Designing Solutions for Mental Health Challenges

Tihmily Li, Communications Officer
On Friday, March 3, a team of Grade 7s and a team of Grade 8s represented Greenwood at Future Design School’s Future Prize Challenge, hosted at Upper Canada College. This one-day event gives students the opportunity to create solutions to real world issues. Each group presents their solution at the end of the day. Representing Greenwood on the Grade 7 team were Gabby Hawkings ‘28, Sammy Kimelman ‘28 and Olivia Wang ‘28. The three members of the Grade 8 team were Lauren Avery ‘27, Joshua Monson ‘27 and Chloe Pooley ‘27. 

“At the beginning of the day, there was a speaker who spoke to us about how she started her own business,” says Gabby Hawkings ‘28. “It was inspiring for me to hear from all the speakers and I learned a lot about entrepreneurship.” 

Many guest judges for the Future Prize Challenge also came from various industries. They provided each group with guidance on how to best approach their issue. “One of the judges works at Apple,” says Sammy Kimelman ‘28. “It was great to work on our project with the judges present to observe our progress.”

“The highlight of the day for me was seeing our students come together and work on a challenge that was meaningful to them,” says Roz Bauer-Kong, the supervising teacher of the Grade 7 team. “Our final iteration to consolidate mental health services at Greenwood for Grade 7 and 8 students was to update Greenwood’s The Well to make it a one-stop shop for all mental resources around the school, chat functions and things to say to a peer who might need help.”

The Grade 8 team also focused on mental health. Their solution was to design an app that helps to reduce screen time. The app would provide a weekly analysis of a person’s screen time and allow users to set goals. The team noted the impact that social media had on mental health. “We had just watched Subjects of Desire in class,” says Joshua Monson ‘27. “Social media has a huge impact on young Black women in regards to beauty standards.” 

The Future Prize Challenge was a valuable experience that allowed each group to collaborate and work together. “It was a lot of fun coming up with all kinds of solutions,” says Chloe Pooley ‘27. “We had to ask ourselves if it could work or if it was even possible.” 

The presentations from all other participating school groups also brought more awareness to other issues. “There was a presentation about how students need more sleep and about dangers on the TTC, which I didn’t know about before,” says Lauren Avery ‘27. “Another school presented about food waste,” adds Olivia Wang ‘28. “I learned a lot from today and I would recommend that others try something like this in the future.” All in all, the day was a great success and tested our students’ creativity, teamwork and presentation skills.
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