BOSTON (CBS) – Technology often helps teachers in the classroom add to the educational experience. But sometimes, access to technology can help students create opportunities for themselves.
One student on Cape Cod created and funded her own organization doing all the research by herself.
Katie Curran, a senior at Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis says, “I started it with zero dollars and a dream.”
Curran’s dream was to start a movement to stop a growing problem: young people aren’t voting.
“The youth civic voter turnout engagement has been quite low in recent years and I really wanted to challenge that convention,” Curran says. “I believe that youth are the greatest resource in our world and if enough lives are changed our whole world can be positively influenced.”
On her own, Curran learned to apply for grants, raised $50,000 and with that money started and grew Project Next Generation.
She and volunteers have run classes for 200 younger middle school kids on the Cape on civic engagement, model U.N. and community service.
“We give them the tools to find their passions and then hit the ground running bringing change in to the community,” Curran says.
Taylor Vahey, a freshman from Bourne, says it’s expanded her horizons. “I think it’s opened up what I think of,” she says. “I don’t just think of the Cape anymore I think of our country and all different countries.”
Curran’s history teacher can’t say enough. “It’s just a great example for our kids, she’s a leader within the school,” Jim Barrasso says.
And her brother Jerry hopes to follow in her footsteps. “What I think kids enjoy the most is the way she includes everyone,” Jerry Curran says. “She always makes sure that it’s relate-able and everyone gets to talk.”
Curran wants to run for office someday like some of her idols and she’s certainly learned a lot about politics and fundraising.
“My goal before the 2016 Election is to reach out to a few thousand more kids and make them aware of the vote,” she says.
Her next step is to turn Project Next Generation into an official non-profit, but she can’t accomplish that goal until the end of January… when she turns eighteen.