Call for Kindness 2024: Young People Demand Solutions for Education Inequities
Annual Leadership Development Fellowship Provides $5,000 in Funding for Young People to Address One of Today’s Most Pressing Issues: Education Equity

Promoting equitable education is a top priority as students return to school. Riley’s Way has opened its annual Call For Kindness with education equity in mind, calling on young people themselves (13-23 years old) to come up with ideas and solutions to address this growing issue. The Call For Kindness is a nationwide contest that asks young people to submit their ideas for projects rooted in kindness, empathy, youth leadership, and community to win seed funding up to $5,000 and a year-long professional development Fellowship. 

“Education equity is not only about breaking down systemic barriers and accommodating various circumstances,” explained Call For Kindness alumni Everest Maya-Tudor. “It's also about creating an environment where learning is seen as a fundamental right rather than a privilege.” 

“Young people themselves picked Education Equity as our special category this year,” stated Dr. Christine O’Connell, Riley’s Way Executive Director. “They want to dismantle barriers to education and create opportunities so every student can thrive.”

Students across the nation experience vastly different school environments. In many cases, students from diverse backgrounds, including but not limited to students of color, students who identify as LGBTQIA+, low-income students, and students with disabilities, face inequitable access to resources, support services and enriching opportunities. Young leaders are standing up against these inequities and envisioning inclusive solutions grounded in kindness and empathy to increase access to high-quality education regardless of one’s background or circumstance. 

"Young people leading with kindness are creating a dynamic and positive force for good that our world desperately needs," shared Ian Sandler, co-founder and Board Chair of Riley's Way. "They are paving the way for a more vibrant leadership landscape that fosters innovation, inclusivity, and a commitment to a kinder world.”

The Call For Kindness boasts an innovative model for youth development, combining start-up funding ($5,000) with leadership programming — all grounded in kindness and empathy. Past projects have addressed mental health and well-being, promoted racial justice, bridged the tech industry's demographic gap, supported those experiencing homelessness, and much more. Up to 40 youth-led projects will be awarded, with 10 focused on Education Equity, three awards in the A Kinder World For Animals special category, and one in each of the other special categories: Interfaith Connections and Dance and the Arts.

The Yuriko Kikuchi Arigato Award (“Arigato” means “thank you” in Japanese) supports projects in dance and the performing arts in honor of Yuriko, the pioneering dancer, choreographer, and keeper of Martha Graham’s flame. The purpose of the Interfaith Connections Award is to foster education, connection making, and acts of kindness across different religious or cultural communities. The A Kinder World for Animals Award addresses the well-being of animals and the important role that animals play in human lives. 

Visit to learn more and read about past Fellows.

Contact Information:
Ava Mateo
Communications Manager
[email protected]
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