Q&A With Microgrant Recipient Ashna


Meet 17 year old microgrant recipient Ashna from Austin, TX. Her project, Learn on Your Terms, is inspired by a passion for combating educational disparity. Through her own experience in public education, she was exposed to the gap in educational quality between students from higher and lower income neighborhoods, and through her research, she knows that the disparity can affect job opportunities and future socioeconomic status of the students in low income communities. Learn On Your Terms is a series of divergent elective courses offered to elementary and middle school students through their local library branch that she hopes will empower students to engage in an educational space they are passionate about and comfortable in.

  1. What inspired you to start this project? Our passion for addressing educational inequity after seeing it at our own school.
  2. Other than you, how many student volunteers participated in your service project?  1
  3. Other than you, how many adult volunteers participated in your service project?  1
  4. How many hours did you spend on your project?  78
  5. How many hours did other volunteers spend on your project? 155
  6. How many individuals were affected by your project?  15
  7. During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you?  Kids really like to have snack incentives to come to classes, but once they are there they get really into the subject matter. More kids than expected actually take the lessons seriously and like having something to do other than Fortnite.
  8. Overall what did you learn from this experience? Building a relationship with students through non-course related activities, such as their existing youth council, is crucial. Once they begin to like us as people, they are more willing to come to our lessons and listen to us.
  9. How will your project continue having an impact in the future? We are still hosting courses at the library every Thursday and attending youth council every Wednesday. Additionally, we will talk to our class teacher to see if she can encourage future groups to teach at the local library as well, as the library youth activities coordinator has said that would be a huge help.
  10. How was the K4C microgrant helpful in the completion of your project?  The microgrant allowed us to purchase things not available in the library, such as snacks to incentivize children to attend, stickers for prizes and materials for our lessons. Without the microgrant we would have far less participation and a huge budget constraint on our lessons.

“Below is a picture that we took during one of our lessons! We were helping our students with reading comprehension (an area they had highlighted as a struggle for them) by popcorn reading a futuristic story that included robots in daily life. Throughout the passage, we checked in with our group to make sure they were understanding the material. After reading, we had them draw pictures of what we had covered to test their comprehension in an engaging way.”