Think Tank 2019

Congratulations are in order!

Earlier this month, Promise Corps hosted the 4th annual Think Tank event, where teams of students presented solutions to a challenge they consistently face in their community. Students are encouraged to create and present with a team of their peers and share in front of a panel of judges and general audience members. This year’s teams featured students from each of the high schools hosting Promise Corps teams: Overbrook High School, High School of the Future, Sayre High School and West Philadelphia High School.

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Regional Administrator of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Joseph DeFelice, kicked off the event with welcoming remarks and generous appreciation for the students leading the event that not only took time out of their day off to share their ideas but also stepped up to share their insightful ideas and perspectives.

Over the past four years, Think Tank presentations have focused on a wide array of topics, including local and national human trafficking, improved rec centers, water access and powerful programming for cancer patients. This year, unbeknownst to each other, every team presented on a topic related to education.

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Students shared solutions to challenges they face during, after and beyond their typical school day experiences. One team’s desire for healthier lunches included photographs of examples of their meals at school; audience members had to guess what type of food was being served. If you remember the popular meme going around last year of the black or blue dress – there was division over a photo of extremely under-cooked pizza and various suggestions on what it might be!

Several other teams presented their ideas for extracurricular activities and after school programming, highlighting a need for classwork and projects that reflect budgeting and lessons on financial planning. One team highlighted a significant need for class time dedicated to social skill building and support. A student shared, “We’re constantly told not to fight but we’re never told how to manage our anger or how to better resolve issues. I know there are better ways because fighting isn’t the answer, but I don’t know what the other way is.”

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Promise Corps would like to thank all of the students that presented their solutions and represented their high schools, and our panel of local professionals that provided feedback and comments to each team including: Eva Gladstein, Deputy Managing Director of Health and Human Services for the City of Philadelphia; Dan Schupsky, Outreach Specialist for West Philadelphia, Philadelphia Water Department; Rachel Viddy, Project Director, West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood, Drexel University; and Wes Somerville, Director of the LenFest Foundation.

Be on the lookout for the 5th anniversary of Think Tank next spring!

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