Lancaster sponsors talent

Marianne Caesar
Staff Writer

Encouraging students to use innovative thinking, Millersville University also sponsors events youth in the community to challenge themselves and broaden the way they think. This will be put to the test the evening of April 28 at the Ware Center when Global Shapers will host its first Lancaster Youth Innovation Challenge and Summit.

Participants will include children from The Mix at Arbor Place, Children Deserve a Chance, and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Lancaster. Through help from the nonprofit organization ASSETS, city youth will be able to pitch ideas aimed at solving community problems with creative methods.

The Ware center will be the site of the first Shaping Lancaster Innovation Summit, where community youth will come together to pitch their ideas to address community problems. (Photo courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org)
The Ware center will be the site of the first Shaping Lancaster Innovation Summit, where community youth will come together to pitch their ideas to address community problems. (Photo courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org)

“Not to give away the best parts of their presentations, but students are addressing issues such as child hunger, bullying, teen pregnancy, and anxiety,” said Ismael Smith-Wade-El, a mentor from ASSETS. “Now, we’re only going to see the three of four best pitches at the Summit on the 28th, but know that these kids are pursuing a variety of issues with energy.”

Global Shapers Lancaster Hub is a subgroup of the World Economic Forum, encouraging a focus on professionalism and entrepreneurship in communities. By allowing city youth to have an outlet for their creativity, there is an open dialogue from those living among the problems to accurately describe the reality of challenges ongoing while finding ways to create solutions.

Meeting weekly since February, the teams have been able to collaborate to create their ideal pitches to present for the Summit. In addition to this, students will be able to speak with young professionals as well as various community leaders as they discuss ways to improve upon challenges faced by the community.
Having identified issues valued by the students, the teams then learned how to create a business pitch. Through guidance from ASSETS, the students learned about the breakdown of a business plan, exploring ideas, the targeted audiences and how to distinguish their products from others.

Students have been working in teams since February to learn about entrepreneurship and apply it to bettering their communities and making a difference. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)
Students have been working in teams since February to learn about entrepreneurship and apply it to bettering their communities and making a difference. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

The events keynote speaker for the event will be Omar Woodward, the Executive Director of the GreenLight Fund in Philadelphia.

“There are several plans and commissions currently active, like the City Alliance, and the Commission to Combat Poverty (for which I work), that are developing plans for the next 10, 20, 30 years of Lancaster,” said Smith-Wade-El. “Bringing youth voices like these into the conversation means being honest about who the stakeholders are in our future, getting new perspectives on ideas, and acknowledging, gratefully, that everyone in the community has something to offer.”

Interested individuals can register for free to attend the event by visiting www.shapinglancaster.com, and the event will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ware Center. Presenting innovative thinking, the event is a good opportunity to network with professionals and youth while becoming an interactive part of the Lancaster community.