PARKLAND, FL- Stoneman Douglas student Carlitos Rodriguez's Stories Untold US was named winner of the 2nd Annual T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge in the Education Division. The challenge is a competition designed to mobilize the next generation of young visionaries in America.
Rodriguez is the Founder and CEO of Stories Untold US, which began after the February 14th tragedy. In their own words, Stories Untold US "started at the heart of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 innocent lives were lost on February 14th, 2018, due to a cruel act of gun violence. The vast majority of the students who survived the shooting felt like the media gave the platform to a select group of students, and, in hopes of representing and diversifying the conversation, the idea of lifting one another’s voices became the common norm. Stories Untold US did not start because of the differences in the color of our skin, gender, age, beliefs, or trauma; it was started because we all have one thing in common, a story that deserves to be heard. Together as one voice, people affected by gun violence decided to speak out; influencing others to share their own personal stories as well."
The Changemaker Challenge is in its second year of finding and awarding young visionaries. In August of this year, T-Mobile shared the idea with youth aged 13 to 23 from the U.S., asking them to submit big ideas aimed at changing their communities for good in three categories: technology, environment and education. The following is background information about the challenge.
- All 30 winning teams receive seed money from the T-Mobile Foundation and a trip to T-Mobile’s headquarters for the Changemaker Lab.
- One team from each category will be selected as the Category Winner and receive an additional $3,000, for a total of $5,000 per winning team.
- At the Changemaker Lab, the three Category Winners will have a chance to pitch their ideas to T-Mobile leadership, and one team will be chosen as the 2019 Changemaker Challenge grand prize winner. That team will be awarded an additional $5,000 in seed funding — $10,000 total – plus, they will receive a return trip back to T-Mobile HQ later in the year to supercharge their project with further mentorship.
Stories Untold US now advances to the Changemaker Lab with an opportunity to pitch their idea to T-Mobile leaders. The event will take place at the T-Mobile headquarters in Bellevue, Washington in February of 2020.