United Way of Northeast Florida is excited to announce the top finalists for the 2016-2017 Upstream competition. Upstream is a social innovation challenge for college students that provides seed grant funding of up to $10,000 for groundbreaking-ideas. After presenting their ideas on the main stage at the Innovation Connection Conference during Jacksonville Innovation Week, ten finalists were announced by David Miller, CEO and founder of Brightway Insurance.
What may have started as a dream for these young innovators is now that much closer to becoming a reality. Listed below are our lucky contenders representing four categories of ideas:
Vaughn, Farouk and Nelson intend to create the Gents for Jax professional development program for young men in Jacksonville. This program will provide the tools needed to teach young men to critique mainstream media, which can negatively influence a teen’s self-image and vision for their future.
Julia and Adam’s goal is to create an after-school program for refugee students at Englewood High School. As a result, education majors from the University of North Florida will have the opportunity to further develop their teaching skills.
Rose-Laine aims to create a musically enriched early learning reading program for pre-K and kindergarten children with their parents. The primary focus will be on nonverbal students with autism.
Shomari plans to create a competitive step program for young males. Shomari hopes that this will create a greater sense of community throughout Jacksonville.
Courtney, Brianna, and Michael aim to recover and redistribute leftover food from UNF campus store and restaurants to create well-balanced meals for community organizations such as food pantries and homeless shelters.
Susana and Tom plan to establish a financial program at Sandalwood High School to teach students how to become financially stable, develop savings and assets and basic money management skills.
Eunique and Gary intend to create a seaplane air taxi business and school that operates along the St. John’s River. The aim of this business would be to showcase Jacksonville with docks located near popular downtown destinations as well as, Jacksonville University.
Austen and Laura plan to promote bicycling to Jacksonville Jaguars football games by providing a bicycle valet at games and tailgates specifically for cyclists, and potentially providing bicycle rentals.
Tylyn, Noelle and Allishia aim to give each high school in Jacksonville an opportunity to create artwork that will be displayed downtown. The goal would be to increase community involvement and generate an incentive to visit downtown.
Max, Michelle, Tre, Adrian and Philip plan to create an initiative called Help4Jax to assist community members in their job search endeavors, financial literacy, and volunteer opportunities.[divider] With such a broad range of ideas, the judges will surely have their work cut out for them. Stay tuned to find out who makes the top four and who will have the chance to implement their idea to build a better Northeast Florida. Visit unitedwaynefl.org/upstream to learn more about United Way’s social innovation initiative.