Social Innovation Award Finalists Empower Communities To Take Action With Design-Thinking
We are very proud in the Rio Grande Valley that three of our alumni, Priscilla Aguilar (R.G.V. ’15), Roberto Lopez (R.G.V. ’15), and Jogene Castillo (R.G.V '15) are finalists for this year’s Social Innovation Award.
Teach For America's annual Social Innovation Award competition is designed to spark bold and innovative solutions that expand opportunities for students in underserved communities. As finalists, Priscilla, Roberto, and Jogene will be able to compete for seed funding and professional coaching designed to maximize the impact of their venture The Small Victories Project, which partners with communities and guides them through a design-thinking framework to accomplish community-defined initiatives. The co-founders recently did a short Q&A with One Day Magazine about The Small Victories Project.
What problem are you trying to solve? Students, parents, and community members should have clear pathways for leadership development and access to organizing platforms, but many do not. This leads to a lack of collective impact, which makes community members feel powerless. We want to tackle the root issues that lead to these symptoms of oppression and communal stagnation.
What’s your big idea? We believe any community can solve any problem. We partner with communities and guide them through a design-thinking framework to accomplish community-defined initiatives, which we call “victories.” Given the right tools and commitment, our SVP communities will be challenged to ask questions, design solutions, and take action, starting with small victories and building momentum towards more complex systemic issues.
Your advice to other innovators? There's really nothing wrong with being an idealist and having a strong sense of vision of how you want to change the world. Be committed and persevere.