Throughout a virtual exchange program, participants develop skills that will help them to thrive in their lives, both professionally and personally. To continue supporting young people after their exchange and to give alumni the resources that they need to give back to their communities, the Stevens Initiative has launched a Stevens Initiative Alumni Small Grants project.
The Stevens Initiative, in collaboration with World Learning, is excited to announce the first cohort of Alumni Small Grants recipients. World Learning’s the Experiment Digital is a two-month summer virtual exchange program that helps high school-aged youth become more civically engaged by empowering them to plan and execute a community service project.
Through the small grants, the Stevens Initiative and World Learning aim to empower Experiment Digital alumni to serve their communities by providing grants of up to $1,000 (USD) to individual alumni and alumni teams that will implement projects focused on creating positive social change. The Stevens Initiative and the Experiment Digital provide alumni grantees with the tools, resources, and support necessary to implement their community projects. Alumni will use the skills developed during their virtual exchange as they plan and carry out their projects.
The first cohort of alumni grantees includes six alumni projects in the United States, Algeria, Iraq, and Yemen, and each unique project addresses a specific need in that alum’s community.
- Project Name: Keep Motivated
- Project Leader: Hiba Akbi
- Location: Algiers, Algeria
- Brief Description: Leveraging connections in the app development sector in Algeria, Hiba will work with two programmers to develop an application that motivates young people in their community to develop an interest in reading and literature. Using innovation and gamification, this team hopes to use technology already present in young people’s lives to motivate them to achieve reading goals.
- Project Name: Being Inspired to Make a Difference
- Project Leader: Maged Alawadhi
- Location: Yemen
- Brief Description: Working with five fellow Experiment Digital alumni, Maged will develop an entrepreneurship program that provides training and support to women in Yemen. In this program, previously unemployed women will develop sewing, marketing, and professional skills, creating a path to start their own small businesses.
- Project Name: Speak Up/Speak Out – Podcast Series
- Project Leader: Nayantara Arora
- Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
- Brief Description: The Speak Up/Speak Out podcast series will share the personal stories of immigrant and refugee youth in Portland to foster cross-cultural connections and empathetic exchange. Through this podcast, Nayantara and her team of local youth hope to change misconceptions, share voices to build trust among disparate communities, and showcase the power of storytelling.
- Project Name: Go STEAMers!
- Project Leader: Celine Zahia Bendekoum
- Location: Algiers, Algeria
- Brief Description: Celine is motivated to make sure that young people in her community have the skills to engage in today’s technological world. To accomplish that goal, she is planning a series of afterschool clubs that focus on developing STEAM competencies. In addition to STEAM skills, Celine hopes to encourage teamwork and leadership skills for her local middle and high school participants.
- Project Name: Project Exchange
- Project Leader: Ashley Lin
- Location: Vancouver, Washington, USA
- Brief Description: Working with fellow alumni and other young people from their communities, Ashley’s team will grow their youth-led organization to increase access to cross-cultural learning experiences for middle and high school students around the globe through digital programs. This includes the first-ever youth-led digital learning experience that uses design thinking, community journalism, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to enhance cross-cultural learning and collaboration.
- Project Name: Stop Signs to Prevent Accidents
- Project Leader: Zhulia O.
- Location: Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq
- Brief Description: Responding to a recent rise in traffic accidents in her local community, Zhulia is working with the municipal government and a fellow Experiment Digital alumnus to implement a project to make her community safer. This project will identify dangerous intersections that lack stop signs, install new signs, and share a digital campaign about how to obey these new traffic signs.