South Texas Ideas

Pre-assess - Understand
Strongly Agree
Pre-assess - Inspired
Pre-assess - Engaged
Pre-assess - Skills
Pre-assess - Stand Up
Pre-assess - Reach Out
Pre-assess - Others
Details - Project Image
The picture uploaded represents the logo for the upcoming non-profit that creates an annual border festival.
Injustice - Importance
The stigma created by the national news on immigration and border wars has created a negative outlook on what the border region of South Texas is "supposed" to be. Therefore, causing young adults to drift away from their background and not seek a certain pride in their culture and stray away from community outreach and activism. With all the recent issues being highlighted in our area about border crossings and wall debates, there is no better time than now to teach teenagers about standing up for their beliefs and embracing their passions to create positive change.
Injustice - Who Affected
Young adults in high school through college are the main target audience ranging from 14-19 years old.
Injustice - How Affected
Young adults are the first people to be affected by the news because they have access to social media. They are in the age where they are accepting who they are and developing themselves. It's time to teach them to not be embarrassed but empowered to defy the statistics and facts imposed on them and show what the border region of South Texas is truly like.
Injustice - Who Causes
The national news outlets and politicians are the ones that spread the false statements and cause the stigma to start and spread.
Injustice - Why
South Texas is a small region that not many people understand unless they come here and see how life is really like. The only way to fix the false statements and mindsets is to change the perspective.
Initial Problem Statement
I want to empower young adults to embrace the unique culture, community, and identity only found along the Mexican-American border in South Texas.
Initial Problem Comments
My injustice has upgraded to become the discrimination and lack of knowledge on border regions that causes a lack of pride and identity within young adults along the Mexican-American border.
Comment Date
Sat, 04/13/2019 - 18:48
Interview - Who
Teenagers ranging from 16 year old to 18 year old
Interview - How They Feel
All of them agree that teenagers have the potential to do so much more despite their age. The border region we live in is far from the current status our nation is in considering certain issues like feminism and activism. We need to learn how to grow and share our voice with the outlets available to us.
Interview - How Affected
These teenagers are the center of the whole injustice as they are part of the festival I lead and understand how important it is to stand up and share your ideas. They agree that other kids in our area need to be given this opportunity to learn about their background and be proud of who they are because, within that, they can truly find passion and incite change in our community with their ideas.
Interview - Why They Feel That Way
Being a part of our festival team that works alongside the same mission, they were able to learn the significance of embracing culture, community, and identity. They understand both sides of the issue and know what it feels like to want to leave behind the stigma and conversely want to defy it.
Interview - How Involved
All the teenagers interviewed hope to help aid the leadership summit and the movement within teaching others the reality of the border region and all it has to offer.
Root Cause
Students are not being taught about important resources in area, Important aspects of border region are not highlighted greatly, issues are seen as adult-oriented not kid-friendly, no trust in young generation, leadership is not a core value
Compassionate Insight - Injustice
lack of border pride
Compassionate Insight - Address
how to be a changemaker and leadership skills
Compassionate Insight - Action
creating a leadership summit for young adults in the South Texas region
Compassionate Insight - Comments
Hi Abigail! I'm Fish from the Peace First team and I'm here to give you feedback on your Compassionate Insight.

I'm approving your compassionate insight so that you can start building your plan. As you move forward, the Plan tools in the next section will help you create an action Plan to bring your project to life! To remain eligible for the Power of Youth Accelerator grant of $5,000, you should submit your Plan by April 15th. Once we approve your plan, you'll be able to submit your budget and mini-grant application for up to $250.

As you Plan your project's timeline, you might also want to keep in mind that to be eligible for the $5,000 grant, you'll want to plan to carry out your project and submit your Reflection by June 30th.

Abigail - I'm really excited by your insight. It sounds like you have a big and exciting vision for helping young people in your community feel supported, empowered, and proud -- and how you can make it happen. We have your back, all the way - you just have to let us know what you need.

One thing I'm not sure I understand yet -- and I hope you'll share more about this so others can understand too -- is how "lack of border pride" is an injustice. What is it about lack of pride that is (or contributes to) an injustice? I have a lack of pride in my hometown Oakland Raiders, but that's not an injustice. We define an injustice as something that causes serious harm and/or affects people or groups of people disproportionately. So what's the harm being caused? Is it that the lack of pride in the diversity of your community is causing division or discrimination? That the lack of pride is causing your community to be misunderstood or mistreated by outsiders? That the lack of pride is making students feel less empowered? I really want to understand -- and others will too.

For the next part of your insight -- it seems like you're saying that the lack of pride is due to the fact that students don't know how to be everyday leaders and changemakers -- that if they did, they'd help create a sense of community pride. I'd love to hear more about why you think that -- what the connection is between leadership, community pride, and justice -- but I think it makes sense to me.

And finally - I love the last part of your insight. Clear, actionable, connected to your root cause. And I see, from the work you've done talking to others, that you are great at hearing other people's ideas and bringing them together -- so I imagine you're doing a lot of great work with other folks to plan this Summit (I love the logo, too!).

We're here to help as you build out your plan. Let me know any questions you have. One thing to keep in mind as you go: How can you make sure that STXnow draws a wide array of people from the community, including and especially young people who don't yet see themselves as leaders? I visit a lot of youth leadership conferences that always seem to have the same people (or same type of people). I can see that you value inclusion and imagine that you want to buck this trend. Let me know if you want to kick around ideas.

Can't wait to see your plan!
Comment Date
Wed, 04/03/2019 - 08:01
Hello! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my Compassionate Insight :) I will definitely build off of what you said and improve the parts that need more definition!
Comment Date
Sat, 04/13/2019 - 18:44
Plan - Goals
- Receive 50 passionate young adults in our local festival on April 27th, 2019
- Create an alumni team aware of the skills needed to become effective and efficient leaders in today's society.
- Survey young non-profit members and understand what they feel and approach the term of a leader as
- Plan out the schedule of the conference and what exact activities and budgetary aspects need to be taken care of
- Focus on a truly reflective and cheerful environment throughout summit/conference to allow young adults to understand the professional and important situation.
- Create a surge of confidence and pride in the conference participants as they learn more about themselves and the world around them
Plan - Compassion
honing on effective leadership skills and aspects that many young adults have not practiced in order to create change. We will teach our participants about the origin of our border and how the stigma began in the first place.
Plan - Courage
Choosing to change the mindset that people hold upon my home of the border is an extreme feat that will require a lot of hard work and determination. Many adults believe teenagers like myself should have no say in important issues like immigration because we are young. However, the reality is that age has no relevance, it is the experience and passion that is necessary to defeat the odds and truly make a change in one's community.
Plan - Collaborate
The conference will be headed by my sister, a school counselor, and an alumni group of 5 people. These people will be the conference team that will ensure the flow of the agenda and plan to empower the next generation of leaders.
Plan - Direction
A series of surveys and casual interviews/conversations will be done before, during, and after the process to see how exactly the conference is effecting participants and if we are making a difference in the mindset young adults perceive. This feedback will help us adjust certain parts and improve our future efforts.
Plan - Steps
Advertise conference
Plan out agenda of the event
Choose participants
Buy items and things necessary to make event successful
Interview the participants before the conference and throughout the week
Carry out activities and lessons focused on young adult skill-building and collaboration
Gather thoughts and feedback on what we need to grow on and what we did great at
Measure later on in the future how young adults were affected by summit
Plan - Comments
Hi Emily! Thanks for submitting this plan. I love it - and I'm advancing you to apply for a mini-grant.

We're really excited to have you start this club. A few things I think are great about your plan: you're leading with listening first and understanding what students need, rather than trying to decide what everyone needs on your own. And you're reaching out beyond your own circles -- to the whole school and specifically to people who may not have their own strong support systems.

One of the things that will be important to do, as you go along and in your reflection, is share with other students: what are you learning? What makes people feel separated in your school? What do they want to see in a club to address this? What solutions have you identified and how are you implementing them? Sharing these with us as you go along as 'updates' will be awesome.

Also -- think a bit about how you'll measure 'a happier school environment.' What does this mean and how can you track it? Will you use surveys? Will you reflect on your own experiences? We want to be sure you *know* that you made change - and we're happy to help you think about what tools will ensure that!

Keep going. Submit your mini-grant. Talk and listen to others and create space for people to feel connected. We are here to help you, every step of the way.

Thanks for what you are doing!
Comment Date
Sat, 04/13/2019 - 20:19
Details - Country (deprecated)
United States
Details - Location (deprecated)
South Texas Border Region
Grant - Resource
Convention Food
Supplies to be given to participants
Marketing and Design
Promotional Items
Grant - Confirm Age
Grant - Confirm Use
Grant - Confirm Start
Grant - Confirm End
Grant - Confirm Report
Grant - Comments
Hi Abigail,

Congratulations! Your mini-grant has been approved! We’re excited to support your project with a grant. Once you add your payment details we will work to get your grant to you over the next two weeks.

Comment Date
Tue, 04/16/2019 - 13:40
Payment - PF Affiliated
Payment - Bank Account
Payment - E-Check
Payment - Agree to Terms
Grant - Total
Thu, 06/27/2019 - 11:59
My project was a rollercoaster ride of balancing all the tasks I had as not only a student, but as a leader to my organization. However, I would not have it any other way. Although, the stage has ended and I have passed down my position due to my matriculation into college, I want to share the crazy journey that has made me who I am today!

Peacefirst has given me the opportunity to do more for my community by doing projects in my organization that would connect to the people that shared the "border life", and taught others outside of South Texas what it's like to live in such a culturally diverse area just 15 mins away from the MX-AM border. From here, I will share all that has been able to occur with Peacefirst's support!
Thu, 06/27/2019 - 12:09
A project my organization has had before was the "STXi Podcast." I was excited to see where the project would go, but soon after the podcast launched the "voice" of the project got busy and wasn't able to continue on.

I was able to not only start it up again but find a person passionate enough to start a new one called "The Wrong Chat," centered on talking about issues that the youth feels we should know about and discuss openly without the judgement of adults. I am proud to have been able to help start it and can't wait to see where it goes!!

link is down below if you want to listen!
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Thu, 06/27/2019 - 12:15
The website and design team of my organization is centered on completing the tasks that pertain to updating information on our website ( or designing important documents or presentations we need.

For the festival, one of the main members asked if they could paint a butterfly to symbolize the immigrants that cross the border for a better life, much like the monarchs we see every Spring. Honestly, I couldn't see it done any other way...

Its meaning transcends just the simple cardboard and acrylic paint you see.
Thu, 06/27/2019 - 14:00
Along the festival journey, I did a lot of engagement with other youth in and outside of my school to understand what they love about their community, what passions they hold, and how they plan to do so. In the picture sent, the youth helping us with some festival preparation were starred in our festival intro video and were not part of our team, but their passion to do so much for our community was there. They knew that our border town was "boring," but they had plans to go beyond the perspective and follow their dreams no matter what.

I am glad to say that talking to them was probably an eye opening experience for me, realizing that there are so many hopeful young adults out there that just need to keep going, believing, and working hard.
Thu, 06/27/2019 - 14:06
The day of the festival, everyone had to get to the venue super early to finish preparation! The picture shown below holds three of the most hardworking team members in my team that helped put everything together. Their perspectives, experiences, and help has helped put everything together and definitely made me a stronger leader.

