What is STL Changemakers?
STL Changemakers, formerly known as SDG Changemakers, is a free two-week summer program organized by the Missouri Historical Society, the United Nations Association of St. Louis, and Civitas that gives teens an opportunity to explore St. Louis history, engage with today’s most pressing issues, and develop projects focused on creating a better future for the St. Louis region.
In this program, local issues will be examined through the lens of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on what it means to be an active and engaged citizen.
Dive deep into the history of some of the most pressing issues facing the St. Louis region by exploring the exhibits and collections of the Missouri Historical Society.
Use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to make local connections to global issues and develop a deeper understanding of the world.
Go out in the field, meet with community leaders, and learn what it means to be an active citizen by designing an impact project focused on creating change in the St. Louis region.
During the first two weeks, students will participate in interactive classroom lectures and discussions, listen to speakers, conduct extensive research, and visit organizations and individuals working to address local issues. Through this process, they will gain knowledge and skills related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, global citizenship, and sustainable impact, while reflecting on their own experiences and values.
In addition to these workshops, students will work individually or in collaboration with a partner to develop an "Impact Project" that focuses on a specific issue in the St. Louis community. While they are not expected to have a fully formed project by the end of the two weeks, they will have the foundation and support needed to begin taking informed action.
Throughout the rest of the year, students are invited to monthly check-in meetings where they receive additional support in implementing their projects from both adults and fellow Changemakers. This ongoing support ensures that students can continue making a meaningful impact beyond the program's duration.
What is an "Impact Project"?
The "Impact Project" is meant to be a way for students to focus in on a single issue that they observe in the St. Louis community and come up with actionable steps to affect change in that area. On the last day of the two-week program students present to family members, fellow Changemakers, and other guests the issue they wish to address and possible solutions they have come up with. Students are not expected to know exactly what they want to do by the end of the two-week experience for their Impact Project, which is why the program continues on for the rest of the year. For the rest of the year, students are invited to join monthly check-in meetings where additional support is provided on their journeys of implementing their Impact Projects from both adults and their fellow Changemakers.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals
Throughout the program, students will continue to refer back and analyze issues and proposed solutions through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals for Sustainable Development, a set of universal goals for the world created by the United Nations in 2015. Students will identify what goal they wish to affect by the end of the experience and focus on how to impact it directly through their impact project.
More about the SDGs:
According to the United Nations, the Sustainable Development Goals provide "a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests" (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs https://sdgs.un.org/goals). The hope is that these targets can be met by 2030 with the collective efforts of people around the world.