SCI Social Capital Inc. held its second annual Youth Grant Pitch Contest in April 2023 with the goal of empowering young people to identify and address pressing needs they see in the community.
On Saturday, April 1st, SCI Social Capital Inc. hosted a live pitch contest where $10,000 of grant funds were awarded to 8 participating youth groups from across the Greater Boston area who presented compelling ideas to address community needs.
Over the last six weeks corporate volunteers from companies like Microsoft, Santander, Movement Mortgage, Zander Realty Group and The Reading Cooperative Bank have dedicated their time and expertise to coach these young people in how to develop and present their pitches to a panel of judges. Youth teams from Cambridge, Chelsea, Dorchester, Lynn, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester and Woburn made their pitch presentations at the event.
The projects being developed address a variety of community and mental health needs that the youth have identified as a priority. Groups like La Colaborativa pitched an idea to fund and host a podcast which challenges inequities they see in their Chelsea community and in the local school systems. Boston Project Ministries sought funding to design and paint a mural in Dorchester with positive affirmations as well as a QR code that will lead observers to a link that provides mental health resources for young people.
The SCI Youth Grant Pitch Contest is a program initiative that was piloted in 2021 and was designed to engage community focused youth-led groups in a process of developing projects that respond to community needs.
The goal of the YGPC is to provide youth with the opportunity to decide how to strengthen their community while practicing valuable professional skills such as public speaking, project management, and community organizing. Additionally, this program provides youth the opportunity for social engagement with other like-minded young people in the area and is a chance to positively impact the community!
Private funding for this project comes from Cummings Properties, Kick It for a Cause and Winning Home, Inc. In addition, this project is being supported in part by federal award number 21.027 awarded to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Interested in getting involved? We are looking for youth groups, volunteer pitch coaches, judges, and workshop instructors to join us in this exciting project! Contact SCI Project Management Consultant, Polly Mendoza, at email@example.com, or by phone at 617-682-6887.
La Colaborativa (Chelsea)
The team from La Colaborativa, an organization working to empower Latinx immigrants and enhance social and economic health in their communities, presented compelling ideas to address the needs of Chelsea youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the La Colaborativa team was awarded a grant of $1,500. The youth team from La Colaborativa pitched an idea to fund and host a podcast which challenges inequities they see in their Chelsea community and in the local school systems. More specifically, their podcast will amplify their voices on topics that are important to the youth such as: the Black and Latino experience in Chelsea, local education policies, the vocational school bill, and mental health resources for youth. They received full funding and will use the money to get equipment for the podcast.
Spectrum Club (Woburn)
The team from Spectrum Club, a student-run support group for LGBTQ+ and straight ally students in the Woburn public schools, presented compelling ideas on supporting queer athletes and their mental health. As a result of their successful presentation, the Spectrum Club team was awarded a grant of $1,500. The Spectrum Club team presented their pitch about implementing a Coaches on Queer Allyship and Visibility Workshop, which would actively work with coaches on allyship and inclusion in athletic sports teams. The resources provided will help increase awareness around Queer inclusion in athletics, creating a more accepting atmosphere that, in turn, will positively impact the mental health of students. They were awarded full funding for this program.
Jean Charles Academy (Lynn)
The team from Jean Charles Academy presented compelling ideas to address the mental health needs of students at their school. As a result of their successful presentation, the Jean Charles Academy team was awarded a grant of $1,000. The team from Jean Charles Academy pitched an idea for a mental health room in their school in order to create a safe space for students struggling with anxiety and stress at home or in class. It also will provide mentorship opportunities for older students to emotionally support the younger students when they reach out for this space. The group was awarded full funding for their pitch.
Moses Youth Center (Cambridge)
The team from Moses Youth Center, an after-school community program offering skill development, leadership opportunities and community service, presented compelling ideas to address the needs of Cambridge youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the Moses Youth Center team was awarded a grant of $1,400. The Moses Youth Center teen group pitched an idea to host a community event involving all members of the public school community to learn about youth mental health. The program was designed to involve students, families, educators and administrators to inform the community about how best to support its students and their different learning styles. The event would provide a variety of foods and activities that contribute to a stronger sense of community. They received full funding for their pitch idea.
Winchester Public School Civics Class (Winchester)
The team from Winchester Civics class presented compelling ideas to address the needs of their community’s youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the Winchester team was awarded a grant of $1,100. The team from Winchester Civics class presented research from their coursework about a large gap in the diversity of people voting in their community versus the diversity of people living in the community. The group will use the funding for a public information campaign to encourage greater civic involvement of various diverse groups of people. They received full funding for their pitch idea.
Youth Action Team (Wakefield)
The group from Youth Action Team, a youth-led group of diverse teens promoting a positive and sustainable community for all in Wakefield, presented compelling ideas to address youth needs. As a result of their successful presentation, the Youth Action Team group was awarded a grant of $1,000. The group from Youth Action Team proposed the creation of a club to connect ELL students of Wakefield from the High School and Middle School to one another and beyond into their community. The funding will allow the group to commence with pairing students and kick off the program with a family night, which will include food and booths from local vendors and an information night for all involved. They received full funding for their pitch idea.
Boston Public Ministries (Dorchester)
The team from The Boston Project Ministries, a youth organization engaging and equipping neighbors, volunteers, and congregations to build strong communities, presented compelling ideas to address the needs of Dorchester youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the Boston Project Ministries team was awarded a grant of $1,500. The team from Boston Project Ministries proposed the creation of visual art pieces in the community that have affirmations and a QR code for mental health resources. The group emphasized that art murals are a way for youth to feel connected to others and to know that we, as a community, are not alone. They received full funding for their pitch idea.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield, Keystone Club
The team from the Keystone Club, which is a teen group at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield, presented compelling ideas to address the needs of their communities’ youth. As a result of their successful presentation, the Keytstone Club team was awarded a grant of $1,000. The team from Keystone Club presented a pitch for a mindfulness room. Their mindfulness space will contain new stress relieving devices and materials, as well as a cultivated area for children to complete homework assignments without disturbances. The introduction of a safe place for kids will provide support for youth who may be struggling with mental health in order to receive necessary guidance. The team received full funding for their pitch idea.