Sixto Cancel founded Think of Us, a non-profit dedicated to innovating with data, technology and multi-media to serve vulnerable population. As a Dell Youth Innovation Advisor, Sixto leads a working committee that focuses on the learning of vulnerable youth populations. He is a Young Fellow with Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative who is passionate about advocating for our youth. He is serving on the integration team at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and has participated in several White House briefings around technology, foster care, and LGBTQ issues. He has been recognized as a White House Champion of Change and as a Millennial Maker by BET. He was also named as one of the Top 24 Changemakers under 24 in the country by the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council and Sparkaction. As a policy council member, he provides recommendations to the acting assistant secretary of the Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He also currently serves on the board of directors for the National Foster Care Coalition, The North American Council on Adoptable Children. Sixto also has served as a Youth Thrive Expert Panel at the Center for the Study of Social Policy and as advisory member to the American Institutes for Research LGBTQQA Advisory Board. Sixto has appeared on NPR’s “Tell Me More,” Fox News, the Katie Couric show, and the Huffington Post.
i am ME. Statements
i am beautiful. i am thoughtful. i am brave.
GETTING TO KNOW SIXTO
Tell us about how your organization is impacting the way we think about education?
A lot of the kids we work with were not planning on continuing their education and might not be as well prepared as their peers. We are focused on making sure that we are providing the content, tools and resources so that young people can interact with their supportive adults.
Can you share with the i am ME. audience some of the statistics that aren’t familiar to us when we talk about the unique population you are focused on?
Those who did not have access to education have a harder time graduating and receiving a college education. We see by the age of 26, less than 2.5% have received a four year degree.
Can you share with us a couple of major events that took place in your life helping you become a thought leader?
The consist willingness of some of the teachers I had who helped me in both school and my personal life. They looked at me holistically, which helped me feel like I could fit in somewhere.
What gives you the greatest fulfillment as you look forward at education over the next decade?
The personalized learning environment. However, we have a lot more to do in how we incorporate technology because education is the gateway to live a more prosperous lifestyle.
As we know from the research behind having a growth mindset, we learn the most in the situations that push us outside our comfort zone. Can you tell us a story of a time that you persevered through a then challenging situation which now serves as a great life lesson?
Junior year of high school in my english class, I always had lots of corrections in which I became very defiant in class. Even with that, I understood I needed to work on my writing. When I left for college, I was able to receive tutoring to help me succeed as I started my college journey.
SECRETS TO SUCCESS
In all the things you’ve observed, can you tell us a story of something you’ve witnessed that gives you confidence that personalized learning will transform education?
Walking through Warrior Tech Academy is something everyone should take a look at. No matter the struggle these students are facing at home, when they come into the classroom, they are inspired to continue their education with their dreams to become something awesome.
Imagine you are standing amongst a room full of people who are influencing education – just like you when you started your personalized learning journey. They too have fears, worries and doubts as they struggle to find their footing. What one strategy would you suggest they apply every day that would result in powerful outcomes?
It doesn’t take much to create voice and choice for young people. It takes openness of your mind and the ability to listen.
Looking back at everything you’ve accomplished, if you were to do it again, what is one thing you would do differently?
Besides wishing I paid more attention to learn to better my writing skills, I would not take anything back.
i am ME.
Would you please share with our audience your “i am ME.” statements?
i am beautiful. i am thoughtful. i am brave.
CONNECTING WITH SIXTO