T-Mobile Contest Will Back Teenagers Who Want to Change the World
After students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida sparked massive protests for tighter gun control laws, T-Mobile is looking to help other teens get political to improve their communities.
In the works months before the tragic events at Douglas high school, the wireless carrier on Wednesday unveiled a contest dubbed the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge to encourage students to become active. Any group of kids aged 13 to 23 can apply to the challenge by the end of May with a plan to improve their community. In June, T-Mobile and partner Ashoka, a nonprofit that promotes community action and social entrepreneurship, will select the 25 groups with what they consider the best ideas.
Winners will be flown to Seattle (all expenses paid) for two days of workshops at T-Mobile’s headquarters focused on mentorship and skills development. T-Mobile said it would supply the groups with free devices and seed funding, as well.
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“We’re blown away by the grit and determination of young people who see problems in their schools and communities that need fixing and how they’re leading the way to change,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. “With the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, we want to help bring their best ideas to life.”
The campaign fits with T-Mobile’s brand image of forcing change in the mobile industry. The company has attracted more new customers over the past five years than competitors Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint combined with a strategy of seeking to overthrow consumer-unfriendly practices like two-year contracts. The company ran ads during the Super Bowl touting the power of young people and ending with the tagline: “Change Starts Now. Are You With Us?”
T-Mobile (TMUS) said submitted proposals could address problems big or small and cover areas such as safety, education, poverty, inequality, food and water security, or other topics.