MyImpact Challenge Winner: Don’t Be Afraid to Go For It
Hamid Torabzadeh’s journey to winning the grand prize in the Bill of Rights Institute’s 2022 MyImpact Challenge started how one might expect from someone who grew up in the age of social media – by a quick scroll through Instagram.
Now, he’s encouraging other students to take a chance and participate in the program during this school year.
“I followed the BRI Instagram since my freshman year, and I thought this looked really cool,” Torabzadeh said of the MyImpact Challenge, which encourages students to develop constitutionally-principled civic engagement projects. “I thought it was a unique prompt for applying civic values and abstract concepts, and thought it was an interesting challenge to frame service and ideas – justice in particular.”
Torabzadeh started his MyImpact Challenge project while he was a student at Long Beach Polytechnic High School in California, and he is currently in his first year at Brown University majoring in public health. He partnered with his local American Red Cross to educate and train his classmates in disaster preparation, response, and recovery.
“We have particular values we believe in as Americans that is more than just voting for our representatives,” Torabzadeh said, adding that he wanted to make sure his classmates knew how to respond and prepare for any kind of emergency or disaster, including natural disasters.
As part of the program, Torabzadeh showed other students how to have a disaster preparedness kit handy and educated them on smoke alarms and the environmental impacts of disasters.
“I wanted to take what I learn in the classroom and apply it outside the classroom,” Torabzadeh said. “I wanted to show good leadership, lead with empathy, and help my classmates learn more about the communities we serve.”
Torabzadeh took his program virtual in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and expanded it to schools in other parts of the country, including southern Florida and Virginia. Helping to set up a blood drive as part of his initial experience working with the Red Cross taught Torabzadeh how to make an impact in his local community, no matter how big or small.
Torabzadeh found out he received the $10,000 grand prize for the MyImpact Challenge while attending a graduation party and said he keeps in touch with other contest winners.
He credits some of his mentors for helping him win the contest, including his teachers and Red Cross advisor. Torabzadeh encourages other students considering participating in MyImpact Challenge not to be afraid to put themselves out there.
“Whatever your project is, don’t be afraid to highlight yourself, and don’t be afraid of meeting other people,” Torabzadeh said.
For more information on the MyImpact Challenge and to sign up, visit https://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/my-impact-challenge.