Winner develops app for financial support of high school seniors.
The annual Young Sharks competition created by Dignity of Children and funded by The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) was first held two years ago as a way to inspire an entrepreneurial mindset in middle and high schoolers. Entrepreneurial projects that address social issues are developed and then enter a competition in the vein of Shark Tank. This year’s competition adapted to virtual platforms 24 projects vied for victory in the first round, leaving twelve to compete in the semifinals, which resulted in six finalists.
Middle School Finalists: Girls, Inc. of New York City presented “Love Yourself 2020:A Brand With Your Heart in Mind”; The Child Center of New York, Parson Community School’s offering was “The Bullies Get Bullied App”; and NIA Community Services Network proposed “CyberAdvice: An Anti-Bullying App”.
High School Finalists: CPC Manhattan offered “We Compost NYC”; El Puente Academy for Peace & Justice presented “Air Pocket: A Portable Air Filter”; and St. Nicks Alliance, Greenpoint Beacon’s YMI proposed the winning “P.R.O.M: Raising Senior Dues for Underprivileged Students”.
The High School victory went to the St. Nicks Alliance team, who began work on their winning proposal in February. Their “P.R.O.M: Raising Senior Dues for Underprivileged Students” is an app that gives high school students access to financial relief. It aids them in finding funding expenses for sports and other clubs within the school. Through the development process the team was open to adding elements . For instance, during quarantine, they noticed most of their friends were not able to receive reimbursement from prom and senior trips, so they adapted the app to help raise funds for senior dues for underprivileged students.
St. Nicks Alliance Associate Director of Community Centers, Shaunte Gardener said, “Their hard work paid off! Please join me in congratulating the First Place Winners of the DYCD Young Sharks Finals High School Division the Greenpoint Beacon YMI students Gregorio Coleman, Arisdvai Guzman and Nikauri Martinez. They will receive a cash prize to further their project. With all that is going on in the world today this is some really great news and a testament to the resiliency of our students and the work that you all do on a daily basis.” In addition to her congratulations to the students, Gardener saluted their teachers and mentors (Stacy Diaz, dir. Greenpoint Beacon; Yusuf Gay, assistant dir. and mentor; Kendle Bramble, outreach coordinator and mentor; Nateria Cannon, mentor; Moses Vincent, mentor before quarantine).
This year’s judges came with a broad spectrum of expertise:
Darryl Rattray is the Associate Commissioner for Youth Services and Strategic Partnerships at DYCD, where he has worked for 18 years. Darryl was a key staff member in the development of the Out-of-School Time initiative in 2005, and in 2006, received a New York City Excellence in Technology Award. In 2009, Darryl helped launch the Cornerstone program initiative. He has served New York City communities for over three decades.
David Johnson is vice president in technology sourcing at Barclays. He is responsible for developing, purchasing, and contracting strategies for software and the services attached to it.
Jennifer Joseph: Founder and CEO of Yucca Naturals, an all natural vegan products company.
Joyce Duverce: Joyce is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at DYCD and directly supervises the unit that creates amazing events such as the Young Sharks
Roger Scott is a head of product at Goodnation. In this role he defines and build products, features, and capabilities that optimize philanthropic giving and culture by matching donors with top-performing charities to create real impact.
The St. Nicks Alliance team will receive $1350 to use towards the creation of their app.