During a Mobilize.org summit in San Jose, students use interactive keypad voting to discuss what policy makers, college faculty/administrators and students themselves can do to improve college completion rates in their community.
In communities across the country, Mobilize.org empowers and invests in Millennials to create and implement solutions to social problems. With support from Knight Foundation, the organization is bringing its Millennial-led engagement efforts to five Knight communities: Detroit, San Jose, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Miami.
Recently, Maya Enista Smith, CEO of Mobilize.org talked with Knight about the project at the Gathering of Leaders in Miami, which brings together social entrepreneurs to help them accelerate social change.
Knight Foundation: Mobilize.org’s mission is to empower and invest in Millennials to create and implement solutions to social problems. What is your programming model?
Maya Enista: Our model is to convene, invest and train in this generation of leaders to solve the problems that they face in their communities. We believe that young people are best equipped to solve these problems and it is our role to support them. For example, we recently convened a group of 100 community college students in San Jose, Calif. to talk about the obstacles that they face with respect to community college completion. We provided the students with the opportunity to work collaboratively to propose solutions to those challenges and asked them to compete for a share of $25,000 to identify and support the most innovative solutions. Now with Mobilize.org funding, undocumented students that face financial and emotional challenges will have a place where they can go to talk to someone, print their papers, use the Internet and gain moral support with peers. A mentorship and counseling program will also help foster care children properly transition into college life, and video and editing support will be available for student organizations on campus who are doing good work but who have trouble making their ideas and solutions visible. All of the winning project descriptions are available online.