Every year, Promise Corps holds an event called “Think Tank,” where teams of students from each of our schools present an issue in their communities and a solution that addresses it. This year, Think Tank was held at a former bank turned community space on Lancaster Ave. in West Philadelphia on April 13.
CCAs supported each of the four teams for months prior to the event, supporting students with topics such as increasing accessible community spaces in the neighborhood, increasing technical education for high school students, creating a peer-to-peer mentorship program, and increasing extracurricular clubs and activities for students.
Panelists were invited from various industries throughout Philadelphia, including representatives from Philadelphia Bike Works, The Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, Lutheran Settlement House, The William Penn Foundation, the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, and a member of State Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown’s staff. Each student team had five minutes to present their problem and solution to the panelists, who then had five minutes to ask questions of the teams.
West Philadelphia High School’s team presented on their plan to create a peer-to-peer mentorship program, which would connect the special and general education students at their schools. Sayre High School addressed the need for more extracurricular activities physically held at their school, and even surveyed their fellow students to see what type of activities would be most attended, with music production being the most popular answer. School of the Future addressed their peers increased interest in technical education and the practicality it provides with the increasing costs of college. Overbrook provided a detailed plan for upgrades to Tustin Community Center, which sits right across the street from their school.
Feedback for the teams focused not only on their proposals and the plausibility of their plans, but on the students’ presentation skills as well. CCAs spent a great deal of time with students prior to the event, ensuring they felt comfortable presenting, and it showed. The students knew their presentations front to back, answered on-the-spot-questions with poise, and handled themselves with great confidence.
The event went off without a hitch, and allowed for students to practice research and presentation skills, and network with local professionals who can help see these plans into action.