DreamLarge Dedicates Weekend to Empowering the Next Generation of Changemakers

Todays News


Calling on the youth for positive change, DreamLarge Weekends celebrated its first hands-on program this past weekend at The Ringling College Art & Design campus—packed with fun, interconnected activities and thought-provoking challenges. Evolved from the former #SRQHacks Hackathon catalyzed by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, DreamLarge Weekends has focused the original premise with a more philanthropic pursuit. Founder of DreamLarge Anand Pallegar and his team cultivated the weekend to inspire and connect almost 50 students—ranging in grade levels from 8th to 11th and representing both Sarasota and Manatee County schools—to work together in combined efforts to enrich our community and make real social impact. Dr. Laura Kingsley, assistant superintendent of Sarasota County Schools, kicked off Friday evening’s programming by urging the kids to use their heart, as much as their heads this weekend. 

Split at random into six different groups with a paired mentor for guidance—the bright, young changemakers cultivated quirky team names like Team Eggplant and The Royals, before being presented with current challenges by six different local nonprofit organizations. Representatives from JFCS Suncoast, Urbanite Theatre, More Too Life, Hope 4 Communities, Embracing Our Differences, SaraSolo Productions and Mission Neem 5 pitched their cause and mission, before sharing the meaningful challenges they face in the community, and at large, that have yet to be solved. Each group chose the local nonprofit that resonated with them the most, and matched accordingly to collaborate a creative solution to their nonprofit's struggles. The nonprofits called on the young minds for their social innovation and unadulterated perspectives to help issues like raising funds, growing their organization, attracting a younger demographic, spreading education/awareness and elevating user engagement on social media.

CEO and founder of Dealers United, Pete Petersen kept the weekend energetic and entertaining as the motivational MC—getting kids amped with ice-breaking games, outdoor activities and random dance-offs. On Saturday morning’s breakfast, Pallegar hit them with an Albert Einstein scenario, “If you had one hour to save the world, how would you spend that hour?” To which, the Einstein answer remains, “I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and then five minutes solving it.” He reiterated the importance of defining the problem first—looking at it from every angle to consider all its possibilities—instead of jumping to a conclusion. “That’s what this weekend is all about,” Pallegar says, before sending the kids off into their brainstorming workshops with their mentors for the day to dissect their challenge, prototype a plan and incubate a real, actionable solution to present on Sunday’s exciting pitch presentations. The highly-anticipated presentations and awards ceremony included a panel of judges, comprised of local community leaders, business executives and philanthropic influencers, including SRQ Media's very own CEO and President Lisl Liang, to determine the winning team—awarded with (humble) bragging rights and a monetary prize to donate to their designated nonprofit. 

“Through the weekend, we’ve built the next generation of business leaders, CEOs, philanthropists and changemakers,” says Pallegar. “It was an opportunity to inspire the next generation to take a meaningful look at our community—through the lense of our nonprofits, our mentors, our thought leaders and the aspirational careers they represent. We watched as these students collaborated and ideated to create imaginative and impenetrable solutions that can be implemented to make a real impact in the community.”

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s Daily, as SRQ reveals the top two winning teams, their conclusive solutions and the amount of money raised for their chosen nonprofits.

Photo courtesy of DreamLarge.

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