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Posts by Leslie Ponce-Díaz


El Poder de la Comunidad. | Kansas City, KS. | Leslie Ponce-Díaz, BArch/BFA ’23

During my Maharam Fellowship, I had the opportunity to participate in various community events that helped give students in the community academic and health-related resources in preparation for the upcoming school year. Through my community organization, First-Gen Chisme, I participated in three school supply giveaway events with local non-profits/government association: Central Avenue Betterment Association (CABA), El Centro Inc., and the KCK USD 500 School District. First-Gen Chisme successfully gifted over 350+ school supplies including pencils, pens, notebooks, folders with notebook paper, pencil bags, and glue sticks. First-Gen Chisme also gifted stickers and postcards on more information on how First-Gen students in the community can be supported through First-Gen Chisme’s resources.

El Centro is a local non-profit organization located in Kansas City, KS that focuses on “strengthening communities and improving lives of Latinos and others through educational, social, and economic opportunities.” The non-profit organization hosted a vaccine and book bag giveaway to students and families within the Kansas City Metropolitan area. First-Gen Chisme participated by handing out school supplies at their vaccine event. Once students received their vaccine, they were asked to wait 15 minutes and then they received a book bag from El Centro Inc. staff and the First-Gen Chisme school supplies. At the event, we were able to vaccinate 104 individuals from the community. First-Gen Chisme gifted an approximate of 180+ school supplies within the event for K-12 students and their families. There were also opportunities for students to get free hair cuts and food at the back-to-school fair located in Central Middle School in Kansas City, KS.

El Centro Back-to-School Vaccine Event with school supplies giveaway!
I found it amazing to see that the “paletero man (ice-cream man)” played an important role at the event as it caught the attention of many visitors. This has became the branding of First-Gen Chisme as it not only represents my culture but it engages the community through education and design.

Three days after the El Centro’s Vaccine event, the USD 500 KCK Public School District hosted a back-to-school
event with vaccination and free school supply giveaway opportunities. First-Gen Chisme participated by handing out school supplies at their vaccine event. At the event, there were 264 adult and teens that were vaccinated. First-Gen Chisme gifted an approximate of 200+ school supplies within the event for K-12 students and their families. This event was important for Enough is Enough as families got the opportunity to learn more about the initiative as well as get their vaccines and free items to take home. There were a variety of different community organizations that participated to make the event get the attention of the community. The First-Gen Chisme school cart was a great success! It caught the attention of families and they wanted to be a part of getting free school supplies for their families. I was able to hand out all of the supplies I had left from the previous two school supply giveaway events I participated in.

I LOVE this panorama view of the event. It demonstrates how vibrant and successful this event was for the community. It also shows how when people exit the building to the left, they can not help but look at the colorful First-Gen Chisme cart on their way out!

Alongside the public events in collaboration with other organizations and First-Gen Chisme, I initiated various visual arts and community projects to help raise gun violence awareness within my community in Kansas City. I created visual branding and content for Enough is Enough to share on their social media and school wide printed visuals. The visual content provides a youthful invitation to the community to know more of what the initiative is providing for the community. After researching various of gun violence awareness initiatives from #MarchForOurLives and Change The Ref, I realized the importance of creating content that engages in the voices of the youth. At first, I did have difficulty thinking about designing visuals that the school district would like to use within their campaign. Originally I was troubled by the blue ribbon because politically it can symbolize the ‘thin blue line’ visual often seen in relation to police officers. However, I did more research and I realized that the blue ribbon symbol was also a universal image that shows support for child abuse and prevention. I believe that through the inclusion of youth voices and stories, the message will become more clear on what the relations between the blue ribbon and the initiative Enough is Enough. I used already existing visuals of the initiative to create branding that expressed the districts message on gun violence awareness. I realized that the district’s already existing content is: inclusive, representation, bilingual, non-text heavy, and to the point. The district is also known to include blue ribbons around the community on poles and trees that expresses Enough is Enough’s message for gun violence awareness. All of these projects helped me create branding that expressed the work that the initiative is doing for the community.

Every time I go to my nearest library or drive by a school, I always enjoy seeing the blue ribbons tied on trees in the community and I wanted to visualize this through a perspective illustration for the Enough is Enough campaign. The initiative has allowed members from the community to download Enough is Enough Zoom/Laptop backgrounds to show their support towards the initiative in a virtual manner. However, I felt that the backgrounds were missing the community factor that is really needed when raising awareness on violence. I imagined a field of trees with tied abstracted Enough is Enough ribbons on the trunks surrounded by families, youth, and teens having important conversations and sharing a moment of community expressed better what the initiative is doing for the community. All of the graphics I have created include the district’s logo and a QR code that leads individuals to learn more about Enough is Enough.

Downloadable Zoom/Laptop Background created by the district.
Re-imagined Zoom/Laptop Background for Enough is Enough.

I also included this visual on the thank you gifts that I will be gifting to my two supervisors, Sharita and Randy, as a thank you for allowing me to be a part of this great movement within my community. Using my Maharam funding, I purchased a printed tote bag and pencil pouch as well as a small blue bear. This experience has been the most rewarding opportunity in my work as a student architect and community organizer and I am forever grateful for Sharita and Randy’s welcomeness within the initiative.

This internship is stemmed from my passions in helping the upcoming generation of students within my school district. It has been a pleasure not only working on Enough is Enough but also having the opportunity to help through my community organization, First-Gen Chisme. I have been able to brainstorm and re-imagine how First-Gen Chisme can become a physical non-profit space near Central Avenue in Kansas City. How can I continue providing resources for First-Gen students in a sustainable manner within my community? One of my main goals after graduating from RISD is to establish an official non-profit within Kansas City, KS through First-Gen Chisme that supports youth through art, design, advocacy, and education. I believe that the Maharam Fellowship and the B-Lab Venture Program have been great opportunities to engage my community through First-Gen Chisme and the potentials it has in helping the Kansas City, KS community. My involvement within Enough is Enough and First-Gen Chisme has been recognized by The Kansas City Beacon Media through an interview highlighting Enough is Enough and my work within the initiative. The Kansas City Beacon Media isa non-profit online news outlet focused on in-depth journalism in the public interest.

Overall, this summer, I have learned about “El Poder De La Comunidad. — The Power of the Community.” within my Maharam Fellowship as an intern in my past school district, USD 500 KCK, within their initiative Enough is Enough to raise gun violence awareness within the Kansas City, KS community. I have curated a Final Maharam Fellowship Booklet that captures all of the various projects I worked on this summer within my Maharam Fellowship at Rhode Island School of Design and the B-Lab Venture Program at Brown University. The Final Maharam Fellowship Booklet is in both English and Spanish to share with all of my family and friends! The orange cover is in English and the green cover is in Spanish.

English – Final Maharam Fellowship Booklet

Spanish – Final Maharam Fellowship Booklet

Final thanks to all of the RISD Careers Team that helped me out with my application and believed in my vision to help my community! This experience has meant so much to me and I am very thankful for this amazing opportunity. Muchas gracias! Thank you to Enough is Enough, Sharita and Randy, and all of the collaborators located in Kansas City that allowed me to be a part of their amazing community events. I look forward to seeing how my work with First-Gen Chisme can continue to support these great organizations and our Kansas City, KS community.


Reimagining First-Gen Chisme | Kansas City, KS. | Leslie Ponce-Díaz, BArch/BFA ’23

The ice cream cart within First-Gen Chisme plays an important symbol that inspires the work that I do to support First-Generation students. The paletero (ice cream man) always drew the attention within my community with ringing the bells on the ice cream cart. All the kids always ran to the ice cream cart waiting to purchase cold sweets on a hot summer day in Kansas City. This inspired me to merge my cultural background with educational resources to help grab the attention of upcoming students interested in pursuing post-secondary education. This is how First-Gen Chisme was born. I purchased a candy cart on Etsy and spray painted it to match the First-Gen Chisme color branding. I then organized folders and pencil pouches to hand out in various community events. Building the cart to hand out supplies is a poetic act that brings the attention of the youth and excites them for what First-Gen Chisme has to offer.

These are all of the individual pieces that make the First-Gen Chisme cart.
The cart take approximately 2 minutes to disassemble.

La Placita is a bi-monthly Market at Bethany Park. It features vendors, entertainment, and different forms of community organizations. It is organized by CABA, an organization that focuses on community outreach and engagement within Central Avenue located in Kansas City, KS. The Central Avenue Betterment Association (CABA) is committed to a nondiscriminatory approach and provides equal opportunity for participation and advancement in all our areas of activities, programs, events as well as work facilities.

Bethany Park faces Central Avenue Street directly. This is a very popular street where many pass by to shop near the local businesses.

My two cousins, Ashley and Mia, and my brother, Axel, volunteered for community service during the school supply giveaway at the Placita! We handed out school supplies and invited other youth to paint with us at our table. It was a great success and we had lots of fun making art and handing out supplies to families that walked by. We were able to hand out around 15 First-Gen Chisme Plushies, 40 school folders, and 30 pencil pouches.

I will be participating in another school giveaway at Central Middle School with a local non-profit organization, El Centro. El Centro, Inc. focuses on strengthening communities and improving the lives of Latinos and others through educational, social, and economic opportunities. I created four flyers to help promote the event on our social media!

As First-Gen Chisme continues to participate in community events to hand out supplies and talk about educational resources and Enough is Enough, I have begun to ponder on how this work can be sustainable and enhanced within my community in Kansas City, KS. My ultimate goal is to create a non-profit headquarters of First-Gen Chisme located in Kansas City, KS. I would like it to focus on creative arts, design, education, and architecture within the community. As a current teacher’s assistant for DownCity Design and Project Open Door, located in Providence RI, I am inspired to bring in the expression of art and design within my own community. I have realized that my community is a heavily STEM-based environment and not so much attention is given to creative arts or design. In Kansas City, MO, there is a larger opportunity for arts nonprofits, however, I would like to support my own community in Kansas City, KS through the arts because it can be an opportunity for students to reduce stress and violence through creative and artistic expression. Although I am not certain on where I would locate the non-profit, I will be focusing on a proposal site close to Bethany Park in Central Avenue Kansas City, KS. I am choosing this site as I have realized the impact that businesses have on families when located near Central Avenue. 

As a rising fourth-year student in Architecture, I will be using my architectural skills to propose a First-Gen Chisme non-profit headquarters located at 49-189 N 12 St, Kansas City, KS 66102, up the hill from Bethany Park where the school supply giveaway event was hosted. Architecture allows me to dream and propose of the possibilities of constructing First-Gen Chisme into a physical non-profit organization.

It demonstrates the site up the hill from Bethany Park where the Architecture proposal site is located.

Before designing the non-profit, I researched current non-profits within my community that have been successful for educational and youth betterment purposes. In Kansas City, what are current non-profit programs that are beneficial to the Kansas City community? I chose four non-profits to research that have been positive avenues for youth within the community.

Researching the current non-profits within my community helped me gain an understanding of the meaningful work that they are doing to enrich the experiences of youth living in Kansas City, Kansas. The majority of the non-profits focused on STEM and athletic related activities. There was only one non-profit I found that focused on providing art classes for youth within the Latino Arts Foundation.

My goal is to create a non-profit through First-Gen Chisme that focuses on creative arts, design, and educational opportunities for all students located in the Kansas City Metro Area.

Students will have access to take art/design courses taught by local Kansas City KS/MO artists in the area. This will range from music, sculpture, graphic design, architecture, painting, and more. Students will engage in different forms of problem-solving skill sets through the use of design. This is a great opportunity to engage youth in the power of design when used within communities. Students will also have access to hands-on learning as they engage with various career based fields focused in creative, design, and STEM. There will be a variety of classes and involvement activities that  students can participate in on weekends, after school, and in the summer. 

Through educational coaching and mentorship, students will have the needed skills to pursue post-secondary education. First-Gen Chisme will continue to focus on enriching the experiences of First-Generation, BIPOC, and Low-Income youth located in Kansas City, KS.

I hope to continue my inspirations with el paletero man (ice cream man) when designing how the non-profit will function. I would like to have multiple First-Gen Chisme carts that travel to various school campuses. This would help invite students to the non-profit and encourage community participation. Then the carts would travel back to the First-Gen Chisme non-profit headquarters where current and new students can participate in the programming. 

These renderings are a rough draft proposal idea, the Maharam Fellowship allows me to plant the seed for my future goal of creating my official First-Gen Chisme non-profit headquarters located in Kansas City, KS. I believe that the First-Gen Chisme non-profit “headquarters” will provide students with the adequate resources to express themselves creatively and explore opportunities for postsecondary education. I believe that art allows many individuals to voice their emotions and reduce stresses. This non-profit proposal has the opportunity to reduce gun violence within the community as it supports students in various ways. It engages students to think differently with creative problem-solving techniques where they can help their own community thrive. It has been a pleasure thinking through the possibilities of what programming this non-profit can focus on and how my own experiences with volunteering in various non-profits have been helpful when designing my own non-profit space. 

The First-Gen Chisme non-profit building includes various opportunities for learning with vibrant spaces. The space include a multi-purpose room, two meeting rooms, open-space learning centers, lounge area, public bathrooms, gardening shelter, and more.

Outside Perspective of First-Gen Chisme Non-Profit Headquarters Proposal located in Kansas City, KS.
Youth and individuals will have access in expanding their agricultural skills within First-Gen Chisme’s gardening shelter.

The upcoming goals for my Maharam Fellowship are to attend the second free school supply community event on July 24th, finalize branding designs for Enough is Enough, and reflect upon my Maharam Fellowship experience as it will soon be coming to an end in early August. Thank you for tuning in on my Maharam experience so far!

Final Brown University’s Break Through Lab (B-Lab) Updates:

To read more on my venture: 

As B-Lab comes to an end, I would like to reflect upon my experiences in being a part of such a great cohort of student-led ventures at Brown University. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to pursue both the B-Lab and Maharam with First-Gen Chisme. Both of these opportunities have helped expand my knowledge in entrepreneurship and the possibilities of growth for First-Gen Chisme. I learned that First-Gen Chisme is not an “app” its more than that. Its a space that connects students together, “By First-Gen, For First-Gen”. The Mobile and Web Tech solutions that First-Gen Chisme has created, is only one part of our solutions to raising graduation rates of First-Gen, Low-Income students in post-secondary education. Our various solutions of mentorship, coaching, and educational content helps build our vision.

I learned the key aspects on, ‘thinking like an entrepreneur’, these are skills and ways of thinking that I will continue to value in my venture process. I am excited to grow First-Gen Chisme to its greatest potential and I am grateful for the mentorship and guidance I have received during my B-Lab experience. As the only RISD student on the cohort this year, I am very grateful for the opportunity of being a part of such a great community at B-Lab. My next venture steps are to think through what I want First-Gen Chisme Mobile and Web Tech solutions to look like, so they can provide the best adequate support for the First-Gen community. I will also be in search of a team seeking to work in a non-profit space to support First-Gen, Low-Income, and BIPOC students!

Below I have included my one-pager and final First-Gen Chisme presentation for the final 5-minute summer pitch event, Bears Lair, hosted on July 23rd. I am very pleased with how my pitch went and I am thankful for the mentorship I have received from Jason, Jonas, Rob, Viet, and the entire B-Lab community! I was congratulated on creating a visual presentation that is easily understood as well as connects on a personal level to the First-Gen student experience. I hope I made the RISD community proud! 🙂


Visualizing Enough is ENOUGH. | Kansas City, KS. | Leslie Ponce-Díaz, BArch/BFA ’23

Researching visuals pertaining to gun violence and public programming within my community and in other initiatives helps me understand how Enough is Enough could be visually engaging for middle school and high school students. I believe that social media is a great tool to increase student participation within any program. Especially, if the content posted is visually engaging and catches the attention of students. At my community library, the West Wyandotte Library, I scanned six different visuals I found that indicated a service for helping others, the community, or within education. These scans allowed me to research different ways on how my community communicates events and information in a visual and written manner. My community is a melting pot of many different ethnic and racial backgrounds and it helped me understand the importance of translating information both written and visually.

