Dah-Varsity: Bridging the Gap Equitably
One-line solution summary:
Helping law enforcement & at risk populations bridge gaps by making and selling superhero toys that are a reflection of their best selves.
What specific problem are you solving?
The "School to Prison Pipeline" sends vulnerable populations to prison, preventing economic prosperity.
2M students drop out of high school annually.
Blacks' performance on state Math and English tests are up to 50 points behind Whites.
Government-supported diversion programs aim to solve these issues. But community input can help, as exemplified by the numbers above. Lack of economic mobility for disadvantaged populations entices them to engage in criminal activity to achieve economic prosperity.
Local law enforcement community outreach programs haven't bridged the trust gap, because of communication issues. Without trust, it is hard to ensure public safety and effectively reduce adverse law enforcement encounters.
We need training and development tools for students that bring economic incentives to the forefront, in order to reduce involvement with the justice system. Communities and law enforcement need stronger positive relations.
Pitch your solution.
Dah-Varsity is a mobile digital system that empowers people to create their ideal worlds by teaching them marketable skills such as digital storytelling, 3D modeling, audio editing, and entrepreneurship.
By training Law enforcement and Students simultaneously using our Dah-Varsity app, together they can design and model their superhero characters and record their STEAM origin stories. Law enforcement and students can interchange roles and learn more about each other in a superhero-infused universe.
Our approach is to bridge the gap, build skills, and win hearts and minds while culturally relevant and community-responsive. The process uses a concept called Superhero Rap.
Superhero Rap enables people to reenvision their ideal selves and the world they want to live in through STEAM superpowers. We foster growth intelligence and problem-solving skills.
Our solution's stage of development:Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.
We have personally piloted Dah-Varsity with 2000+ Students in Pennsylvania, Maryland, D.C., and Virginia since 2018. Our milestones include:
Conducted CMU-NSF I-Corps research.
We're preparing for the "growth stage" next year by making our programming more accessible, independently delivered, and tailored to our partners' constituents.
Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute is providing our course to reach the adult workforce population
Community College of Allegheny County(CCAC) is offering our workforce course TOYZSTEAM to their students
We've developed TOYZSTEAM with CMU and have pilot projects with BGCWPA, Girls Scouts, and public schools
We have a commitment from the Middlesex County, Massachusetts DA's office
Cambridge Massachusetts Police department has committed to working with us
MIT is delivering our training
MIT The Educational Justice Institute is also providing support for our work in Massachusetts
Where are you based?Pittsburgh, PA, USA