Nicholas Midler USA, 17

project: The Family Connection Kindercamp
basic human NEEDS: EDUCATION

Theme Song: "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong

Spending five years of his childhood living in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Nicholas was exposed to the educational and economic challenges the territories faced. At a young age, he recognized the link between the two, and that strengthening their education system could empower the next generation to break the cycle of poverty. On the Islands, less than half of students enter kindergarten with the basic skills to get through the year. He created The Family Connection Kindercamp, an annual six-week summer program to give kids on the Islands the experience and skills they need to succeed academically. Since early education paves the way for a student’s academic career, Nicholas thought he could make the greatest impact by focusing on young children. Growing each year in size, Kindercamp has completed three programs with close to 200 children. After thorough research, Nicholas designed a successful innovative child-led learning style and curriculum for the camp. The Kindercamp’s positive influence on the education system continues throughout the entire school year. Instructors from Kindercamp have changed their approach to teaching, many even implementing Nicholas’s curriculum in their own classrooms. Teachers have also reported a great improvement in behavior and academic performance from students who have attended Nicholas’s program. This year, he plans to expand to more underserved communities, and eventually offer year-round after-school programs.