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Advice / Career Paths / Exploring Careers

This Woman Believes the Future of Creativity Is Expansion

This summer, in collaboration with Taco Bell, we put out a call for how you would make the future more creative.

We were overwhelmed with the great responses we received, but in the end, we could only choose three finalists.

Below, we ask Leah Pimentel, a finalist, to explain her idea:

Leah’s Submission:

The Creativity Project will be the newest youth philanthropy program. Young people living in underserved communities can apply for mini-grants of up to $10,000 for their creativity projects. The Creative Project aims to engage youth and young adults in creative thinking to fund and support youth-led projects that directly address important issues and the positive impacts of creativity in individuals and communities. The Creativity Project will engage youth leaders ages 12–17 interested in building youth power through creativity.

What sparked the idea for this project?

Poet Dana Gioia’s quote, “Adult life begins in a child’s imagination.”

It’s time to re-evaluate the role of creativity in transforming businesses. Just as marketing and advertising have evolved over the past 20 years, it’s time to rethink the role that creativity plays in transforming businesses and youths.

How would you define the future of creativity?

The future is expansion. There is, and will be, a need for creative business leaders and youth to catalyze the creativity expansion and to inject and mediate creativity into businesses, communities, and schools.

How does this project support the future of creativity?

Creativity empowers underserved youths, but creativity programs have been reduced for kids. We have to do more to develop the right brain, by providing a strong creativity presence for youths. This strategy is led through popular education approaches, meaningful youth-led action research, and decision making that is accountable to youth across San Francisco. Together, youth grant makers and youth program officers fund $60,000 annually in two grant cycles. In addition, BLING youth leaders work directly with funded projects to ensure their impact and sustainability.

What inspires your creativity?

I find my inspiration everywhere, from touring the Egyptian pyramids and the words of my favorite writer, to the smile of a child and leaves on my morning run.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling to be creative?

You have a creative mind that is fueled by intense curiosity. Embrace your inner genius even if others don’t. Creative individuals are authentic so stay true to who you are and define your own success by frequently renewing your source of inspiration and drive.

What excites you the most about your project?

Creativity expands horizons and opportunities. Studies have shown how increased access to creative opportunities can lead to improved self-esteem, better grades, higher graduation rates, and inspires entrepreneurship. The Creativity Project creates an opportunity to make the dreams and needs of underserved youth a reality through creativity.

Stay tuned! We will be announcing the winner in October.