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Black History Month Pay It Forward Challenge: Recognizing students making a difference (Part 2)

By: Google Students
Date: Monday, March 11, 2019

In honor of Black History Month, Google hosted a Pay It Forward Challenge to recognize Black student leaders who are advancing opportunities for their local communities. After receiving so many submissions we’re excited to share the work of the students below and hope you’ll be inspired by their stories. Stay tuned for more features over the next few weeks!

Abdullaah Robins

Abdullaah is student at Boston University and teaches 3rd and 5th graders in Boston Public Schools coding and robotics. “I teach the 3rd graders ‘scratch’ which is an elementary coding language to start with and learn basic engineering principles. For the 5th graders, I teach them more complex engineering principles with the Lego EV3 robots which allow the students to build mechanical engineering skills and programming skills. As a STEM Instructor, I have the ability to inspire young students and prepare them for careers in STEM.”

Alongside teaching, Abdullaah also serves on the executive board for BU NSBE and the organizing board for the annual conference, BUNITED.

 Abdullaah’s advice to others
“When deciding on what you want to do or what initiative you want to take, look towards the things that bother you — those are the things you will be more passionate about and more times than not those things bother others in the community.”

What inspires Abdullaah about Black History Month
“Apart from the history I’m focused on creating meaningful dialogue on improving and advancing as a community which means having purposeful conversations about issues in the community and finding creative ways to push Black advancement in marginalized spaces.”

Miriam Duen 

Miriam is currently attending North Carolina Central University where she dedicates her time to improving her community as well as the lives of her fellow student athletes. Miriam focuses on educating and empowering student athletes at her school and community centers by helping create internship and job opportunities for student-athletes and teaching the importance and ability to excel both as a scholar and athlete.

“I have helped build houses, plant trees, clean up trash, and teach the Durham community. I have spoken with kids on what it’s like to attend college as well as how to excel as a student athlete. I have devoted my time to giving back to the community through various programs such as the Ronald McDonald Charity House, Durham Boys and Girls Club, Seeds Local Garden, and the Durham Rescue Mission. I would just like people to see the importance of peer to peer mentoring.”

Miriam’s advice to others
“It starts with you. Give back as much as you can, doing whatever you can.  It doesn’t matter if people do not believe in your dream — believe in your own dreams and work towards them. It’s the little things that matter most.”

George Hofstetter

George is currently a student at Menlo College. He uses both his technical and public speaking skills to aid and educate his community.

“I created an app called CopStop, inspired by Trayvon Martin. This app’s purpose is to inform users how to behave when interacting with police officers, and sends your location to an emergency contact when you get pulled over. Throughout the development of this application I’ve spoken to civil rights attorneys, civil rights activists, sociologists, and the commanding staff of multiple police departments. A year after the app was accepted into the app store, I was invited to speak at Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights camp in South Florida to over 300 youth of color. After the camp I got to meet Trayvon’s mom, Sybrina Fulton, and the first thing she did was give me the warmest hug. She shared words of encouragement that I’ll hold close for the rest of my life and that motivation is what drives me to create real change through technology.”

What inspires George about Black History Month

“The concept of Afro-Futurism has been on my mind as of recently. It’s a complex term that some have trouble defining but I explain Afro-Futurism as a mentality — looking into the future with a focus on Black inclusion, technology, and the heights we as a community can reach. I describe the afro-futurist mentality as understanding that to truly pay homage to your ancestors you need to be a disruptive innovator of the future and abandon trying finding comfort in the past. Afro-Futurism is designing your future with the absence of discrimination and society’s stereotypes. That’s a future worth working towards.”

Kehinde Totoola

Kehinde is currently attending QueenMaris College and using the knowledge he is acquiring to give back by teaching classes to those who may not be able to afford them otherwise.

“I am always passionate in helping other people learn better which led to my activities engaging young teenagers (living in low income areas) into the tech world by providing coding classes to them at their schools or any other open center conducive for learning. This was achievable with the support of an organization, TeensCanCode, whose main goal is to provide technology to everyone.”

Kehinde has been able to reach over 300 students across 9 schools in his community. “These teenagers can now build a complete website from scratch — that’s my JOY.”

Kehinde’s advice to others:
“Someday is not a day of the week.”

 

Click HERE to read the original Google Student Blog.

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