Ritenour junior seeks to help fellow students
New non-profit encourages students to achieve goals, make a difference
By Nicholas Elmes
Ritenour High School junior Daniel Carroll wants his fellow classmates to succeed in life.
To achieve that goal he has, with the help of a program called Whatever It Takes, created a new non-profit aimed at giving students the tools they need to do so.
“There are a lot of really smart kids at school, but in a lot of cases they don’t understand how to direct their energy,” he said, explaining that his new nonprofit, Determined World Action, reaches sixth, seventh and eighth grade students through a web-based portal. “It is geared towards helping kids who are not being taught everything they need at home. It gives them tools and tips which will help guide them to know how to achieve greatness. It is designed to benefit the kids, the teachers and the school system.”
Carroll said he had worked closely with teachers and administrators at Ritenour and area elementary and middle schools to develop the web portal.
“This program is geared to help our kids grow, learn and become the great kids we know they are by exposing our kids to the positive things that are out there in the world that nobody cares to notice, while at the same time teaching them things that are sometimes missed or not taught at home,” he said.
The site offers students a variety of challenges, offering them the chance to earn badges after uploading proof they have completed the challenges.
“The challenges are fun things for the students to do that will help their home life, school life, and community,” said Carroll. “When a student completes a challenge they can submit it to us and be shown on our thank you wall of kids, giving them recognition for the good things they do.”
The web portal also has pages focused on exposing students to positive news, action tips for achieving goals, cool things to learn about the world, inspirations to get them motivated, and a “Watch Outs” page to provide recommendations on things for students to be careful of as they move into higher grades.
“There have been a lot of incidents where the school has to make up for a lot of things that should be learned and taught at home, therefore this will help eliminate that problem by keeping kids from doing or going towards the things they should avoid,” said Carroll, noting that he touches base with area teachers on a weekly basis to see what they would like to have added to the portal. “I am also trying to make an app for it, and am thinking about making a book from it as well for students who do not have access to the internet.”
Carroll said the new portal is currently largely focused on students who will eventually be attending Ritenour High School, but hopes to be able to expand the program in the future.
“This year is really kind of a beta of the program.” he said, explaining that he is launching the new non-profit after receiving mentorship through the Whatever It Takes program, a non-profit designed to help youth become social entrepreneurs and serve in leadership roles.
“Daniel is a pretty cool kid,” said Whatever It Takes founder Sarah Hernholm. “He has tons of passion and a lot of big ideas.”
She said Whatever It Takes, a national program which has been serving students from 10 different schools in the St. Louis area for the past three years, is designed to give youth like Carroll a place outside of school to get guidance in making their big ideas a reality.
“Our goal is to pull kids off their campus and have teens from different walks of life working together,” she said. “We provided Daniel with the platform, and the space and the connections to launch an idea and then he gets to launch whatever idea he wants. With Whatever It Takes he has access to people who can help him turn that idea into a reality, to help him with brainstorming, and to provide an incubator for his ideas. Determined World Action is still in the infancy stages. This year is going to be a big year for his enterprise. I am really excited that it has happened.”
Carroll said he hopes the new web-portal will provide similar help and inspiration for all the students who will use it this year.
“It is there to help kids who don’t have the help they need,” he said.
To access Determined World Action visit http://dwaaction.wixsite.com/school. To learn more information about Whatever It Takes, visit http://www.doingwit.org.