Submitted by Julie Murphy, Director of Mentoring, Teens Dream

Now that we have our amazing 2016 winners of our annual Teens Dream video contest, it is time to begin to match each winner with a mentor in his or her field of interest.   I will be working to identify experts in each of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals who are willing to assist these young dreamers in the pursuit of their passions.

Teens Dream has connected winners to many mentors as you can see on our mentor page.  For example, 2015 winner AJ Tabura had his fabulous video on the stigma of mental illness featured by the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) through its social media communications.  See Aj’s video testimonial on our mentor page about the impact of this relationship.

This year, we have a wide variety of exemplary ambitions among our winners:

Charlie Werner and Harrison Segal – California USA: “Our dream is to encourage people to pick up one piece of trash a day, which would have a massive impact on our environment. This video raises awareness about how the environment is affected by people littering, especially in coastal areas.”

Austin Anthony Cofrancesco – Connecticut USA: “My dream is to create peace and justice between police forces and citizens. I want my dream to come true because there are so many stories about how black people are being treated wrongly by police.”

Sophia T. Alfred – Maryland USA: “My dream is to help break the shackles of the political, social, and economic inequalities designed to censor creativity and block potential by entertaining (creating music and dancing to it).  I hope to give young people everywhere the inspiration, motivation, and support to nationalize and globalize their culture and voice.”

Adrianna Rosario – Georgia USA: “My dream is to improve education, beginning with my community. There are many ways education fails students of varying learning-types, but I think the solutions are out there.”

Henry Max Paterson – New Zealand: “My dream is to get New Zealand’s rivers back up to the standard they were twenty years ago.  Our rivers are filled with high levels of Nitrates and E. Coli, and over 90% of our low lying rivers are classified as polluted so few of our rivers are now swimmable with most completely dried up.”

Sanjana Shah – California USA: “My dream is to use my technical skills to bridge the gender gap, so that girls are not under-represented in the programming field.  I started mentoring young girls when I was in my middle school and I feel that by doing that, I have the potential to make a difference.”

Elena Beer – London, UK: “My dream is to save the environment by means of responsible consumption and production. The steps are little for the average person yet with everyone taking them, the staircase leads us to a much healthier world!”  Elena is also our grand prize winner!

William Boucher and Ronan Geoffrey – France: “Our dream is that one day, there will be zero food waste. This dream is connected to the twelfth sustainable development goal, responsible consumption and production as responsible consumption means zero food waste.”

Elizabeth Dearden-Williams – London UK: “My dream is that inequality in the world and the focus on our differences will be reduced to such a level that peace, nonviolence and justice will come more naturally to us as world citizens.”

Teens Dream will be working with each of these winners to determine just what he or she needs to take concrete steps toward the realization of his or her dream and then to identify potential mentors. For mentors, it can be as simple as an email dialogue or a few Skype interviews between a winner and an expert. Or, in some cases, an in-person meeting can be arranged around our celebration in September. The goal is simply to give each teen an opportunity to become more informed, to build a relationship with those already working in the field, and to explore avenues for furthering his or her dream.

How can you help? Take a look at our winning videos and if you are an individual or organization with expertise in any of the policy areas defined by the SDGs who would like to have a direct impact on the next generation, please contact me at

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