Since discovering the FPS program in 2020, I have been encapsulated with applying a problem-solving mentality to combat important issues in my life, school and wider community. Being at the ‘centre of change’ is something that, since a young age, I have always found fulfilling and enjoyed, throughout my education journey in particular, engaging myself in many leadership and service commitments. Growing not only as an individual, but aiding others in the process, activities such as World Vision Committee, Bi-Cultural Club, Student Council, First Lego League and more have fostered my altruistic personal mindset, shared through various events, projects and initiatives.

Previously participating in the GIPS division of Future Problem Solving in 2021 and 2022, reaching National Championship level on both occasions, being able to collaborate and develop creative solutions is one of my strengths. This alongside my desire to contribute to the communities that have so greatly supported me as an individual manifested themselves in success within the CMPS avenue late last year.

CMPS is a branch of Future Problem Solving, that aims to encourage students to conduct meaningful and impactful community projects in their respective spheres. Following the ‘step’ model utilised in the GIPS booklets, whereby teams research, identify an issue/s, create an underlying problem, brainstorm solutions and devise an action plan, groups find exciting ways to forge lasting change amongst their chosen demographic.

Combatting the issue of COVID-19 prompted Social Isolation amongst the elderly, my other group members, Cecilia Lin and Zaid Al Sakini, and I, organised and executed an ‘Old School’ themed performance night at Settlers Village Albany. Residents were encouraged to venture outside of their apartments and re-develop social connections amongst village members, tied together by the nostalgic ‘comfort bubble’ of music and the past. Following the event, my team and I began the construction of the second aspect of our project; an online database titled Project RHR (Rest Home Revival). Acting as a ‘port of call’ for students looking to conduct similar projects, access to previous experiences, tips, advice, and avenues of contact all contribute to the indirect solving of our issue. By making the process of engaging in such projects easier, and thus more appealing, more students would conduct projects and contribute to the solving of the issue, a long-lasting impact.

Entering the project into the FPS CMPS competition in November of 2022, we were able to receive the title of National Champions, offering an invitation to the International Conference taking place in June of 2023, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. By attending the conference, not only will I as an individual be improving my leadership skills, and gaining international experience, but will also be directly re-investing in the community and further combatting this crucial issue. This is achieved through raising awareness, encouraging further contributions to the website, and arranging additional availability of the resource in schools across the United States/Internationally.

A massive thank you to the Bobby Stafford Bush Foundation for making my attendance to this event possible, it really has made all of the difference.