Meet Two DoSomething Grant Winners

At DoSomething’s recent Boot Camp, our members presented their ideas to industry professionals and other influential Old People in "speed pitching" sessions. Meet two speed pitching all-stars, who both won $500 grants for their organization.

Diego Mariscal (above) is the founder and president of 2Gether International, which is dedicated to “globally educating youth to break down social barriers between people with disability and people without, emphasizing the importance of disability as part of human diversity.”

Read on to see why the Mexican-born sophomore at American University truly leads his life - and his nonprofit - “with limits but without limitations.”

Tell us about your organization, 2Gether.
We offer educational programs in schools and colleges and talk about the social aspect of disability, whether in relationships or the workplace or friendships. Second, we do activities that simulate what it’s like with a disability, like eating without being able to see or taking public transportation in a wheelchair. Third, we bring schools from different cultures together, so students can see how other cultures perceive disabilities.

What was your favorite part of Boot Camp?
I really liked [CEO Nancy Lublin’s] Branding session. A lot of people thought it would be about creating a logo or a memorable catchphrase. It was more about how to create a company culture, a feeling of commitment to the people who work around you, and how that has a long-lasting impact. Nancy really knows what she’s talking about, and getting to see her in that setting was absolutely amazing.

Shelley Jain, who attends Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, co-founded Students Partnering and Reaching Kids (S.P.A.R.K),  the first and only youth-led movement to advocate for self-improvement and leadership development in New York City Schools.

Tell us about S.P.A.R.K.
We believe that mentoring has a two-fold benefit: raising the self-esteem in both the mentee and the mentor, something we see in both our teens and our kids. The youth empowering youth model makes it powerful and effective, allowing us to spark self-esteem. By training them to be mentors, teens are given a responsibility that gives them a greater purpose. They are also getting the chance to make a powerful impact on somebody's life, which is such an empowering feat. This cycle of empowerment allows our teens and kids to raise their self-esteem- keeping them motivated in school and life.

Tell us about speed pitching during Boot Camp.
I think the biggest thing I learned was to be concise and precise. I really had to think about what could be left out -  it really helped me refine my own goals and mission of the organization. I loved getting to meet so many different experts in their respective fields. I also loved getting to meet and network with other young people who are working on some amazing things - they were so inspiring and helpful!

These young activists have stepped up for other young people. Now it's your turn: join Teens for Jeans. GO