Daneyda (Danny) is passionate about school, her mom, and helping others. “Mostly it’s my mother,” she explains. “Because thanks to her I have this great opportunity to be in this place right now and to be studying,” something she acknowledges her mother wasn’t able to do in her home country.
Danny talked recently with Tamera (Tam) Brown, Programs Manager for PIPs Rewards LLC, about her experience thus far as a PIPs for School (P4S) Scholar. A freshman at Baruch College, Danny learned about the P4S Scholars opportunity through RIVER FUND, the poverty-fighting organization where she is a volunteer. RIVER FUND is a Host Partner for the Scholars program.
P4S utilizes the PIPs Rewards App to incentivize students to walk, recycle, volunteer, take public transit, take actions that advance school or career goals, and to be mindful and kind to others. “It’s very creative,” Danny says about the PIPs App. “When you see it, it’s just like you see something good. You feel refreshed just by looking at it.”
“What I thought was really cool,” she continued, “was the… you know, when you scan for transit? How does it understand that I’m on a train or on the bus? I’m like, ‘What’s going on in here?’” Danny was referring to the PIPs App’s use of AI to recognize that you are on a train, bus or subway, or more precisely that you are not in a car, which has a much higher carbon footprint.
The PIPs experience, Danny explains, has made her aware of major environmental challenges like climate change, while also teaching her the value of seemingly small everyday actions like taking the subway or recycling. “These little decisions that we make, actually make a big difference” in what happens to the world.
When asked how she would describe P4S Scholars, Danny explains that it is not like other scholarships that provide just economic help. P4S “is really special…. You can help improve yourself, your inner self, and the things that you can’t even imagine. You can learn to be more aware of nature. You can learn how to be more disciplined with yourself. You can even learn [how] to interact more with people in your community, in your family, and those kinds of things.”
Tam, noting that the PIPs Danny is earning for her positive actions could be converted into a grant that she could use for school related expenses, asked her how she thought she might use her grant money? To which Danny did not hesitate to say “for lots of books….I am studying international business. It’s a big, big, big major… and I will need those books.” Though Danny loves reading, with English as her second language, she knows her studies will take her longer.
Danny’s determination to dream big and work hard, and the way she and Tam connected was so inspiring, that we wanted to share their full conversation here.
Wendy Gordon, President, PIPs Education Fund
March 6, 2023