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Pando Project 2011


What is Pando?

Pando is a nonprofit that empowers people to step up as leaders and develop new, local solutions to the problems in their communities.

Who will use Pando?

Pando will accept applications from any American over the age of 18. However the target demographic is Millennials – young people born between 1980 and 1994. Extensive research indicates that Millennials have big ambitions to make a positive impact on the world, but are bored by traditional volunteer programs. Pando is the first service platform that meets their unique needs and interests, incorporating technology, localism, innovation, social networking, and the ability to scale successful ideas.

What Does Pando Offer?

Pando accepts applications from people with project ideas. When selected, emerging leaders receive:

  1. Tools – A customizable website with tools to help execute the project, including tools to: (i) raise money, (ii) manage volunteers, (iii) organize events, (iv) share their experience and results.
  2. Guidance – A mentor to help them set goals, execute their plans and meet challenges along the way.
  3. Promotion – Communication and promotion through the Pando website, allowing the project idea to spread to other communities.

What is Our Vision?

At Pando, we believe that ordinary people have the ability to do extraordinary things to help tackle national and global challenges. We simply want to make the process easier! By providing tools and support for people with ideas, we hope to empower Americans to change the world, one project at a time.

Help Us Grow

Pando launched a pilot in February 2011 with a basic Proof of Concept website. We wanted to test out our idea to see if we could help people execute meaningful grassroots projects. We made mistakes but learned a LOT, and now have amazing/inspiring success stories that show our concept works. (We also got good press!) We are now raising the money and building the team we need to take Pando to the next level.

If you believe in our cause, join our team! We need lots of help to grow. We need:

  • Start-up capital
  • Volunteers/visionaries to help us grow
  • Film-makers and photographers to document the pilot
  • Advisers that specialize in grassroots organizing, leadership development, civic engagement, business development, fundraising, or marketing


We have selected 15 amazing New Yorkers with ideas for grassroots projects that will create change within NYC. These projects will be carried out in February-May 2011. They will use our digital platform to execute their ideas. Drumroll, please!


Hannah Jo Brandt

Express Yourself: Art classes for kids

The issue: Federal education budgets have cut art programs across the country. Many kids no longer have an opportunity to express themselves through art.

Hannah is a 23-year old artist. She is starting a project to give young children an opportunity to express themselves through art. She will organize a weekly after-school art class at University Heights Charter School, which does not have an art program. From group projects and murals to individual artistic exploration, students will learn that there is no right or wrong way to create art. Her project will run for 2-3 months and help third and fourth graders learn the importance of self-expression, community building and acceptance.

Sean Alday

Artists of all Stripes: Art classes for young patients at NY Presbyterian Hospital

The issue: Young patients in hospitals do not have access to fun, holistic programs.

Sean is a 22-year old writer living in Brooklyn. Diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 15, he sometimes found himself in the hospital with no idea of how he got there. Sean is starting a project to offer art classes for kids at NY Presbyterian Hospital. Over 2-3 months, he and several trained artists will organize art classes to help the kids express themselves through art and make their hospital experience easier.


Jodi Tatum

Confidence through Creativity: Using dance and choreography to develop confidence in school children.

The issue: Many kids grow up idolizing celebrities or powerful, rich individuals without realizing their own potential for greatness.

Jodi is a 22-year old trained dancer who studied Philosophy at Fordham University. Jodi’s project will offer after-school dance and choreography classes for kids in a low-income community in NYC. Over 2-3 months, Jodi will help the kids choreograph their own dance and hold a performance to showcase what they’ve choreographed before friends and family. The goal for the project is to build each child’s confidence in his or her own ability to create something unique and beautiful that adds value to society.

Shawn Chandler

Frat Boyz of Rochdale Village: Mentorship program for at-risk teenagers

The issue: There is no formal program to support the male, at-risk teenagers in the Rochdale Village housing cooperative.

Shawn has lived in the Rochdale Village housing cooperative for over 25 years. As a certified teacher, he has worked to educate and mentor the youth in his community. His goal is to create a formal program for these young men, because many of them are at-risk, living with a single parent. Shawn is currently helping 20 youth, but their community room is empty and the project lacks funding. Shawn hopes to raise money to purchase furniture, a television projector, and a smart board, which he will use to enrich the mentorship program and create a fraternity to support the young men.


Jermel Royal

A Gift of Love: Delivering free household items to victims of domestic violence

The issue: Many victims of domestic violence want to leave their abusers, but lack the furniture and appliances they need to start a new life.

Jermel is a second year student at the Hunter College School of Social Work. He is starting “A Gift of Love” to provide 12 adult victims of domestic violence with free recycled furniture, appliances and other household goods. He will find these items on Craigslist and work with a team of volunteers to deliver them to victims who are ready to transition out of abusive environments. He will also refer them for career and educational counseling. He hopes that these gifts will encourage them to transition out of their abusive environments and start new lives.


Ashley Williams

Battle of the Books: Fun reading program for kids in West Harlem.

The issue: Too often urban public schools do not offer the high quality, academic after school programs that its students need to enrich their curriculum and stimulate learning.

Ashley is a 20-year old junior at Columbia University. As a child, she participated in a competitive reading incentive program, called Battle of the Books. She has started the program at a West Harlem elementary school to promote 4th and 5th graders’ excitement about reading. The students the chance to read challenging books, engage in friendly competition, and become excited about reading. Columbia students are volunteers, or coaches, for each team..