The balloons on the side were actually a last minute decor idea that could not have been able to put together without Peacefirst's help. A member in my team knew how to put them together surprisingly and needed some help to buy balloons and string. Who knew that it was so easy to put together?
Thu, 06/27/2019 - 14:09
April 27th, 2019 was the day that all our hard work paid off and it was definitely a day that I will cherish forever.
About 200 young adults from all over South Texas attended and the intimate nature of the audience this time around was truly amazing! I am so glad to have gone through this journey and I am grateful to have had Peacefirst support me through it.
Post-assess - Engaged
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Understand
Post-assess - Inspired
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Skills
Strongly Agree
Post-assess - Stand Up
Post-assess - Reach Out
Post-assess - Others
Strongly Agree
Reflect - Deepen
The projects we carried out helped my team turn their ideas into a reality by creating the things they knew would be able to not only impact themselves, but the attendees and people in our community that would be able to see it. The border life is seen as boring and burdensome only because there isn’t any passion or excitement to do big things. Completing this project has allowed my team and I to learn about the vast important of immigrants in our area and how to honor them (monarch wings). We as well were able to jumpstart a new podcast with more planning and meaning to go on to the future.
Reflect - Change
The projects we completed were done in accordance with our local festival we made in hopes of having them displayed for attendees to enjoy and learn. I truly think that opening new avenues for people to learn has allowed people to become more inspired and open minded when thinking about our area. Our festival was small, but intimate and allowed people to follow their own curiosity around the festival. From the surveys we took at the end, one statistic stands out to me, the determination to do more in their community was scored at a 97%. Although, I can not go around and see physical change that occurred, the mentality of the new generation is changing and becoming open minded to search for other perspectives other than their own and that is not only the real purpose I started the project, but the organization this year as well.
Reflect - How Many
Reflect - How Many Explained
n total, the STXi Festival had about 240 people in attendance to attend, volunteer, and coordinate. 240 people were the ones that followed us through our long awaited journey to the stage as we were able to share our projects (wings and podcast). Our podcast was as well able to compete in the NPR podcast contest, awarding us with an honorable mention. The power of technology has left us with an uncertain amount of people that we know were able to hear about our immigration focused episode.
Reflect - People Affected
The injustice of not understanding the unique culture, community, and identity of the border had to be first understood from my team since we were all affected by it since a young age. However, coordinating the festival details I was able to see and comprehend the feelings and experience my team had. Seeing people become inspired, passionate, and unafraid to step out of their comfort zone and learn was nostalgic and life changing. We were all in their footsteps once before, unaware of the possibilities and opportunities. However, now it’s safe to say we are a long way from where we started.
Reflect - Learn
Having a team of 40 individuals means encountering different personalities, attitudes, and work ethics. Throughout the project’s progression, I believe the team was able to understand the true culmination of unique ideas and passions that were put together to make this whole project happen and respect them. Additionally, learning about how every person in our area shares that same characteristic of difference, but it is our mission to help them realize their potential. Our job is not to judge, but to empower those that need the push to do more and take charge of opportunities.
Reflect - Challenges
As teenagers in high school, multi-tasking and handling stress are definitely two crucial challenges we have to face and control under pressure. Not only do we have to work on an organization, festival, and projects but also academic goals and tasks. Pertaining to the project specifically, the need to follow through with plans and not procrastinate was a major issue. However, we were able to carry out these challenges and beat them by working together and focusing on our main purpose to accomplish. Understanding the purpose our project started with primarily helped us stay grounded and connected to complete our end goals.
Reflect - Others
Design: I held meetings with specific team members that expressed interest in carrying out the role of collaborating and managing the progress of the project. Both the podcast and the wings project were brought to light and advocated for by specific people that had amazing ideas and commitment within my organization. Therefore, they helped produce the end goal by ultimately helping make the project successful.
Carrying Out: Besides team members that designed, many team members were there for the festival by welcoming attendees and watching over special guest speakers and activity workshops. This may seem like a trivial job, but the only reason why everything is able to run is because of the people who help carry out the plan in motion as helpers.
Reflect - Future Hopes
I hope to continue outreach in our local area of the South Texas region to ultimately become an important symbol of what our area represents. I want all the youth to be empowered to do big things and to never feel ashamed of representing the border towns we live in. There is no shame in speaking Spanish. There is no shame in being who you are.
Eventually, I hope for the festival to gain new projects with meaningful purposes to convey. I want the festival to grow in numbers, but focus on an intimate and personal effect to grab the audience attention.
Although, going away to college will affect my ability to foresee the future of the project, I want to follow through and continue with fostering leadership skills in potential youth leaders in my community to become motivated and powerful citizens knowledgeable about the world around them.
Reflect - Future Support
South Texas Ideas will no longer be a non-profit I run completely as I am no longer a high school student and have appointed new leaders, but I am working on creating a non-profit focused on another issue relevant to perspective. I want to startup an organization that helps kids become logical, motivated, and powerful leaders. Looking at how I am going to expand from this project, I want to deepen my learning from this to now go into specifics of empowering the future generation of creators, thinkers, and leaders of the world. The resources present in South Texas is not enough to help young adults experience the reality of diversity in the workplace, urban development, and social issues by region.
In order to help the youth not only fight the perspective, but create their own I believe financial support, mentorship, and internship opportunities available will help this project go underway as I build off of my experience and hope to learn more. The three types of support mentioned will definitely give basic planning ideas, communication skills, and networking opportunities to help me become a better leader to in turn build future leaders.
Reflect - Accelerator
Reflect - Advice
“We don’t fail, we fix!,” was a saying my math teacher told me and it’s one I want to share with anyone who needs it. Grow with your mistakes and learn from them, it is all part of the journey to reach our goals.
Team Invitations
Details - Public
Details - Video
Previous Changed
Reflect - Comments
Hi Abigail!

Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! I’m Greta, a member of the Peace First team, and I want to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share a little more about it.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

Congratulations on completing such an awesome and successful project! It’s really cool to see how you were able to identify a problem very unique to your own community, and then work with other young people to find such an innovative and effective solution that got so many others involved! It seems like you had a really positive experience working with a team of diverse experiences and perspectives, and it’s awesome that you were all able to grow together over the course of the project. I admire how thoughtful you and your team were in planning the event and activities themselves, and it seems like you did a great job of bringing in engaging and inspiring speakers, as well as finding ways for the attendees to be involved themselves. I know that you won’t be as involved with South Texas Ideas in the future because you’re going to college, but I’m happy to see that you remain committed to empowering young people to be leaders. Even though you won’t be directly leading the event next year, I had a thought I wanted to share about the ideas festival anyways that you could pass along to the new leadership (because hopefully it will continue to grow and evolve!) -- I think it could be really cool to find a way to introduce more long-term projects that attendees can get involved in after the festival. With your awesome statistic of 97% of attendees leaving the event wanting to do more in their community, it might be helpful to offer them specific opportunities as a way to get involved in case they don’t know where to go from there. Again, this was a fantastic project -- thank you for all your work!!

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!

Stay tuned for information in the next two weeks about the next steps in the process to be considered for the Power of Youth Challenge Accelerator Grant.

All the best,
Comment Date
Mon, 07/01/2019 - 14:55