What I Wish You Knew Contest: Teens Can Win $1,000 for Their Favorite Nonprofit

If you are a teen in northeastern Illinois looking to help a favorite nonprofit, here’s an easy way to earn $1,000 for the organization.

Send an essay, photos and/or video explaining why the organization is worthy of support to Rotary District 6440’s What I Wish You Knew contest.

It’s that simple. You tell potential funders why they should support a great cause and create a win/win/win in the process.

  • Win for you because you get to express yourself and do good.
  • Win for the nonprofit (even if it doesn’t win the $1,000) because you create another opportunity for others to learn about the organization.
  • Win for the Rotary because they learn about other excellent nonprofits and about you.

Students in the 71 clubs within the footprint of Rotary District 6440 are eligible. A full list of clubs can be found on the Rotary’s website.

The contest is the brainchild of Rotarian and long-time youth advocate Sharon Weingarten. Through decades of experience as a teacher and social worker, she understands the importance of empowering youth to speak their own minds and learn that they can make a difference for others.

“Asking smart questions gets youth to open up,” Weingarten explains. “Kids are good. I see them wanting to make a difference but not have a clue how to do so.”

Weingarten founded the website WhatIWishYouKnew.com in order to give voice to more youth. She is working closely with Rotary Head of Youth Services for District 6440 Vera Mayer to facilitate the contest. A panel of judges will determine the winner, who will be announced in April at the 2017 Rotary District 6440 conference and covered by Make It Better Media. The contest deadline is Jan. 15.


Vera Mayer, Casey Luc and Sharon Weingarten

Additional contest details can be found here.

Kudos to Weingarten and the Rotary for initiating the contest. Make It Better is proud to be a media sponsor and help empower youth, grow support for outstanding nonprofits, and strengthen the community.


Angelique Ndamage and Casey Luc, Weingarten’s assistants. Ndamage attended Evanston Township High School and currently attends graduate school in Paris. Luc, Weingarten’s assistant, attended Glenbrook North and is currently a student at George Washington University, where he is studying Global Public Health.

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