Asbury Park, December 1, 2021 – The eleven members of the Summer ‘21 Research Cohort: Financial Stability created the Teen Think Tank Project’s first Community Impact Award to recognize a contributor, speaker or instructor who the cohort felt had the most impact on them and their community. The cohort selected Misozi Houston, M.P.H., Financial Stability Manager at Pocono Mountains United Way, as the winner. In November, the Teen Think Tank Project made a $500 donation to Houston’s charity of choice, the Monroe County NAACP.
A social justice advocate herself, Houston believes that for communities to thrive, access to health and health services is key. In her role with the Pocono Mountains United Way, Houston promotes health, education and financial stability. “As a Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ by World facilitator I met many individuals who were working hard, sometimes having multiple jobs, and still struggling to make ends meet,” said Houston. “Life can be challenging, but it’s much more challenging when one is unsure about whether rent will be paid, lights will be on, or if a family will have enough to eat. Through no fault of their own, individuals who are experiencing financial instability may fall even further behind because of policies and systems that are not equitable.”
Houston supports the Monroe County NAACP because the organization has been working to empower communities by increasing access to, and providing information about, civil rights and addressing equity in education for people of color. “Last year, many individuals experienced trauma. It was also a year of awakening for some,” said Houston. “I selected them as a recipient to help support their work and advance their mission.” The Teen Think Tank Project’s contribution will help Monroe County NAACP’s efforts to fight locally for civil rights and social and racial justice.
“We were thrilled when the research associates of the Summer ‘21 Research Cohort wanted to do something to recognize fellow advocates and make a difference in the community by making a donation,” said Teen Think Tank Project Co-Founder Kelly Nagle. “Misozi had a real impact on the students and opened their eyes to more of the realities of financial instability. It’s a privilege to count her as a part of the think tank family, and we are happy to support a local organization doing important work to fight for social justice.”
Christa Cacares, Executive Director of Monroe County NAACP, said “Donations like the one received from Teen Think Tank Project is essential, as it gives us the ability to bring our visions to life in the way of programs and events.” She continued, “Financial assistance like this is invaluable for small organizations, and we are very grateful for both Misozi’s expertise and leadership as well as the support of Teen Think Tank Project.”
The NAACP was founded February 12, 1909 and is the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Its mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and eliminate race-based discrimination. The Monroe County NAACP, founded locally in the 1960’s, works to disrupt inequality, dismantle racism, and accelerate change in key areas including criminal justice, health care, education, climate, and the economy.
Teen Think Tank Project is a student-run policy institute that fosters critical thinking, research techniques, and problem-solving skills to develop policy frameworks for real-life issues and empowers students to become future changemakers. Teens find their voice and create change at www.teenthinktankproject.com or @teen_thinktank.
Kelly Nagle, Co-founder and Vice Chair