“Invent2Prevent” recognized the Baldwin High School’s student advocate organization for their plans to solve civic issues in December.
This year a group of over 30 high school students who aspire to be civic leaders joined together in September 2022 to create the Youth Change Leader Collaborative, The Baldwin High School’s organization which tackles and creates action plans on civic issues, which was recognized for their work and presentations on violence, anti-bullying and, cyber bullying awareness, by “Invent2Prevent,” a national competition which aims to empower schools and students by challenging them to create and implement products, tools, and initiatives to target issues in their communities.
Since Invent2Prevent’s inception in Spring 2021, more than 700 students have participated in teams competing at the high school and collegiate levels for awards of $5,000 for first place; $3,000 for second place; and $1,000 for third place. Top place collegiate-level finishers also have the option to enter into a one-year sustainment program.
Through this new extra-curricular activity, sophomores, juniors and seniors students researched and gathered data on five global issues — gun violence prevention, climate justice, immigration reform, health equity, documentation and journalism — and created a civic action plan.
Despite being new to the challenge, the Baldwin students were recognized with ‘Honorable Mention,’ placing the collaborative in the competition’s top five organizations, beating out dozens of participating advocacy groups, colleges and universities, and high schools.
“I am extremely proud of the YCLC on winning ‘Honorable Mention’ in the national Invent2Prevent Competition,” said Gabriella Franza, assistant director of instructional programs for Baldwin Union Free School District.
Franza said this project was a great example of the Baldwin High School’s student’s fervor for social change and activism. She said students involved in the project collaborated with teachers, business, and other advocacy groups to gather data and create real world solutions to violence.
The school district said students were required to participate in frequent video calls with “Invent2Prevent” staff, and then elected to develop curriculum based on a project, which focused on reducing gun and interpersonal violence, while also producing a 30-page curriculum report, a video about their project, as well as a 10-page research paper. In addition, the students collaborated with mentors from Amazon, Northwell Health, and the Nassau County Bar Association.
“This is a wonderful recognition for our kids who demonstrate passion, commitment, and care for their school and the world around them,” said Neil Testa, principal of Baldwin High School. “They are true leaders in every way, and I am proud and confident to know that their work will make a difference.”
The school district said the youth collaborative will continue their work through afterschool meetings, special events and other projects in conjunction with the district’s School-to-Career program.