Step Up Loudoun Youth Competition encourages middle and high school youth across the county to identify an issue in their school, neighborhood or community, create a plan to address that issue, and implement the plan. The goal is to encourage, support and reward the youth of Loudoun County for making positive changes in their own lives and the lives of others.
YOU can make a difference! On April 5th, Loudoun Youth, Inc. narrowed down a field of 63 teams consisting of more than 200 students at the 8th Annual Step Up Loudoun Youth Competition, inviting the top ten teams to return and compete on April 12th for cash prizes. All ten teams presented their projects to a panel of judges to compete for places 1-10. First place finisher received $1,000, 2nd place $700, 3rd place $400, and teams 4-10 each received $200. Loudoun Youth Inc., Loudoun County Parks, Recreation and Community Services present the Step Up Loudoun Youth Competition annually in partnership with the Youth Advisory Council and Loudoun County Public Schools. Step Up is sponsored by YouthQuest Foundation.
Congratulations to all the young leaders who participated in this event! Top Ten Teams:
- FIRST Princess Packages Lina Alkarmi and Shahlaley Nagra developed a program to combat loneliness and self-confidence issues in young girls in hospitals by creating packages to help them feel like princesses. Dominion & Heritage High Schools
- SECOND Nothing’s ImPASTAble Tutoring/Mentoring Program Manali Gantaram and Umika Tunuguntla developed a tutoring and mentoring program for elementary school students to help them build self-confidence while assisting them with their academics and building relationships. Rock Ridge High School
- THIRD Citizenship Coach Ari Dixit developed an app to help people who are in the process of becoming US citizens by creating a program for them to prepare for the citizenship test and interview. The program is free and available to all on Google Assistant. Brambleton Middle School
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand Giovanni Cianciaruso and Daniel Shelton fundraised for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation so they can provide funding for research and financial aid to families that can’t afford their child’s cancer treatment. Woodgrove High School
- Bridges David Pham Tran, Ericka Torres, Kassandra Rosas, Lisbeth Ramirez, Mamona Raja and Rubby Bonilla designed an app to send out messages to ELL students; created advocacy groups and created school bonding events to combat the existing divide between ELL and fluent English speakers at Park View High School. Park View High School
- COBRA: Cancer Onslaught By Raising Awareness Akash Pamal, Bhavya Sethi, Ria Sharma, Ronit Sharma, Sai Thanneeru and Shrinath Iyer increased community awareness about cancer by outreach in schools, through the pathways of social media, direct communication with peers, and by organizing awareness events. They also created a mobile app to inform the people about cancer causing foods. Eagle Ridge, Stone Hill & Trailside Middle Schools, Briar Woods High School
- Knobesity Vishana Baskaran created awareness about obesity and how to prevent it by promoting healthy eating, lifestyle, and exercise. Mercer Middle School
- Kolors 4 Kids Laasya Doppalapudi and Madhuri Sosale educated people on how they can help the environment by recycling art supplies the proper way. They collected over 10,000 art supplies to donate to those less. Belmont Ridge & Eagle Ridge Middle Schools
- LoudounX Zain Ali created a website for high school students to collaboratively connect and find opportunities such as internships, volunteering, competitions, and other resources. Rock Ridge High School
- NEST Nurtures Esha Venkat, Nikhita Kalisipudi, Shreyaa Venkat and Tanmai Kalisipudi spread awareness about food waste in the community using social media and a dedicated website. They cooked surplus food into nutritious meals and donated them for those in need. Over 100 volunteers work with NEST and they learned JAVA to develop their own app. Farmwell Station & Belmont Ridge Middle Schools and Riverside & Broad Run High Schools
2017 Top Ten:
- Clean Up Beaverdam Creek Reservoir (Rock Ridge High School): an ongoing effort to clean up and raise awareness of Beaverdam Reservoir
- Be Me For a Day (Broad Run High School): creates “a day in the life” videos to assist high school students and adults in choosing a profession
- *First Place* – Call of Security (Rock Ridge High School): develops a free machine to combat cyber threats
- *Third Place* – Clean Kits (John Champe High School): collects hygiene and sanitary products for homeless women in Loudoun County
- Environment Rescuers (Rock Ridge High School): educates and raises money to understand the water crisis around the world and make long-lasting changes
- Every Voice Heard (Harper Park Middle School): creates a website to address depression and suicide, where individuals can share their stories
- Loudoun Purity (Eagle Ridge and Stone Hill middle schools): raises money through a 3K run for hygiene kits for the residents of the Leesburg Homeless Shelter
- Personal Teach (Stone Hill Middle School): a program that helps students combat low academic proficiency
- *Second Place* – Put It Down! (Eagle Ridge, Mercer and Stone Hill middle schools): raises awareness about the dangers of distracted driving
- UnSalted (Riverside High School): creates an app that provides tools to help high school students cope with and decrease stress
ALL Step Up participants are not only the leaders of the future, but young leaders of today. For more information and photos on Step Up Loudoun Youth, find us on Facebook.
History and Description
The program was started in 2004 as a way for youth to speak out about issues they observed in their schools and communities. Over the years, it has evolved to allow youth an opportunity not only to speak out but also to have an impact on the issues they find pressing.
Starting in October, program coordinators visit local middle and high schools to promote the competition to guidance counselors, teachers and students. At the end of the competition period, youth showcase their projects to each other, judges and the local community. All projects are recognized in some way, but the top ten win cash prizes.
Issues Identified by Youth
- internet safety
- teen dating
- stress management
- teen pregnancy
- academic pressure
- self esteem
- cancer support
- drunk driving
- elder support
- endangered species
Help us recognize and support the incredible youth of Step Up Loudoun Youth Competition
To help Loudoun Youth Inc. continue to bring Step Up and other programs to our youth, learn about our sponsorships.