As youth, parents, education professionals, we’ve experienced the role that passion and decision-making play in igniting young people’s pursuit of learning — and the damaging impact their absence has. Again and again, we’ve heard from youth who talked about deep interests, goals, and plans but who were stuck in environments where they were told what, when, and how to learn at nearly every turn.
GripTape grew out of these conversations and began blossoming in 2015. Our first official board meeting took place with several college and high school students from across the country hopping on a video call with staff to rally around a challenge: Young people feel like they are in the back seat of their education and learning. And with this single conversation, dreams were already forming as we imagined a world where all youth are seizing and driving their learning, and have the passion, supports, and resources to do it. In those first few meetings, we set a course to go after solutions!
Since then, we have done so much. Most famously, GripTape has enacted its signature Learning Challenge. Youth get the opportunity to apply for financial help to support whatever learning endeavors they wish to pursue — driven by their interests and passions. And linked to their definition of success. Computers have been built, clothing lines have been created, animals have been saved, and minds have been set free from the restraints that are so often placed upon young people.
Education is a beautiful part of life, and GripTape works to put youth in the driver’s seat of learning so they can explore as they please and light up their hearts and minds. Everyone says young people are the future, but GripTape actually places them in the position to become the future now.