A selected group of our 78 High School students “wowed” the audience recently with their end-of-year Society and Me ‘talks’ at the inspirational SAMx Showcase. I am so proud of Cushman’s Innovators of Change! As they shared their ideas and solutions on how to make our world a better place, they inspired the audience to take action. I invite you to read the project descriptions below and view the links provided. Also, congratulations to ALL of our 78 High School students for the compelling work they’ve completed this year to initiate positive change in our society and beyond via Cushman’s unique Society and Me (SAM) Challenge Seminar.
For those who aren’t familiar with Cushman High School’s SAM curriculum, it was first envisioned following the success of our founding and executing TEDxYouthMiami, which gives the youth in South Florida a platform to share ideas and make a difference in the lives of others. The SAM Challenge is a required four-year course for all Cushman High School students and pushes them to grapple with our world’s most pressing problems, develop innovative solutions and engage the community in a call to action. Cultivating this mindset and engagement is a cornerstone of Cushman School’s unique culture of kindness, empathy, and concern for others, and this requirement brings to fruition the highest level of the application of Cushman’s mission of developing future leaders who have a positive approach to life.
Below is a list of our ten selected SAMx presenters. I invite all members of our community to support their efforts and join in Cushman High School’s overall initiative to make a world a better place… one student leader at a time.
Juliet Mahfood: Pledging to End Teenage Drunk Driving – An appalling number of teens are killed from drunk driving every year, the result of a lack of understanding and appreciation of the dangers of getting on the road intoxicated. Juliet has spent that past several months gathering teenagers’ signatures for a pledge to never drive drunk – a pledge that she hopes will turn into a cultural movement against this harmful practice. Sign and Share the Pledge Here: https://duijusticelink.aa.com/for-the-public/take-the-pledge/
Sofia Kauderer: Adopt Don’t Shop – As thousands of loving dogs remain homeless in Miami, people continue to pay large sums of money for pure breds. Sofia has launched an initiative to connect adorable homeless animals to caring people across Miami – she’s already succeeded in finding dozens of dogs long term homes. Volunteer Orientation Every Saturday at 10am at Miami Dade Animal Shelter. Contact them at this phone number: 305-468-5900.
Kevin Lavandeira: Curbing Gun Violence – It’s too easy to get semi-automatic guns in the United States today. Kevin has spent the year growing an information campaign informing the South Florida public of this problem and its consequences. He is turning that campaign into a petition that he will present to local and state lawmakers. Sign the petition to ban semi-automatic assault rifles in Florida here: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ban-assault-weapons
Ugo Azelart – The world is short on clean water, so Ugo is teaching the world how to purify water using only household items and the power of the sun. He made a video that entertains viewers while teaching them the few easy steps necessary to make drinkable water. His plan is to spread this video across as much of the world as possible, giving people the tools they need to make their own drinkable water.
Christina Joseph: End Human Trafficking – Human trafficking is all around us, which means that we have the ability to stop it. We just need to learn how to see it first. Through radio appearances, social media drives, and school presentations, Christina Joseph is teaching the South Florida public what human trafficking is, how to identify victims, and how to help them. She has also met with Florida State Legislatures to advocate for strengthening human trafficking laws.
Sebastian Kalb: Access to Public Transportation in Miami – Tired of sitting in your car? Sebas is too! He’s created a proposal for extending Miami’s public transportation system and increasing its accessibility. Next, he’ll join with community groups and local governments to implement aspects of his ideas.
Daniela Gonzalez-Molina: Funding Sports Teams in Low Income Neighborhoods – Sports teams help their members stay healthy, but they are also unique opportunities to make lifelong friends and to build valuable social networks. But sports equipment can be expensive, and low-income neighborhood have far fewer sports teams available to young people and adults than more affluent areas. That’s why Daniela is raising money to support sports in underserved neighborhoods. Donate to the International Studies Foundation by clicking on this link:http://donate.fundacioninternationalstudies.org
Mary Grace Thomas: Teaching Schools to Better Teach Students with Learning Differences – Everybody learns differently, but schools too often fail to recognize the diverse learning styles of their students, and teach in a way that leaves too many behind. Mary Grace has identified schools and programs that excel in teaching students with learning differences, and is sharing their strategies with schools across South Florida.Help Mary Grace build her program at The Cushman School and bring it to other schools by contacting her here: 305-202-4962
Anthony Rodriguez: Staying on Top of Credit Card Debt – Americans rack up millions in credit card debt every year, hobbling their borrowing power and reducing their financial independence. Much of this debt is the result of a simple lack of knowledge about how to use credit cards responsibly. Anthony has spent the year teaching the public about the dangers of credit card debt and the ease with which it can ensnare people and offering advice for how to use credit cards to our advantage. Visit Change.Org to view Anthony’s Award Winning Film! Use this link: https://www.change.org/p/us-department-of-education-implement-financial-literacy-courses-in-middle-and-high-school-curriculums-in-america
Madeline Ley: Shrinking the Gender Wage Gap – It’s 2019, and women remain underrepresented in the workforce; they are paid an average of 80 cents on the dollar compared to men in similar professions, with similar job titles. Madeline identifies the causes of our society’s Gender Wage Gap, and has hosted negotiation workshops that teach professional women and teenagers strategies for increasing their earnings. Support Madeline’s efforts to shrink the gap!