This year we had 47 students join us from all over the United States, from Washington and California all the way to Florida, as well as from Brazil and Singapore. Students worked in small peer groups in order to address social issues in their local community. This year, the judges were proud to award Luke Miller from our very own Beverly, Massachusetts, with $1,500 seed funding to start “Drop It, Don’t Pop It”. Luke and his team were concerned with the dangerous and rapidly rising rate of prescription drug abuse in the city of Beverly. They designed a program that both works to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse among Beverly residents and to provide deposit bins in convenient locations so that people can dispose of their extra medications. Their project “Drop It, Don’t Pop It” takes off this upcoming academic year in Luke’s hometown of Beverly. Besides Luke’s project, there were four other finalist projects represented by Julia Canady (Lakeland, FL), Branford Barnes (Carrolton, TX), Josiah Pang (Newark, CA), and Caroline Norman (Alpharetta, GA).
The second place peer group developed an after school nutrition and cooking program called "FEED" to address the above average obesity rate in Julia Canady's home community of Lakeland, Florida.
Jackson Curtis (Morgan Hill, CA), Nicholas Shealy (Macon, GA) and their peer mentor Marin Butterworth (Gordon College, Class of '16) talking through their biases, assumptions, and possible community partners for their project.
Meghan Lacey (La Canada, CA) excited to climb the high ropes course in the Gordon woods.
Sydney Lister (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Emily Tran (Fremont, CA) and Brittany Stockton (Portland, OR) attentively learning about their strengths as leaders.
Lindsay White (Gilroy, CA), Catherine Howley (South Hamilton, MA), Noelle Cassier (Matthews, NC), William Chestnutt (Bahama, NC) enjoying a Red Sox game at Fenway Park after an afternoon of exploring Boston.
Harris Rollinger, a young entrepreneur and program and development officer at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), shares with Elevate students his own journey of turning ideas into realities.