Sherill-Marie Henriquez

Bounce School: Empowering young leaders to advocate social justice

The issue: Students in urban public schools are often taught one perspective of history and are rarely encouraged to question its accuracy.

Sherill-Marie is a sophomore at Columbia University. Growing up, she felt that the young people in her neighborhood were not motivated to question what they were taught about the nation, society, or their history. She started Bounce School to empower high school students by helping them see history as just that – a story, the details and interpretation of which are as dependent upon the listener as they are on the story-teller. At Bounce School, students become the storytellers as they compare documents, examine the relationship between social and political developments, and finally, add their own experiences into the mix.

Tanea Lunsford

I Am From: Storytelling to help teenagers find pride in who they are and where they come from

The issue: Teenagers from “forgotten” neighborhoods have important ideas and perspectives, but their voices are not heard.

Tanea is a sophomore at Columbia University. Growing up in a forgotten neighborhood, she often felt frustrated by the conditions in her community and her inability to voice her ideas and perspective. For her project, she is starting a series of writing workshops for high school students from disadvantaged neighborhoods. The 9-week program is designed to help students find their voice and share their experiences before their families, community members and local officials.


Stephanos Koullias

Community Plot Restoration: Improving a community garden in the Bronx

The issue: The Two Coves Community Garden in Queens provides local produce for hundreds of residents, but is difficult to navigate and use.

Stephanos is a 31-year old environmental activist with a focus on food. He is active with the Two Coves Community Garden, located in a “food desert” in Queens. Besides this garden, the community has no easy access to seasonable, local produce that is sustainably grown. For his project, Stephanos is going to restore the garden by mobilizing nearby residents to build raised garden beds that clearly demarcate produce. Aside from making structural improvements to the Community Garden, his goal is to demonstrate a model for community gardens that can be replicated on vacant land, particularly in low-income areas with public housing.

Ying Guo

Growing Gardens Growing Kids: Classes to teach kids how to grow their own fresh produce

The issue: Many children growing up in South Bronx don’t understand where their food comes from and have never even tasted fresh fruit and vegetables.

Ying is a 23-year old Community Healthcorps (Americorps) member. For her project she will help kids start a community garden in the South Bronx. Her goal is to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables, provide hands-on learning so they understand where food comes from, and to teach them nutrition and healthy habits.


Jazzmine Clark-Glover

I Care 4 Me: Seminar series to help black women take care of their physical, mental and spiritual health

The issue: African American women suffer disproportionately from HIV, cancer, heart disease and other health problems.

Jazzmine Clarke-Glover is 28 and currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Social Work and Public Health. She has come to realize that Black women are socialized to take care of others before they take care of themselves, which often leads to serious health problems. She is starting the Icare-4-ME Network to empower Black Womento make themselves their #1 priority. Through a seminar series and support network, Jazzmine will help Black women to take care of their spiritual, physical and mental health needs.

Roy Gordillo

Campaign Against Diabetes: Workshops to help Latinos in the Bronx live healthier lifestyles

The issue: 8% of the U.S. population has diabetes. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is 1.5 times higher in Latinos than non-Latino whites.

Roy is a 28-year old dietician who recently graduated from Queens College. For his project, he will organize 3 free workshops for Latinos in the Bronx, who are at high-risk of diabetes. The first workshop will focus on nutrition and health, the second will educate the group about diabetes, and the third will teach people easy exercises that they can do in their homes in order to stay in shape. His goal is to help low-income Latinos to eat healthier foods and live a healthier lifestyle. This project will launch in May 2011.


Joyce Chen

Open Sight: Helping immigrant children experience & understand American culture

The issue: The children in New York’s Chinatown are rarely exposed to other cultures or traditions. Many have never even been outside of Chinatown.

Joyce is a sophomore at New York University. Having grown up as a first-generation Taiwanese-American, she knows how hard it is to immigrate to the U.S. as a child. For her project, she is organizing weekly afterschool workshops for kids in Chinatown, helping them to experience the food, music, art, and history of different cultures. Not only will she help the kids understand American culture, but she will help them develop an understanding of the world and of their own identity.


Natasha Dillon

Guiding Proud: Connecting LGBT youth with role models

The issue: While society is hard for all teens, life is particularly difficult for LGBTQ teens. Many face severe stresses in their lives, whether it be bullying, harassment, or thoughts of suicide.

Natasha is a 26-year old student and activist that advocates for LGBT rights, protection, and equality. She is starting a project to match 5 to 7 LGBT teenagers with LGBT adults, who have faced the same adversities and have overcome them to become strong, self-confident adults. There will be a monthly group outing. Her goal is to connect the youth with role models that can help them find strength and confidence.


Sekai Farai

Hack/Change: Training adults in Harlem to be computer programmers that support local businesses

The issue: There is a technological gap for low-income adults in Harlem.

Sekai is a 28-year old cultural anthropologist funded to study startups and the tech community in NYC. She is starting Hack/Change, an intensive 3-month boot camp to train Harlem residents to become professionally proficient as Ruby on Rails programmers. Not only will participants learn broadly-marketable skills, but they will also be matched with low-income entrepreneurs and startups who need basic websites. Her goal is to train 30 low-income young adults to be programmers and connect them with their first job opportunities, creating a cycle of economic vitality and entrepreneurship.

If you have any questions, please ask below!