Flyers focused on education

Flyers focused on support groups
Flyers translated information needed for immigrant families

After researching the flyers I found from my community library, I began to do research on organizations outside of my community that focus on raising gun violence awareness. One of my favorite ones that I found is the organization Change The Ref. The create year long projects using different visual mediums and performance to raise awareness on gun violence and NRA corrupt actions. Change The Ref uses visual art to bring attention to the needed conversations surrounding gun violence. My favorite project that they have done is create soap molds in shape of a gun and asked individuals to wash their hand with the soap until it disappeared. This performance action was shared across social platforms to raise awareness. I also really enjoy their most recent project where they presented, “The Lost Class”, a collection of empty chairs graduating to represent all of the student lives lost due to gun violence that were unable to graduate high school.

Another organization that I researched was the March for Our Lives organization that was a student-led demonstration in support of gun control legislation. The organization was led by a group of students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (Never Again MSD). March for Our Lives partnered with Gun Safety Alliance to create posters and social media visuals to express their messages on gun violence control.

After researching Change The Ref and March for Our Lives, I realized the impact that visual arts has when expressing issues towards gun violence. It is very powerful to see the voices of students within their communities speak up visually about these issues. It appears that the partnership between March for Our lives and the Gun Safety Alliance asked students to sketch out ideas and then a graphic designer helped create the content. In the initiative Enough is Enough, they are known to use a blue ribbon as a symbol to express the need for gun violence awareness within the Kansas City, KS community. However, I think that it would be more helpful for the initiative to express themselves visually by connecting the students voices to the forefront of the conversation similar to how the two organizations I have researched.

I found it powerful to read posters on what the students wanted to be in the future and how they were afraid that they would not make it because of the gun violence present in their communities. I think it is important to also recognize the symbolism behind a blue ribbon when connected to a police department. Making the voices of students in the community be heard and expressed should be visualized within the initiative as it allows other students the freedom to express themselves. Students might feel uncomfortable participating in an initiative that can be visually connected to police enforcement.

As I continue my internship with Enough is Enough, I think it is important to focus on the visual language of the initiative. I want students to feel like they can express themselves without any restrictions. By including a more expressive and visual language, it will create a better representation of the youth voices. Enough is Enough focuses on the 21+ student lives that have been lost within the Kansas City KS School District. My goal in this internship is to continue supporting their work to help students have the necessary resources to pursue their post-secondary educational goals and or other pursuits.

I believe that Enough is Enough can have a better social media presence through different forms of graphic design. As a founder of RISD’s Latinx club, Mango Street, I have experience with creating social media graphics that bring attention to events and information. Putting forefront the voices of the youth within the community is my goal when designing to enhance the branding of the initiative.

The Enough is Enough initiative focuses on helping curb the violence by educating their families and students as well as promoting student involvement in leading the change. I created a couple different posters that engage in what students are currently interested in, such as accessories, sports, and music. I then combined those interests with Enough is Enough to lead students to learn more about the program. How can students continue to promote and engage with Enough is Enough? Will engaging students with a more contemporary visual help them feel more comfortable in accessing the information? I am challenged to design posters that feel welcoming and engaging but still communicate ideas of gun control without it feeling overwhelming. I created a a more engaging Enough is Enough Poster Contest flyer to hopefully encourage students to apply to the competition. I hope that these posters can help inspire students to visually express themselves creatively when designing their own posters in the future for Enough is Enough.

My research within the library and the community organizations have helped me understand how information could be translated in different forms to reach a variety of audiences. I think my next steps will be to continue making content that communicates why the initiative Enough is Enough is important within the community. Why should students be involved? These online visuals will be more text heavy but I will use my research to indicate what are the best ways to organize the information. The flyers will focus on: What is Enough is Enough?, Why is it important?, and, How can I get involved?. I will also continue brainstorming on how the posters can be enhanced to continue the conversations surrounding gun violence in Kansas City. How can I use my research from the March for Our Lives campaign, to inspire the visuals be a more critical way of visualizing gun control?

In First-Gen Chisme (, I have continued to organize the resources on the website to make them more accessible for visitors. I want students to feel supported with the needed information to continue pursuing their post-secondary education. Researching for Enough is Enough has helped me understand the importance of having content that is easily understood for its target audience. Students can download PDF’s on resources towards applying to college and financial tools that prepare them for their education.

Alongside my graphic design research and projects, I have purchased the school supplies that I will be giving out on July 17th and 24th at Bethany Park. My original plans were to visit the high schools in the area but I was advised by a community member that it would be more beneficial to attend an event that already has an active audience. This is because sometimes students can find it difficult to go to their schools during the summer without their needed transportation resources. I will be attending the Bethany Park, ‘La Placita’ event hosted on Saturdays from non-profit Central Avenue Betterment Association (CABA). La Placita is known to have local vendors on Central Avenue Street located in Kansas City, KS. Central Avenue is an important location within my community as it has many Black and Brown businesses that helps support the Black and Brown families in the community.

My First-Gen Chisme cart has arrived and I began painting it the First-Gen Chisme branding colors! I will be taking it to Bethany Park and handing out supplies and information surrounding First-Gen Chisme and Enough is Enough. On the next blog post, I will show it fully painted and assembled! I am excited for you all to see it.

My Maharam Fellowship and B-Lab Venture Accelerator, have inspired me to re-think ways in how my help in non-profits can grow within my community. The next project I am hoping to pursue is the possibility to re-imagine First-Gen Chisme. How would it function if it was established as an official non-profit in Kansas City, KS? How can my work in this fellowship grow in the future to make a permanent collaboration between the USD 500 Kansas City KS School District and First-Gen Chisme? Are there any locations in Kansas City, KS that I should have my eyes on for the future home of the First-Gen Chisme headquarters? I will explore these questions and create more content in regards to the questions I asked about Enough is Enough above in the next blog post. Thanks for tuning in!


Educational Ice cream Cart | Kansas City, KS. | Leslie Ponce-Díaz, BArch/BFA ’23

The opportunity to continue my post-secondary education after high-school is a great privilege and honor to have. As a First-Generation college student, I have realized the difficulties and challenges that many students from marginalized communities face within pre-dominantly white institutions. I created First-Gen Chisme,, as an opportunity to give back to the upcoming generations of Students of Color pursuing their education. During my internship, I have been able to connect with my supervisor, Sharita, to explore ways on how content could be distributed in an engaging manner. The Enough is Enough initiative has created many visuals around the community where they ask students to register in any violence seen around their communities and schools. An issue that we realized is that many students would not engage directly with the visuals. This could be due to the fact that they are not familiar with the work of Enough is Enough and might not know how to get involved. I took some time to think on how to bring attention to the initiative with visuals, movements, social media, and more. I realized that el paletero (the ice cream man), always caught the attention of the community with his ice cream cart ringing bells on the block. I began to wonder… What if I could integrate my cultural upbringing with my educational resources? This is where the idea for an educational cart that hands out resources and information about Enough is Enough and First-Gen Chisme came to be! The goal for the educational cart is to have it completed by middle July to visit at least 3 high schools in the Kansas City School District. The educational cart would give students school supplies and important information in regards to Enough is Enough and First-Gen Chisme.

This picture demonstrates the inspirations from the paltero man (ice cream man) for the education cart.
This is a draft of how I plan to paint the educational cart. These visuals are logos that can be found within the First-Gen Chisme education website.

As an Architecture student, I have learned the necessary tools to visualize how I would program this community event. I began to create construction drawings on how the educational cart would function. The most important factor about its function is that it must be easy to take a part and assemble in order for easy transportation.

I asked my dad if we could collaborate together to create the cart from scratch since we both have experience with wood working. We went to the hardware store and bought some materials to get started! We began a base for the cart and had a fun time working together. However, we both realized that our schedules began to become really busy and we were unable to fully finish it by the deadline needed. We also did not have all of the necessary wood cutting equipment which made it difficult to get the project completed into the quality that we both wanted. Thanks to the Maharam Fellowship, I had the freedom to research for an already built candy cart that I could purchase. I found an amazing one from Etsy and will be arriving in the first week of July, right on the deadline I originally planned! Although, I really wanted to build the cart from scratch I am fortunate to have the necessary resources to be able to find one just in time. I also am very appreciative of my dad for taking time out of his busy working schedule to help start a project with me!

The plan is to have the educational cart travel to at least 3 high schools in the Kansas City, KS school district to provide with school supplies and visuals supporting Enough is Enough. We will have conversations on what Enough is Enough is doing within the community and how students can get involved. Students will receive folders, stickers, pencils, pens, pencil holder, and visuals pertaining to Enough is Enough and First-Gen Chisme.

As I wait for the candy cart to arrive, I have continued my research on visuals pertaining to Gun Violence within my community and in other initiatives. I will be collecting different visuals from the public library and online that demonstrate community building. What do these two flyers in the folders need to have to create an engaging and visual messages surrounding post-secondary education and gun violence? Is there any other things I can help give that catch the attention of students? For example: Pins, Buttons, Stickers, Posters, etc. How can I best support the gun violence awareness work being done in my community in a respectful manner that helps catch the attention of others? Engaging the youth in conversations surrounding gun violence is very important. I want to help support students pursue their education and have success outside of the violence present in their communities.

These illustrations help provide an idea on how the educational cart will look when present at the schools. I am very excited to be able to visit the schools in person and distribute the necessary resources for students to have a safer educational environment! My focuses will be on the Kansas City, KS High Schools: F.L. Schlagle High School, Washington High School, Wyandotte High School, J.C. Harmon High School, and Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences. Due to lack of time, I will not be able to attend the Middle Schools in my community but the three day event will be open to all students.

I look forward to updating you all more on my research visuals for gun violence research in the next blog post. As well as, hopefully, answers to the questions asked above. Thank you for reading!

Quick Brown University B-Lab Updates:

To read more on my venture:

Alongside my Maharam Fellowship, I am participating in the Brown University 8-week summer accelerator program for Brown and RISD students developing high-impact ventures. Recently, I pitched a 90 second venture pitch for 80+ people on Zoom for preparation on a bigger pitch in September. It was definitely a nerve-wrecking experience but I am very appreciative of the practice pitches we are able to have during B-Lab. I am currently continuing my bottom-up research to understand how an app focused on providing First-Gen students with academic and financial resources could best work.

The Pitch: Every time I come back home from college, I talk with my friend about our experiences and difficulties in being the first in our family to attend college. We shared conversations where we often felt lost,  pressured, and always feeling behind our other peers who’s family did attend college. I realized that we were sharing our First-Gen Chisme. The ability to build a First-Gen community that can help support incoming students inspired the tech non-profit First-Gen Chisme.

First-Gen Chisme is a non-profit tech app that focuses on providing First-Generation, Low-Income, and BIPOC students with needed academic and financial resources throughout their post-secondary education. We provide school year-long content and mentorship on academics, scholarships, FAFSA, mental health and more. First-Gen students need 24/7 support to successfully guide them through their education. Based on our bottom up research, many First-Gen students do not know where to start when asking for help. They need accessible resources that help them feel supported within their institutions. 

Nationally, 89 percent of Low-Income First-Generation students leave college within six years without a degree.  As a First-Gen student myself, I speak from personal experiences on the struggles that we face coming from under-resourced communities. Many Universities fail to acknowledge the extra support needed from First-gen students. First Gen Chisme believes that with access to direct resources, students would feel more supported and graduate their institutions with great success. 

If you are interested in learning more please visit our resource website for more updates on our tech-app and content. Let’s continue to make education accessible to ALL students with First-Gen Chisme.