Tag Archives: Design for Change

ThinkFun Sponsors Design for Change Prize

The following guest post is shared by Sanjli Gidwaney, the Country Coordinator for the incredible Design for Change USA organization!


The Design for Change USA (DFC USA) team is pleased to announce the students of Crazy Horse School from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, as the winners of DFC USA 2013! Their winning entry, Combating High Dropout Rates, has inspired people around the world. The students have received $500 worth of ThinkFun games, in recognition of their efforts!

The natural partnership between DFC and Think Fun is rooted in the belief that children learn best when they’re having fun. It is through critical thinking and team building skills learned during games and real world problem solving, which enable students to become better leaders and change makers of the future. DFC is incredibly thankful for the support of ThinkFun, and we are so excited that our student winners will benefit from $500 worth of ThinkFun games this year!

DFC kids

2013 Design for Change USA Winning Team!

To learn more about Design for Change and the winning team, keep reading!

Design for Change is the largest global movement designed to give young people an opportunity to express their own ideas for a better world and to put them into action. Design for Change is a framework of design thinking principles such as Feel, Imagine, Do, Share, with supporting templates, exercises and a robust curriculum designed by Stanford Design School, IDEO, and Harvard’s Good Work Team. This year, Design for Change (DFC) reaches 40 countries and hundreds of thousands of youth, teachers, parents, and educators around the world.

How did the winning students impact their community?
The Lakota reservation in South Dakota faces a number of challenges including a limited number of healthy activities available for youth, 90% unemployment rate, a feeling of hopelessness and frequent substance abuse, and many students dropout before high school graduation.  In an effort to address this challenge, the students of Crazy Horse School used the DFC framework to host a community event, centered on activities such as sports tournaments, talent shows, a community dinner, and Lakota beading and quillwork.  In doing so, they believe they can restore a new sense of hope on the reservation, bringing the community together to discuss important issues.  They will use this event to show their classmates, how to replace unhealthy youth pastimes with exciting and fun activities in hopes of keeping them on track to graduate.

DFC kids2

How can I help?
The DFC USA team is raising funds to send three students and two teachers from the Crazy Horse School, to the ‘Be the Change’ Conference in India in September 2013.  To learn more, visit: designforchange.us/donate. Please help us spread the word!

Learn more about the DFC movement by checking out dfcworld.com

Design for Change Empowers Students to Change Their World!

The following guest post is shared by Sanjli Gidwaney, the Country Coordinator for the incredible Design for Change USA organization!  Sanjli first introduced readers to DFC in this 2010 guest post, and the organization continues to do incredible things to inspire creative social change – ThinkFun is thrilled to support them! 

Children are not passive recipients of modern day pop culture and television overload, they are activators and change makers of their schools, communities and the world!

My name is Sanjli Gidwaney from Design for Change USA, a national school challenge engaging children in service learning projects with lasting benefit to their community. Design for Change USA (DFC) is part of a larger global movement involving millions of students and teachers from over 30+countries. We hope to empower students to address challenges which affect them directly by infecting them with the spirit of I CAN and tasking them with four simple steps:

  1. Feel anything that bothers you
  2. Imagine a way to make it better
  3. Do the act of change
  4. Share your story with the world

Last year, what started off as a small test pilot with a handful of students and educators, has now become a national campaign placing the USA at the forefront of service learning. This year, DFC received entries from coast to coast. Submissions ranged from buying basic necessities for children living in homeless shelters to sending letters of gratitude to United States Service Members. Teachers and students went above and beyond the call to action and we should all be very proud of their efforts.

The winning entry this year came from Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco.  Their project, The ONE LESS Campaign, is designed to create communal awareness about the consequences of not only the production but also the purchase of non-organic clothing.

Students from Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco - Winners of Design for Change USA

In an attempt to pay it forward, the students at Lick-Wilmerding requested that the DFC team share their prize with the incredibly deserving children at the Vincent Academy, a new charter school serving a challenged community in Oakland. This is the truest representation of the spirit behind DFC.  Here are some wonderful photos of the students at Vincent Academy enjoying their new brain games!

We’d like to thank ThinkFun, our wonderful sponsors for their generous donation of over $500 worth of ThinkFun games. We believe that children learn best when they’re having fun and who does it better than ThinkFun?  It is the creative and team building skills learned through games such as Rush Hour and Chocolate Fix, which will enable students throughout the USA to brainstorm, create and execute on their plans to improve their schools and communities! Thank you for all your support and for believing in our mission.


DFC is a 100% volunteer run and we would not be where we are today without the support of passionate teachers and organizations who also believe that children are the drivers of change. If you are interested in finding out how you can get involved, please visit us at, www.designforchange.us or email us at info@designforchange.us .

Here is what you can do today:

  1. Spread the word about DFC by sharing the link with family and friends
  2. Sign up your school/organization
  3. Volunteer to lead a project at your child’s school/organization/sports team

By participating in Design for Change, you will be joining millions of students and educators around the world saying, yes I CAN.

