Thanks to underwriting by Big Shoulders Fund, students were able to participate in five unique experiences: the youth kickoff event, a lab about visual notetaking at Ink Factory, a lab about emerging technologies and financial planning at PWC, a speaker series on the topic of fear with the opportunity to meet comedian Chris Gethard and Ideas Day, the premier event with a series of speakers followed by dialogue with other youth.
For the students chosen to participate, Chicago Ideas was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Chicago Ideas was a really fun experience and a learning adventure. When I first heard of Chicago Ideas, I was really excited to participate because I was going to meet new people and role models. After the first trip, I felt really motivated, like I could do more than I thought, and I believed in myself to do better things. The people in these events were filled with great talents and thoughts, which I learned from and changed my perspective on different things. Film director Jimmy Chin showed me how to stay motivated and manage fear. When I grow up, I also want to be a successful entrepreneur like him. Fear for me is now an indicator that I'm trying something new and probably being successful. I used to take fear as a bad sign of what I'm doing is wrong but now I see it as a motivator to try even harder.
— Cristian Casimiro
Chicago Ideas Week was like a breath of fresh air because, as a student, I have never been exposed to such an experience. I really enjoyed the networking aspect of it. I was able to break out of my shell and meet new people and ask different questions. I am grateful for the opportunity to go to Chicago Ideas Week. I do believe that these events should be exposed to more students because it gives them a broader view of the way the world is evolving with technology and creative ideas. One of the perks that I got out of Chicago Ideas Week was being able to recognize that my voice does matter and that I can achieve a lot if I put the effort forward.
— Ariana Nelson
I got to leave classes that showed equations and words to go out to the real world and do something a little different for a while. Chicago Ideas really was an eye-opener on how to think and what to do, and it taught me things from how to network to how to be creative. I was selected by my teachers, which was really amazing, and I got to connect with my peers more and have fun at different places. Now I've been talking more, which is something else I got out of Chicago Ideas. It started off with eating chicken wings and macaroni and cheese, being shy, not wanting to go talk to students from other schools, and it ended with me having an amazing conversation with someone who ended up being Dominican just like me because I learned how to network.
— Marco Nova