Mentoring Group Led by Pitt and Duquesne Students Wins Changemaker Competition
PITTSBURGH (Dec. 17, 2019) — “To cultivate and develop male-identifying black youth into realizing they are Future Kings — young, successful leaders in their careers, in their communities, and in their worlds.”
That is the mantra and mission statement for Future Kings Mentoring, the brainchild of Swanson School of Engineering students Terrell Galloway and Isreal Williams and Sean Spencer, a Duquesne University student studying journalism and web design. The group’s idea is one of 30 winning projects in the Changemaker Competition, sponsored by T-Mobile in partnership with Ashoka. Participants range in age from 13 to 23 and seek to drive social change in technology, the environment or education.
The team’s goal is to address the crippling psychological effects on black men that stem from a history of slavery, Jim Crow-era laws and mass incarceration. They believe that by mentoring young, black, male-identifying students, they can stop the cycle by encouraging them and showing that they are capable of great success.
“At some point in our early lives, we found ourselves in situations that exposed the harsh realities of our society. Some hardships are watching the kids we play with go to jail at young ages and being afraid during daily activities in our own neighborhoods,” says Galloway, who is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School. “Thankfully, we found spaces that gave us hope for the future by showing us better than the struggles we knew.”
“We are anomalies and our stories are not the norm for others with our background. Future Kings Mentoring exists to be that greater place in the Pittsburgh community to make our experience the standard,” adds Williams, who is studying industrial engineering. “We want to reject the narrative handed to us, and leave a legacy of hope, opportunity, and holistic wellness.”
The team hopes that by will be able to begin recruitment efforts in the Pittsburgh area by Summer 2020, looking to establish partnerships with local organizations.
The 30 winning Changemaker teams receive a trip to the Changemaker Lab at the T-Mobile Headquarters in Seattle for a two-day workshop in February 2020, where they will receive mentorship, seed funding, training and support to make their ideas a reality.
“I’ve worked with Terrell and Isreal through the INVESTING NOW program and can’t communicate how proud I am of them,” says Steven Abramowitch, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering. “All three of these young men are doing amazing things, and I’m excited to watch their successes grow.”
Contact: Maggie Pavlick