Hi, I’m Malaina Mote and I am a FutureMaker. I have been with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the FutureMakers Coalition, since 2017. As the Head of Empowerment and Social Mobility, I work closely with students and equity within Southwest Florida. In my work with students, I strategically use data to make sure the Foundation’s scholarship process is as equitable as possible and that every student has an equal chance. I ensure equity within our scholarship process from the design of the application, the technology used and the way applications are reviewed. As an active member of the FutureMakers Coalition’s Access and Entry Team, I partner with Tessa LeSage, Amanda Sterk, Kelly Thawley and other community leaders who work closely with students on numerous student-focused events, such as our annual Student Summit and DREAM Summit. Student Summit is essential for the FutureMakers Coalition to collect and fully understand the student voice. DREAM Summit is important to encourage and motivate our most at-risk youth to pursue their postsecondary dreams and goals. I am also an active member of the FutureMakers Coalition’s Equity Action Team and am a facilitator of the FutureMakers Coalition Implicit Bias Conversations.
During these uncertain times, it is important to not lose the student voice. Recently, I created and distributed a survey that asks students about how COVID-19 has impacted them. So far, we are learning that students need financial assistance, food assistance, access to the internet and social connection. Some students are stuck in an apartment, alone, without the means to get home to be with their families. We also know that some students do not have a computer to complete online work, previously relying on their campus libraries that have been closed since March. Some students had to dropout of school completely. According to the responses so far, many students feel support from their community, but do not feel the same support from their school. We can use information provided from this survey to help our efforts in making sure our students complete the certificates and degrees needed to start their careers and become valued members of the workforce. Students can fill out the survey by clicking: