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By Yvonne Thomas, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft YouthSpark
After reviewing hundreds of inspiring entries, our judging panel for the YouthSpark Challenge for Change contest has finished the tough job of selecting 20 finalists. Each of the 20 finalists created a video sharing more about themselves and their projects.
Now we’re putting the power back in your hands. Starting today through June 24, you can vote once a day for the project that inspires you the most to help send five deserving youth on a volunteer trip in Kenya this summer. Watch the videos and cast your vote today!
“Volunteering in Kenya would allow me to learn more about the communities I aim to help,” contestant Megan Shea shares. “I hope this will add a level of credibility to my program by proving that any student with an idea and imagination can work to fight global issues.”
The 20 Finalists
Many of the finalists believe in the power of education. As finalist Zach Lax put it, “Access to quality education is the cornerstone of every other social issue.”
From left to right: Zach Lax, Odunola Ojewumi, Brian Hickey.
Others focus on inspiring young people, especially girls, to pursue STEM education. “As an engineering student in college,” finalist Jaleesa Trapp shared, “there weren’t many people who looked like me in my classes.”
From left to right: Jaleesa Trapp, Ximena Prugue, Temiloluwa Adeniyi.
From left to right: Meghan Shea, Karen Mok, Misikir Mentose.
Two of our finalists aim to empower youth by combining art and design with technology.
From left to right: De Andrea Nichols, Claire Mongeau.
It’s also clear that our finalists believe wholeheartedly in their own generation’s ability and promise to make the world a better place. Finalist Jessica Lynn Lane stated, “Today, more than ever, we need to inspire and empower rising generations to make a positive change.”
From left to right: Jessica Lynn Lane, Adam Dunn.
From left to right: Christina Ong, Sneha Jayaprakash.
Several projects focus on the health care sector. “Factors such as distance, money and connections should never be a hindrance,” explained contestant Gin Cheng. “Everyone deserves to live a healthy life.”
From left to right: Gin Cheng, Audrey Scagnelli, Bryan Ngo.
From left to right: Swetha Pasala, Morgan Brand.
We’ll announce the winners in the first week of July, so check back then to see if your favorite project won.