Innovation Takes Center Stage: Youth Dazzle Judges at T-Mobile’s 2023 Changemaker Challenge Lab
BELLEVUE, Wash., October 4, 2023 /3BL/ - This week T-Mobile, the T-Mobile Foundation, and partner Ashoka welcomed fifteen teams of visionary teens to the Un-carrier’s Bellevue, Wash. headquarters for the fifth annual Changemaker Challenge Lab. The two-day event gave teams of youth between the ages of 13 and 18, who were selected from nationwide entries to this year’s Changemaker Challenge contest, access to hands-on learning and mentorship that will help advance their innovative ideas for creating more inclusive, equitable and sustainable communities.
During the Lab, the top team in each of the three contest categories—Digital Empowerment, Equity In Action and Thriving Planet—also pitched their ideas to T-Mobile senior leaders for the opportunity to receive the additional $5,000 seed funding grand prize on top of the $10,000 each had already earned. No surprise, the judges were so impressed that they chose ALL THREE TEAMS as winners, bringing each team’s total seed funding to $15,000. Since launching the program in 2018, T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Foundation has invested over $4.5 million in the program. This includes providing seed funding to projects, and offering mentorship and in-person skills-building opportunities through the Changemaker Challenge Lab and beyond.
“This group of next generation leaders has big ideas for how to make the world a better place and, through Changemaker Challenge, T-Mobile is committed to empowering them with both mentoring opportunities and seed funding they need to bring them to life,” said T-Mobile’s EVP & Chief Communications and Corporate Responsibility Officer Janice V. Kapner. “We were so incredibly inspired by every one of these thoughtful pitches that we just had to give each of them funding to continue on. It was a fantastic day of presentations, and we look forward to the benefits each of these bold ideas will deliver to society in the years to come.”
This year’s Changemaker Challenge Grand prize winners include:
Lemonerdy University (Digital Empowerment): Siblings David Wilson and Eden Wilson created videos about coding, which led them to create the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focused peer-based learning platform.
“I started making videos about coding projects and the response from kids was amazing, especially from girls of color, who were so happy to see someone like me teaching coding. Participating in T-Mobile’s Changemaker Challenge has been incredibly motivating and winning seed funding allows us to focus on our innovation, creativity and recruiting,” said Eden Wilson, co-founder of Lemonerdy University.
KidsMates (Equity in Action): Brother and sister Ava and Josh Martoma founded KidsMates to promote resilience in the face of parental incarceration. After experiencing it themselves, they wanted to find a way to help offer other children and caregivers resources and community.
“Our ultimate goal is to create a supportive and empowered national community that actively works to break the cycle of incarceration and provide essential resources to those most in need. The seed funding from T-Mobile and the support we have received through the Changemaker Challenge is a game-changer in making all of this happen!” said Josh Martoma, co-founder of KidsMates.
Go Green Filter (Thriving Planet): Rohan Kapoor and Jack Reichert invented the filtration system, which contains algae, water and light, to convert automobile carbon emissions into oxygen.
“The Go Green Filter is a novel, cost-effective invention that reduces carbon emissions in automobiles. By implementing microalgae, the most bioavailable photosynthesizer on earth, our invention filters copious amounts of carbon dioxide into harmless oxygen. T-Mobile’s Changemaker Challenge has helped us gain traction to start expanding and we are working on creating a filter for motorcycles in Indonesia to help with their large pollution problem,” says Rohan Kapoor, co-creator of Go Green Filter.
For more information about the Changemaker Challenge and to check out the full list of winners, visit t-mobile.com/changemaker.
T-Mobile US, Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) is America’s supercharged Un-carrier, delivering an advanced 4G LTE and transformative nationwide 5G network that will offer reliable connectivity for all. T-Mobile’s customers benefit from its unmatched combination of value and quality, unwavering obsession with offering them the best possible service experience and undisputable drive for disruption that creates competition and innovation in wireless and beyond. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint. For more information please visit: https://www.t-mobile.com.
About T-Mobile Foundation
The T-Mobile Foundation is committed to changing the world for good by uplifting the causes T-Mobile employees care about most, and by providing opportunities for T-Mobile employees to engage in causes that benefit the communities where they live and work. The T-Mobile Foundation, created and funded by T-Mobile US, Inc., is recognized by the IRS as a Section 501(c)(3) private foundation.
Ashoka is the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs—individuals with new ideas to systemically address the world’s biggest challenges and the entrepreneurial skill to transform those ideas into national, regional and global social impact. Over 40 years, Ashoka has supported nearly 4,000 social entrepreneurs in more than 90 countries with solutions addressing society’s most pressing issues. Ashoka’s vision is a world in which Everyone is a Changemaker—a society that responds quickly and effectively to challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem.