Prudential Emerging Visionaries Look Book

Page 1





Congratulations to the 2022 Prudential Emerging Visionaries

We are proud to celebrate these 25 young people from across the country for their inspiring commitment to improving the lives of others. Prudential Emerging Visionaries, a collaboration between Prudential Financial and Ashoka with advisory support from the Financial Health Network, is an evolution of Prudential’s Spirit of Community Awards – a program, which over 26 years, honored more than 150,000 young volunteers across the United States.

We honor this inaugural class of Emerging Visionaries for projects ranging from

addressing needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, combating economic

inequality, advocating for inclusion, and closing the digital divide. These young

changemakers were selected based on our criteria: their solution is innovative; it can create meaningful impact in the future and can scale to a wider community; it demonstrates a deep understanding of the issue; and it inspires the visionary to lead or take action and motivates others to do the same.

Outside the United States, Spirit of Community continues to operate in countries where Prudential has a significant business presence including Brazil, China, India and Japan.

The 2022 Class of Prudential Emerging Visionaries was selected for work in two categories: Financial Solutions for a Changing World and Societal Solutions for a Changing World.

Financial Solutions for a

Changing World

Ella Gupta Ella Gupta, 17, of Raleigh, North Carolina, started the “Initiative for Financial Literacy Exploration” to address gender economic inequality by empowering young women to gain self-confidence and invest in themselves through financial education. By providing free workshops, lectures and resources, her initiative creates a safe space for young women to learn about money management.

Ella has worked as a consultant to over 300 personal finance and leadership teams, helping them adapt their classrooms to better engage younger generations. Her book on personal finance and investing, and its corresponding curriculum have been implemented in 120 schools, reaching more than 10,000 students. She is currently leading an online campaign to guarantee financial education for all high school students.

Isaac Hertenstein Isaac Hertenstein, 16, of Greencastle, Indiana, founded “Students Teaching Finance,” an initiative that empowers high school-aged changemakers to teach the importance of financial education to K-8 students to promote financial inclusion in his rural community. The program is modeled for students globally through its website and the initiative has an open-source curriculum, making it a collaborative creation. Isaac works to maintain and augment the inclusivity of their resources by tailoring lessons to a range of developmental levels and backgrounds.

In 2020, Isaac started this initiative after witnessing the stark wealth gap impacting his community firsthand. “The financial discrepancies in my community sickened me, and I pondered a potential solution,” he explained. To date, “Students Teaching Finance” has brought its lessons to over 325 students with all participants reporting that they are now more motivated to invest and save.

Rachel Holmes Rachel Holmes, 19, of San Jose, California, started “Black Girls Mean Business,” a career development and networking program for Black high school girls that fosters the skills and confidence needed to become successful in their careers — ultimately increasing their representation in the corporate world. “Since I want to be a businesswoman myself, I’ve become aware of the daunting lack of representation in the field,” she said.

The program includes virtual courses, hands-on learning, networking opportunities with professionals and university-led workshops. Participants reported that they overwhelmingly enjoyed the program and felt better prepared to take on a business career. Rachel wants to expand the program’s reach and offerings, providing year-round programming and opportunities such as college tours and internships.

Sahana Mantha Sahana Mantha, 15, of Charlotte, North Carolina, co-founded “Foundation for Girls,” which empowers mothers experiencing homelessness, connecting them with long-term coaches who accompany them on their journey to financial health and economic security. Working alongside her sister, the project focuses on supporting women to be financially savvy, career confident, digitally capable and socially connected.

“I began my journey by understanding the issues in my community to learn about the root causes of issues impacting women and children,” she said. Over the past six years, “Foundation for Girls” has impacted more than 2,500 single mothers and their children experiencing homelessness in nine states through group workshops, coaching and care packs.

Faaris Zuberi Faaris Zuberi, 17, of Rockville, Maryland, is a leader of “Financial Literacy Introduction Program,” which offers financial literacy to student members of the Youth Economic Initiative — the largest coalition of economics clubs worldwide — to help young people prepare for the real world. Faaris was surprised to learn that many adults lack financial skills, and in response, he co-designed the initiative’s peer-to-peer program to distribute financial literacy content to youth on a national scale.

The initiative works with students in grades seven to 12 and covers important topics like budgeting, loans, credit, taxes, investing and retirement. The program has hosted over 30 training sessions and distributed its curriculum to more than 70 clubs.


Solutions for a Changing World

Jonah Basi

Jonah Basi, 17, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, founded “MangroLife” to restore South Florida’s waterways through planting hundreds of mangrove trees, which provide natural filtration and habitat. He also organizes community efforts to remove trash and create a cleaner environment.

The waterways, which used to teem with life, from bottlenose dolphins to blue crabs, have filled with polluted water, plastic and invasive species.

The problem grew close to home for Jonah when his family moved into their new home and the waterways became his backyard. Since October 2020, Jonah has organized 90 different community events, ranging from small-group trash cleanups to park restoration projects that have removed 1,800 pounds of trash from local ecosystems, while planting hundreds of mangrove trees across South Florida.

Amelie Beck Amelie Beck, 16, of Louisville, Kentucky, co-founded “MedTechConnect,” a health accessibility initiative that offers senior citizens personalized training, support and simplified technology solutions. When COVID-19 vaccines became available in 2021, many older residents were relieved, but could not easily access them due to digital hurdles. Amelie and her cousin offered their help, which led to the creation of “MedTechConnect.” Now, clients requesting health assistance can call in, and a team member will follow up to assess their needs, share easy-to-follow resources and help them make the necessary appointments.

In the last year, Amelie and her team have assisted over 2,100 people in getting vaccinated and trained more than 500 people in telehealth, while supporting the launch of similar initiatives around the country. They have also advocated for improvements to the vaccine distribution infrastructure at the federal and state levels.

Jordyn Cambeiro

Jordyn Cambeiro, 16, of Henderson, Nevada, is the creator of “Empowering Immigrants.” Jordyn’s initiative helps Spanish-speaking students access supplementary language-learning resources to grow their English proficiency.

Jordyn was inspired to start this project by her grandfather, who emigrated from Cuba to the United States without speaking much English. “My Abuelo used to sing to my Tia a Spanish/English song about a pencil, pen and paper. I was thinking that it was the repetition of the words that helped my Tia learn English,” Jordyn explained. “Empowering Immigrants” aims to support people like Jordyn’s grandfather, who lacked access to English-learning resources, partnering with schools with mostly Spanish-speaking students to provide teachers with free flashcards tailored to their curriculum and age groups.

Esther Chan Esther Chan, 16, of Honolulu, Hawaii, founded “Cyber Safe Seniors,” an initiative that educates older adults on how to protect themselves from cybercrime. Esther’s platform offers video courses and more than 40 resources on staying safe online — covering topics such as how to recognize online scams and create strong passwords. The content is free and self-paced and uses relevant, real-world scenarios.

Esther was inspired to start this initiative after she learned about the extent of cybersecurity threats on the internet and how older adults are especially vulnerable to these attacks. She has since partnered with local nonprofit organizations and senior centers to spread the word and engage seniors with the content. Esther is planning to expand her initiative’s reach by creating more how-to tutorials for a national audience.

Kayli Joy Cooper Kayli Joy Cooper, 17, of Studio City, California, created “Girl Well” to make self-care accessible for teenage girls facing displacement, transition or homelessness. The organization’s carefully curated self-care kits emphasize physical, emotional and mental wellness, featuring items like fuzzy socks, affirmation cards, self-care books and hotline information.

“I started ‘Girl Well’ because I saw an equity gap and knew it needed to be filled. I know there can be change in the world and it starts with me,” Kayli said. In under a year, “Girl Well” distributed more than 365 kits in five different states to girls ages 13 to 18.

Sayers Grooms Sayers Grooms, 16, of Gainesville, Florida, created “Watch Me Run,” a nonprofit organization that enables those living with impaired balance access to Frame Running — an innovative sport that allows people with disabilities the opportunity to run freely.

Sayers noticed that people with disabilities are often overlooked when it comes to accessing health and fitness equipment tailored to their needs. “Being able to run on a running frame changed my life,” she shared, talking about how Frame Running transformed her mobility. “I felt so free, and I was eager to share the experience with others.” Sayers wanted to spread this life-changing sport and founded “Watch Me Run” to give other kids the chance to access Frame Runners. So far, the initiative has raised more than $80,000 to increase awareness and help eliminate financial barriers to participate in the sport.

Isabella Hanson Isabella Hanson, 16, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, started “I Matter” to give young people a platform to advocate for social justice and equality through creative expression. The project runs poetry and art contests, Juneteenth events and workshops for students of all backgrounds, creating a place for their voices to be heard and inviting them to share powerful messages about racial justice.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Isabella wanted young voices to be part of the national conversation. “I Matter came from pain, but I am working with youth to advocate for change,” she says. So far, the initiative has reached young people in over 42 states and 30 countries, and more than 800 students have participated in the contests.

Aaron Li

Aaron Li, 17, of Portland, Oregon, is the co-founder of “Project Lotus,” an initiative to destigmatize mental health in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. The organization employs community blogs, mental health webinars, podcasts and curated resources to empower AAPI voices and bridge the intergenerational gap on mental health topics by bringing parents and teachers into the conversation.

The organization was started with the goal of providing culturally relevant mental health care to AAPI community members. “I opened up to my friend Daniel about personally struggling with the ‘model minority’ stereotype,” Aaron explained. “Recognizing that many of our peers experienced the same pressures, we decided to change this narrative within our community and create an open dialogue about mental health.” The organization reaches community members across 23 states and nine countries.

Chris Matthews Chris Matthews, 14, of McDonough, Georgia, is the creator of the “Blanket Box Project,” a social enterprise that aims to provide free blankets to children dealing with challenging situations and empower young changemakers to share these blankets with others facing hard times.

When Chris was 5, his mother tragically lost his baby sister during pregnancy. Chris decided to redirect his grief to give back and spread positivity. He came up with this initiative to offer children comfort and security through blankets. “Donating blankets helped me cope with my baby sister’s loss and has become a lifestyle for my family and me. Through this work, I found purpose, and now I want to help other kids experience the power of generosity,” he said. The project offers starter kits filled with materials to make two blankets and empowers other young people to take part in making, donating and selling these blankets.

Arun Moorthy Arun Moorthy, 17, of Scottsdale, Arizona, created “HealthAI,” a collection of mobile health care apps that tackle health inequity by providing education, affordable screenings and access to preventative medicine, all with the touch of a button. The initiative has developed apps like the “COVID-19 Risk Profiler” — used by health care providers to prescreen patients for the virus. Arun then talks with health care professionals and patients so he can tailor the apps for the users they serve and educate clients on operating the products and incorporating them into a clinical workflow. For instance, in response to rising mental health needs, he upgraded the Risk Profiler to also screen for depression and anxiety.

Arun was inspired by several eye-opening experiences, including a medical trip that taught him about the complexity of health inequity, and coding challenges that revealed the power of teamwork to take on complex problems. The initiative’s Risk Profiler has screened over 4,500 immunocompromised oncology patients, and approximately 80% of clinic staff feel their work environment is safer as a result.

Naomi Porter Naomi Porter, 17, of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, founded “EntrepreYOUership” to make entrepreneurial education more accessible, equipping the next generation of innovators with skills and startup funds to launch their own businesses. Founded on the idea that “you can do it too,” “EntrepreYOUership” includes free workshops, funding opportunities, mentorship and individualized coaching.

Participants learn everything from managing cash flow to interpreting financial data and writing a business plan. “Very little of what I learn during school hours prepares me for these real-life business challenges, which is why I launched this project to provide resources and support for youth,” Naomi explained. The organization has 141 ambassadors from 35 countries, and the curriculum has been translated into five languages. The project has served 3,300 young innovators.

Tavish Sharma Tavish Sharma, 18, of Libertyville, Illinois, created “Solve Hunger Corp,” a free mobile app that connects food pantries and soup kitchens with members of the wider community. As food insecurity rose during the pandemic, Tavish realized many people wanted to help but didn’t know how.

His free Solve Hunger app connects users to food banks and soup kitchens in their community, allowing them to contribute money or food. Food banks can also post sign-ups for volunteer shifts and fundraisers. “Solve Hunger Corp” now serves over 85,000 people through 50 food banks, pantries and kitchens in 13 states across the country.

Anya Shukla Anya Shukla, 19, of Bellevue, Washington, co-created “The Colorization Collective.” Her initiative created “by teens of color for teens of color” promotes diversity in the arts by providing young artists with opportunities to showcase their work, build their professional skills and get matched with mentors who look like them. The organization also works to raise the visibility of established artists of color and improve racial equity at other art nonprofit organizations.

After speaking with peers and drawing on personal experiences, Anya realized that teens of color were underrepresented in the arts, and she became committed to tackling the barriers to advancement they faced, such as microaggressions and a lack of access. “I realized that I have been immersed in the arts — dancing, singing, writing, and acting for most of my life — yet never truly felt like I belonged,” she said. Now, “The Colorization Collective” hosts chapters in three states and supports over 100 artists from 11 states and four countries.

Sriya Tallapragada

Sriya Tallapragada, 15, of New Providence, New Jersey, created “Girls Who STEAM.” The organization works to close the gender gap in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) fields, empowering young women to pursue these subjects through creative workshops and lifelong mentorship opportunities.

Sriya wants to see a more inclusive and diverse field. “From TV shows to Halloween costumes, I never understood why there were no women in STEM representation in the media,” she said. “I was equally as confused when boys laughed at me after sharing that I wanted to be an astronaut, or when one of my childhood best friends told me that as a girl, I could only be a nurse. Unfortunately, these negative stereotypes [have] been impressed in most children’s minds since kindergarten.” Sriya has worked with more than 4,000 girls through over 17 chapters worldwide to change these narratives.

Jonathan Tamen

Jonathan Tamen, 17, of Miami Beach, Florida, started “Helping Hands MB” to provide 3D-printed prosthetics for children in Haiti. The goal of the organization is to reduce the stigma around disabilities and give children greater mobility.

Jonathan came up with the project after he and his brother used their 3D-printing equipment to make face shields for doctors and nurses at the start of the pandemic. Realizing the power of this technology to make a positive impact, Jonathan decided to teach these printing skills to his peers so they could develop prosthetics for children. So far, two children have been fitted with their prosthetics, and nearly 400 student participants have signed up to build these devices. Jonathan hopes to have another 10 prosthetics printed soon.

Khloe Thompson Khloe Thompson, 15, of Yorba Linda, California, started “PeachTree Pads,” a reusable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional menstruation products to ensure both environmental and personal health. “PeachTree Pads” is on a mission to help eliminate female hygiene waste by developing an all-natural pad that is safe to use and chemical-free, unlike many single-use pads on the market. Khloe also aspires to tackle period poverty and its social consequences by offering a more affordable product in the long run and generating awareness around the environmental impact of single-use products.

Khloe has developed a durable and comfortable prototype, collecting feedback from her community on feasibility, durability, quality and public perception. She is in the manufacturing stage now as she meets with both potential suppliers and buyers to help bring her prototype to life and to stores.

Arnav Tripathi Arnav Tripathi, 18, of Cumming, Georgia, founded the “Georgia Homework Help Hotline,” an organization that supports individuals in obtaining their GEDs through its free website, where they can live chat with a tutor, submit a problem for help or sign up for weekly tutoring.

Arnav was inspired to start the hotline after realizing how important a GED is for accessing employment and a well-paying salary, leading to an approximate 25% increase in salary opportunities for GED graduates on average. Homework Help Hotline aims to tackle the educational and economic barriers that prevent people from getting their GED. Arnav is partnering with local nonprofit organizations to spread awareness of the initiative and is looking to expand nationally in the near future.

Arthur Wang

Arthur Wang, 17, of Columbia, Maryland, started the “COVID Teacher Care Kits Initiative,” to deliver free, handmade mask kits to teachers and staff. The kits include 20 colorful, course-themed mask designs and accessories, offering practical and moral support to teachers. “I observed how much effort and time my teachers put into keeping the virtual, hybrid and in-person classrooms full of positivity and engagement,” Arthur said. “I wanted to do something for them.”

So far, the project has delivered more than 1,300 kits to 62 schools across Maryland, and 42 students from 12 schools are taking part in the project. One teacher wrote to the group saying, “Thank you so much for making the masks and providing them to the ELMS teachers. This has been a rough year, but these moments bring clarity and love and remind me why I am a teacher.”

Stephanie Wang

Stephanie Wang, 18, of Katy, Texas, founded “Project Unmasked,” an initiative to increase students’ access to public health education through a combination of educational resources and advocacy work. Stephanie offers an engaging curriculum to classrooms, including her book, which explains why and how diseases occur in friendly, accessible terms. She has also been working with legislators to make public health education a requirement statewide.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Stephanie was struck by how “no community was exempt” from rapidly spreading misinformation, and she set out to address the crisis. “Coming out of a pandemic that shook the world, it is wise to make public policy changes according to the difficult lessons that we learned,” she said. Currently, Stephanie’s advocacy has reached more than 70,000 people, and her book and curriculum are used in four states and two countries.

Elise Zeigler

Elise Zeigler, 17, of St. Louis, Missouri, established “Selah Textiles,” to create financial opportunities for women immigrants, refugees and underserved individuals through the production of screen-printed textiles. The business offers these women an opportunity to design and print towels, tote bags and greeting cards, with the profits going to local organizations serving immigrant populations.

Elise wants the project to be an introduction to business management for the participants. The organization currently employs 11 women from six countries, and Elise is hoping to pass on leadership of the organization to one of these employees once the project has become self-sustaining.

International Award Recipients


Priscila Brito Priscila Brito, 17, of Minas Gerais, Brazil, started a distance-learning tutoring program to support students who were having difficulties with school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over time, the program has evolved to include a literacy course for young people and adults, as well as a preparatory course for a national exam. Priscila partnered with businesses in her community to provide gifts to her program’s students, and arranged a plane ride for high-performing participants to deliver some of the gifts. To date, Priscila’s tutoring program has directly served approximately 2,000 people.


Luiza Brunelli Bührer Luiza Brunelli Bührer, 17, of São Paulo, Brazil, developed a science and math course designed to keep girls in public schools interested and engaged in STEM topics, and to provide opportunities for cultural exchange with students in other Brazilian states. Bothered by the lack of female representation in her STEM studies, Luiza created MC² -Meninas na Ciência ao Quadrado (Girls in Science Squared). Powered by more than 150 volunteers, the program has attracted more than 1,100 young participants over the last two years. Luiza has big plans for the future, including workshops, shorter courses and open events.


Saburi Chopra

Saburi Chopra, 17, of New Delhi, India, started an initiative called “Project Saksham” to raise awareness about the inequalities faced by people with intellectual and physical disabilities. As part of her project, Saburi regularly holds workshops and mentoring sessions. Since starting her initiative in 2016, Saburi has reached more than 500 young people through her efforts.


Sidhant Sharma Sidhant Sharma, 17, of Mumbai, India, founded “Get Set Learn” and “Get Set Read,” two initiatives designed to bridge the digital divide among children in India. Sidhant began his work toward educational equity in 2019 by developing digital content and resources designed for read-aloud activities. Noting the tremendous gap in access to resources for online learning during the pandemic, Sidhant secured support from corporations and a nonprofit organization to raise nearly Rs 10 million – funds that helped to provide students in need with close to 10,000 tablets.


Yuto Nakamura Yuto Nakamura, 17, of Higashi Kurume, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan, has rallied dozens of students since July 2020 to support people experiencing homelessness and other hardships by donating rice balls once or twice a month. He secured the support of a nonprofit organization, parents and a school to gather equipment and facilities for the project. Through this experience, Yuto gained confidence in his ability to work through obstacles by teaming up with donors and volunteers. He is enthusiastic to expand the scope of his project.


Yura Yoshida Yura Yoshida, 17, of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, supports families dealing with hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic by helping to organize a “Children’s Cafeteria” on a daily basis, in addition to running a donation bank with food and other essentials. Three times a year, Yura and her fellow high school volunteers take charge of all elements of planning and managing the cafeteria, including deciding on a menu, purchasing groceries, cooking, and planning fun activities in addition to study sessions.


A heartfelt congratulations to all the participants from China. At the time of printing, the honorees from China have not been named. We look forward to celebrating them in the months to come.

For more information, visit

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.