

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Students' innovative ideas win $200,000+ in The Paradigm Challenge, one of the largest youth innovation competitions in the world.

Paradigm Challenge Winners

Great opportunity for educators who are looking for motivational project-based learning activities for their students.

An international youth kindness and innovation competition has awarded over $200,000 to students and their supporting teachers for their winning ideas in the first annual Paradigm Challenge. The Paradigm Challenge invites youth aged 4 to 18 to use kindness, creativity, collaboration, and STEM skills to solve a real-world problem. The problem to be solved for the first year of the Challenge was how to reduce injuries and fatalities from home fires -- America’s #1 disaster threat.

More than 50,000 students participated in this year’s Paradigm Challenge. “The number of youth who stepped up to accept our inaugural Challenge to help save lives truly is inspiring,” said Jeff Richardson, Project Paradigm’s founder and CEO. “We commend the students for the kindness, creativity, and collaboration they used to generate solutions to this real-life problem. Many of the ideas can and will help save lives in communities around the world.” Student solutions included inventions, community events, mobile apps, videos, posters, and songs.

100 Finalist teams won cash prizes totaling more than $150,000. The top team in each age category won up to $20,000 and a 4-day, 3-night trip to Los Angeles to attend The Paradigm Challenge Prize Ceremony. Teams came from as far away as New Zealand and India to attend the event.

The Grand Prize and an all-expense-paid patent application was awarded to the 1st place winners in the 15-18 age division for their life-saving invention called the “Fire Mitt.” The Fire Mitt is an oven mitt that quickly and easily unfolds into a fire blanket which can be deployed to put out a cooking fire.

Emma Spencer and Scott Johnson, the Grand Prize winners, believe the ability to invent is not a special gift, but something that is in all of us. “Anyone can become an innovator,” noted Spencer, “You just have to put your mind to it and focus on how you can save the world.” Johnson added, “Making this world a safer place is something everyone can be involved in.”

In addition to the cash prizes for the student teams, The Paradigm Challenge awarded cash grants between $250 and $5,000 to the inspiring educators associated with the top 100 teams. “The Paradigm Challenge is a great opportunity for educators who are looking for motivational project-based learning activities for their students,” explained Ashley Greenway, 2016 Allen Distinguished Educator and Georgia STEM Laureate. “The Paradigm Challenge is particularly appealing because of its engaging online video lesson plans and supporting materials.”

The theme for the new Paradigm Challenge is the reduction of waste in homes, schools, communities, and/or around the world. The deadline for entries is May 1, 2017.

About the Paradigm Challenge: The Paradigm Challenge is a new annual competition created by Project Paradigm in collaboration with the American Red Cross and supported by a coalition of partners, including Youth Changing the World and the National Youth Leadership Council. The theme of the competition will change annually.

About Project Paradigm
Project Paradigm, a national private foundation headquartered in Los Angeles, California, aims to identify, support, and collaborate with passionate individuals and organizations to inspire, lead, and facilitate paradigm shifts in the approaches to global challenges. Learn more at Or like us on Facebook and Twitter (@ParadigmChlleng).

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Jeff Richardson

Michelle Lewis
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