FTX Hackathon

Student Hackathon Finalists Create App to Help Youth Cope With Mental Health Issues

It's like "Shark Tank," but for teens. This group from Broward County Public Schools hopes they'll be awarded the $1 million that would help them turn their ideas into tangible products.

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Think of it as Shark Tank for teens. The FTX Hackathon Finals are coming up on March 13, so the five South Florida teams are sharpening their pitches.

“During the pandemic, a nationwide crisis of isolation and anxiety has fallen particularly hard on teens,” Chad Jordan said as part of the presentation by Team Eudai.

That’s how this team’s idea was born, an app called Eudai, from the Greek word meaning "to flourish." It would be free to use. The members of the team gathered at Fort Lauderdale High School Monday to practice their chops.

“We thought of our own struggles and what we wish we had during times of low spirits and high stress,” said team member Yewande Shitta-Bey, as graphics from a PowerPoint presentation came up on the screen behind her.

“Eudai works to facilitate coping with these emotions,” said Alexis Buggam, another team member during the pitch.

The three come from different high schools, joined together by this project.

“This is an application that has been developed through personal experience, it’s not just something that we researched, it’s something that we’ve personally undergone,” Chad said.

He’s a senior at Fort Lauderdale High, Yewande is from Broward College Academy, and Alexis goes to Atlantic Technical High School. Each of them has seen mental health needs among their peers.

“High-stress levels, especially with school and maybe even family issues,” Yewande said. “Because of that stress, a lot of students felt like they were lonely, because they didn’t feel like they could turn to each other for help.”

The team members genuinely feel their app, if it comes to fruition, will make a difference.

“It’s gonna foster connection, a lot of the time we feel alone, we feel isolated, and that makes those negative emotions just so much more real,” Alexis said.

By making the finals, each team member has already won a $15,000 scholarship. The big prize is so tantalizing, it’s almost surreal.

“For me, it really hasn’t set in that yes, it’s a million dollars, what’s really set in is that oh my God, we have a chance to make our idea real,” Alexis said.

The winning team gets a million-dollar prize to turn their ideas into tangible products. They will be making their pitches to a panel of judges including baseball icon David Ortiz, Miami Heat legend Udonis Haslem, and Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank.

The competition is a team from Palm Beach County, one from Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, and two from Alonzo and Tracy Mourning High School in North Miami.

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