YRPC Takes Second Place in DemocraSeed Pitch Day
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Young River People’s Council participated in the DemocraSeed Pitch Day event, hosted by Arizona State University on August 24 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.
“DemocraSeed” was created by the Center for the Future of Arizona and Arizona State University’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The goal of the event is to work with youth councils to find ways to help improve civic engagement.
Three youth advisory councils—Lake Havasu’s Youth Advisory Council, SRPMIC’s Young River People’s Council and the Surprise Youth Advisory Council—took part in the event, which was also a competition. The youth presented their civic-engagement projects to a panel of judges at the Arizona League of Cities and Towns Annual Conference. The groups had about 15 minutes each to present their project and vie for grant money to implement their project. The group looks to the youth advisory councils to come up with innovative ideas—for example, teacher pay, littering and managing healthy relationships.
The Lake Havasu Youth Advisory Council won first place, receiving $750. Salt River’s YRPC placed second, earning $500. The Surprise Youth Council placed third and received $350 to implement their project.
The youth councils were encouraged to focus on three areas when choosing an issue:
Innovation: Demonstrate a compelling need for the innovative concept and explain the idea clearly and concisely.
Impact: Understand the expected impact for the idea and create metrics to evaluate success.
Implementation: Projects need to provide a feasible timeline, potential challenges and solutions, explanation of who is working on the project and an appropriate budget.
Throughout the month of June, the Young River People’s Council prepared their big pitch for the DemocraSeed event. The YRPC chose littering for their topic and promoted Neighborliness in the Community, which would be achieved by organizing a Community Cleanup. The group focused on removing graffiti, spreading awareness and helping set up a future date for a community cleanup.
“We thought [of] a small cleanup crew with Community members, Youth Council members, non-Community members and team members from DemocraSeed to try and create consideration and sympathy on teaching people about the Community and not to dump on our land. There are people who live here, and we have beliefs,” said Nate Lopez, a member of the YRPC. “It was tough trying to figure out what were going to do. There were major issues that we wanted to touch on. … We were able to make a presentation and a 12-minute speech, along with [answering] questions from the panel of judges.”
Along with Lopez was YRPC member Mikah Carlos, who also helped present at the event.
There will be more DemocraSeed events to come in the future. “I am more than sure we will place again. I was nervous to talk in front of the crowd, but it was an amazing experience,” said Lopez.