You Matter and United Way’s The21 Campaign

At 6AM EDT Friday morning, I got the chance to prove to the world Angela Maiers’s belief, “You are a genius, and the world needs your contribution.”

On Friday, June 21, the United Way (@unitedway) ran a 21 hour event called The 21. Together with Google, “The 21 is a twenty-one hour broadcast of live programming in support of worldwide education… This first of its kind event will feature celebrities from the sports world, entertainment, leaders in the education field, and also everyday heroes who are making a difference in their communities through education… Think of it as a telethon reinvented for the digital age, except our goal isn’t to get money, it’s to recruit 21,000 people to pledge to become volunteer readers, tutors or mentors.”

Angela Maiers, co-founder of the Choose2Matter campaign, invited myself, three of my students, and five other professionals, to speak to the United Way and the global community about the Choose2Matter campaign. Angela came to the Downingtown STEM Academy in June and challenged my students to use their genius to change the world. Since that visit, she has been working tirelessly to spread the message of how successful Downingtown STEM Academy students were, and why this is important for public education.

The embedded video is segment grabbed from United Way’s YouTube Video, and slightly edited by me. Make sure you check out my students’ contribution (after a small technology glitch) around 50 minutes.

United Way #the21 from Justin Staub on Vimeo.

Angela Maiers’s town hall forum on the importance of her #YouMatter campaign in the global fight to improve education worldwide.

Below are a few of the key inspirational points I pulled from the video:

“[You Matter] is an “end run” around the school system.” -Mark Moran

“You are a genius, and the world NEEDS your contribution.” -Angela Maiers

“[You Matter] is not about you, it’s about us.” -Shawn Murphy

“Putting people of all ages under pressure to stretch is awesome.” -Ted Coiné

“[Some people] don’t respect children because they are young, and they don’t know anything. We have to fill their brains with knowledge. You know what? Memorizing stuff is not what school should be for. It should be for sparking their creativity.” -Ted Coiné

“If you’re telling me you want to change, get uncomfortable. It will feel different. Trust me, you will enjoy it.” -Tim McDonald

“WE is smarter than ME.” -Angela Maiers

“Those who don’t adapt will have someone else adapt them.” -Mark Moran

Special thanks to the following participants in the video:


3 thoughts on “You Matter and United Way’s The21 Campaign

  1. Ron McGinn June 25, 2013 / 7:05 pm

    Hello Justin, Thank you for an excellent blog on an incredibly motivating project for students. Imagine, students who are engaged, not only in their learning and their school, but in building ideas that change the world. You are celebrating student potential by activating student empathy, innovation, and productivity. Do you incorporate the idea of social responsibility within this framework?

    • Justin Staub June 25, 2013 / 8:16 pm

      Ron, thanks for your kind words. Social responsibility was not implicitly part of this two day workshop, but it was part of very conversation Angela and I had with students. That’s the beauty of project-based instruction. If you do it well, so many pieces are tied to it. It is not just about the content one intends to teach.

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