Design for Change Winners Bring Games into the Classroom!

Last month I shared the winning submission in the first US Design for Change Competition, a fantastic contest that challenges students to design and implement projects to improve their communities!

To help celebrate these winning thinkers at Ross Elementary School, ThinkFun donated sets of games to continue to inspire their creative problem solving.  I just received a fabulous update from the school counselor whose students developed the winning entry, and it looks like these bright students have equally curious, playful, and brainy teachers!

Hi Charlotte,

Time has been flying here for us at Ross Elementary and with more than a few days off for ‘snow and ice’ we are endeavoring to keep up with our academic schedules as we prepare for this year’s PSSA testing.  Thank you once again for the wonderful kits of Thinkfun games you sent us for winning the Design for Change contest.  Our students in the DFC group have been enjoying them immensely.

In order for Ross students to benefit most from your wonderful gift, we decided to introduce Thinkfun to our entire staff.  Attached are some pictures.  Yesterday at our monthly faculty meeting, we gave teachers and assistants the opportunity to play the games—-thinking that the best way for them to be creative and use the materials is to be familiar with them.  We set the area up ahead of time, partnering the teachers and sharing with them the particular sets of games that were appropriate for their student’s grade level.  They then spent time playing the games.  It was lots of fun.  The follow up is that they are able to ‘sign them out’ for use.  Classroom aides also will have the chance to use them for indoor recess times.  Thank you again from all of us at Ross for your gift.

We are appreciative of Thinkfun’s support of endeavors like DFC.   It is so encouraging to see young learners excited about education and you help make that happen.

Best Wishes in your continued work with kids,
Anne G. and the Students and Staff at George Ross Elementary School

WOW!  I love that these teachers recognize that for these games to be real, meaningful learning tools, they themselves need to roll up their sleeves and understand how the games support different thinking skills!  We can’t wait to continue to track along with this school and can only imagine the fun and learning that will ensue once these games are shared in the classsroom!

Announcing… the Design for Change Winning Idea!

Several months ago I shared a wonderful post by Sanjli Gidwaney, Country Coordinator for the first ever Design for Change competition in the United States!

As Sanjli described, Design for Change is a worldwide competition that is forming the largest movement of young people creating change around the world.  The contest gives children one challenge: design, create, and implement a project that directly benefits their school or community and tell us about it.

This year’s competition just came to an end, and I’m thrilled to share the winning project called Kids on the Move by the 5th Grade Class of G Ross Elementary School Lancaster, PA.  Take a look at this fantastic presentation and see how these students plan to tackle obesity and implement positive, healthy change in their community!

ThinkFun is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s Design for Change competition, and we will be sending oodles of mind challenging games to the students at G Ross Elementary.  We hope these games will encourage them to stretch their minds, become more creative problem solvers, and continue to innovate and make positive changes in their community and the world!

It’s incredible what emerges when children are empowered and encouraged to take the reins of global change into their own hands!  But don’t take my word for it!  In the clip below, children’s singer, entertainer, and advocate Raffi lends his support to the DFC initiative!

Raffi Design For Change Video Endorsement from Mobius Communications on Vimeo.

Design for Change

The following is guest post by Sanjli Gidwaney, an inspired individual dedicated to encouraging creativity through systematic curriculum change in developing countries around the world.  Sanjli has recently taken on the role of Country Coordinator to bring the global Design for Change competition to the United States!

My name is Sanjli Gidwaney from Design for Change, a worldwide competition that is forming the largest movement of young people creating change around the world. This effort is on part of Kiran Sethi from the Riverside School in India who spoke at TED India last year in hopes of illuminating the impact of young minds on pressing global issues. The contest gives children around the world one challenge: design, create, and implement a project that directly benefits their school or community and tell us about it. The competition essentially provides a platform to support, empower and encourage children to take the reins of global change into their own hands.

While last year the competition ran exclusively in India, this year it has been opened up to schools across the world including: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA, Mexico, Taiwan, Ireland and many others. We are currently looking to sign up over 1,000 schools throughout the USA to represent our country’s commitment to social change.

The Design for Change simple 4 step process...

As a leader for Design for Change USA, I am honored and excited to partner with ThinkFun on this incredible initiative to transform the lives of millions of Americans with a simple “I CAN” attitude.

ThinkFun embodies the true meaning of learning by making it fun, challenging and enjoyable, a notion that is in line with the Design Change Competition. It is the creative and team building skills learned through games such as Rush Hour and Chocolate Fix, which will enable students throughout the USA to brainstorm, create and execute on their plans to improve their schools and communities! ThinkFun has so graciously sponsored Design for Change by awarding the winning entry with a suite of ThinkFun games and learning tools! What a wonderful way to kick off the competition!

For more information on how to get involved, please visit www.designforchange.us or email us at info@designforchange.us .