Launched by the Aspen Institute and Bezos Family Foundation in 2012 and implemented in partnership with the Dallas Independent School District in 2018 and 2019, the Aspen Challenge provides inspiration, tools, and a platform for young people to address critical issues and become leaders in their communities. In Dallas, 150 students’ Aspen Challenge journey began in February with a day of inspiration and engagement from cross-sector leaders. During the Opening Forum, these local and national leaders challenged Dallas students to become leaders in their own community. Teams representing 19 schools across the city accepted one of the five presented challenges, sparking an eight-week journey during which each team designed solutions that would better their community.
“You can have a million ideas but you don’t necessarily know how to implement them. The Aspen Challenge helped me understand how change happens and how to organize it.”
-Ginny Mendez, Sunset High School junior
Additional awards were presented to teams from Emmett J. Conrad High School for People’s Choice, North Dallas High School for Resilience, David W. Carter High School for Originality, and Bryan Adams High School for Collaboration. Reflecting on the experience, North Dallas High School junior Octavia Legans , North Dallas stated that even if people have differences, “if you’re passionate about something, you can come together and make change for the future.
Currently in its seventh year, the Aspen Challenge has previously partnered with the Los Angeles Unified Schools District, Denver Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, and the School District of Philadelphia. In addition to Dallas, the Aspen Challenge is also partnering with Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky this year.