South Texas Ideas

A Peacemaking Project by Abigail P.

What is the injustice we are solving?

I want to empower young adults to embrace the unique culture, community, and identity only found along the Mexican-American border in South Texas.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of lack of border pride
we will address how to be a changemaker and leadership skills
by creating a leadership summit for young adults in the South Texas region

Our Project 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

We will increase my / our compassion by...

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.

How will you show 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.

How will you collaborate with others?

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.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

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.

Key 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

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

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.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

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.

How many people were impacted by your project?

240

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

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.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

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.

What did your team 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.

What challenges did your team overcome?

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.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

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.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

“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.

Our Updates:

Recollection

Abigail P. 27 June 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!

reFRESH

Abigail P. 27 June 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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Remembrance

Abigail P. 27 June 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 (stxideas.com) 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.

Realization

Abigail P. 27 June 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.

REALity

Abigail P. 27 June 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?

REVOLUTION

Abigail P. 27 June 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.

Comments:

Mojisola O.
9 July 2019 12:05

Hi Abigail
I am really impressed by your project particularly the number of people you impacted. Great job!

My name is Mojisola, Peace First digital mentor and I sincerely congratulates you and your team for a job well done.

Keep the fire burning and keep overcoming