Youth Engagement for School Improvements

05/23/2019, By Valley of the Sun United Way

More than 100 students from west Valley schools gathered at a rally January 30th, full of anticipation. As part of a contest, the kids submitted ideas for improvements for their school campus, coming up with their own plans, and were ready to find out who had the winning idea for the grant money prize to complete their project.

To their surprise, United Way’s Youth Engagement Program, presented by the Walmart Foundation, brought in a total of $125,000 to divide among all of the participants for projects like hydration stations, mindfulness rooms, a virtual reality mobile learning lab, and more! All of the projects entered highlighted the benefits their project has for the student body and community. The United Way’s Youth Engagement Program started last year in partnership with the Walmart Foundation and 19 student projects have been submitted by students across 19 schools since then.

Through this program students have the opportunity to be part of the decision-making process, learn how to create proposals, and now to see project all the way through to completion.

 

 

Through this program students have the opportunity to be part of the decision-making process, learn how to create proposals, and now to see project all the way through to completion.

After the initial funding was contributed, students got to work on their projects. Children from across the West Valley leveraged these new resources into projects that allowed them to renovate bathrooms, invest in flexible seating, purchase scoreboards, new hydration stations, and various school beautification projects.

An additional $8,000 was given to the student project that showed the most progress and that communicated their project to all of the students in the school and the families in the broader community.

On Friday, May 16th, 300+ students at Sevilla West School were presented with the $8,000 check. Their grit and passion for their project was what won them the additional funding. Now, the students plan on using the additional funding to purchase more virtual reality headsets for their virtual reality mobile learning lab.

We look forward to continuing to watch the progress on this project as well as all others that were funded this year. These projects continue into the summer and next school year and will have a lasting impact on the schools for years to come. It has been so exciting to not only watch these projects come to life, but to watch the students grow their leadership skills by collaborating, planning, and executing their projects.

Congratulations to all students who participated at the Isaac, Alhambra, Washington and Cartwright School Districts on being drivers of change.

You can check out all the student projects by looking at #unitephxschools on social media.

Thank you to Walmart for joining the fight for kids through your partnership with Valley of the Sun United Way and making these grants possible.

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