National organization leads Miami's youth

admin | 6/14/2012, 8 a.m.

College students receive grant for community projects

Mobilize.org, an outreach organization that helps "millennials" people ages 18 to 30 find ways to solve social problems, recently held a three-day summit from June 1st to June 3rd that included more than 100 students from Miami-Dade, Broward Community, and Palm Beach State Colleges at the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach.

As part of the summit, students were asked to submit projects highlighting ways to solve issues unique to south Florida including: low college graduation rates, low voter's registration rates and immigration. The top five ideas chosen were funded with more than$25,000 in grant money from the Knight Foundation.

"Knight wanted to support the development of young leaders in Miami and across the United States," said Damian Thorman, national program director of the Knight Foundation. "The summit gives these young leaders an opportunity to put their ideas to the test and build a strong network."

Among the top five ideas chosen by Mobilize were an editorial magazine that helps students find credible resources to complete their college education. The idea was created by students from Broward Community Colleges south campus. The teams members are

Ajah Mcpherson, Crishell Bautista, Albert Hourie and Serge Michel. The group will receive up to $7,500 to launch the student-run magazine and participate in a year-long fellowship to work on their projects.

Solving South Floridas problems

Maya Enisto-Smith, chief executive officer at Mobilize, said the top projects were chosen by other students who are a part of the organization and were selected based on certain criteria.

"We instructed them to vote for the projects that would have the highest likelihood of success at the issue they were tasked with addressing, which in south Florida was increasing the community college completion rate," Enisto-Smith said. "The criteria that we provided them included: the creativity and innovation of the project, as we wanted to make sure that their projects addressed an unmet need in a unique way and also use of new technology given the tech-savvy of this generation."

Mobilize.org is an all-partisan group started in 2002 by UC Berkeley student David B. Smith and 10 other students who met elected officials about increased tuition fees. It would later take a total of 109 meetings before officials granted the students a tuition decrease well as a $30 million housing bond granting the students a total of $112 million in savings.

Those students eventually became Mobilize.org, a group that now boasts a network of more than 50,000 millenials working to promote social progress in education, voting and volunteering.

Today, Mobilize boasts a network of more than 50,000 Millenials working to promote social progress in education, voting and community involvement. Padron told students that in order to now live the American dream it takes more than just a high school diploma. "At your age, if you don't aspire to change the world," you're in big trouble," Padron said. By Latoya Burgesslburgess@miamitimesonline.com