The best-known project is Dayton Inspires, which was a simple movement of people responding to the haters and getting out there to talk about how living here inspires them and makes them feel good. It grew from a hashtag and a mural in the Oregon District and grew to a real social media movement. Simple, effective and evergreen.
What’s really cool about the summits, though, is that you get a real sense for what young people care about and want to see happen. I’ve seen the pitches evolve over time from being kind of fluffy to becoming really community-focused. Last year’s winners were about how to connect kids with their moms who are in jail, how to provide tech to West Dayton students after school, and how to memorialize those who’ve lost loved ones in the opioids struggle. All great projects, and they provide a pulse on what a certain group of young people are thinking – how they’re becoming increasingly connected to real community issues. What I want to figure out is how UpDayton can play a part in understanding that and helping build it. I like to say we’re awakening people to the potential they have to make an impact. It’s why I ended up taking this new role – that’s what the organization did for me back in 2013.