What would you change if you were the President of the United States?

To have a better future, we must imagine it first, together.



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A K-12 lesson plan, presentation, and discussion template grounds this project in a discussion of civic engagement and art as a tool for change and correlates to National Common Core Standards.




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Here’s what the future has to say.

About this project.


120 young people across America were all asked what they would you change if they were the President of the United States. The resulting short film (bit.ly/presidentfilm) captures what they had to say - they want to protect the Earth, impose stricter gun laws, better fund education, have free and accessible health care, fight poverty, stop all war, end racism, open immigration, and of course they were also funny!

But, more than anything else, they want us to move past what separates us to treat one another with kindness and respect and unite as one.

About our journey.

The discovery that launched this project was a worksheet I found in November 2017 from when I was seven years old and a recent immigrant to the United States from Ukraine.


In April 2018, I traveled across America with filmmaker Aimee Hoffman, asking 120 young people of different ages and backgrounds what they would change if they were the President of the United States.


We started filming in San Francisco, and continued to Boulder, Colorado; New Orleans, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Canfield, Girard, and Warren, all in Ohio where we were joined by filmmaker Kelly Teacher, and we ended the journey together in the Bronx and Manhattan.

San Francisco, California

We spoke with 7th graders at The Hamlin School, a prestigious K-8 girls-only school whose yearly tuition is $34,500, with the school committed to socioeconomic diversity by providing financial assistance to 24% of the student body.

The Bay Area is on the frontlines of gentrification and a widening wealth gap, with a report by the UN referring to the treatment of its homeless population as “cruel and inhuman treatment and a violation of multiple human rights.”

 Kennedy, 13 years old

Kennedy, 13 years old

 Jake, 13 years old

Jake, 13 years old

Boulder, Colorado

We spoke with 8th graders at Summit Middle School, which was founded in 1996 as the first charter school in the district and named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, the highest national award given in education. (I’m a Class of 2004 alumni.)

Boulder is an idyllic city at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains that consistently gets top rankings for health, well-being, and quality of life, and residents often refer to it as “a liberal bubble.”

New Orleans, Louisiana

We spoke with high school students at Cohen College Prep, a charter school like most public schools after Hurricane Katrina.

The inner-city high school recently made news for its students protesting gun violence after a student was shot in the head the day before Mardi Gras and staff layoffs which caused issues like substitute teachers teaching the same lesson every day for months.

 Daut’e, 17 years old

Daut’e, 17 years old

 Carl and Pera

Carl and Pera

Nashville, Tennessee

We spoke with 3rd and 4th graders at Purpose Preparatory Academy, a K-4 free-to-attend charter school that accelerates the achievement of economically disadvantaged students.

The five-year-old school ranks in the top 5% of schools in the state of Tennessee for academic performance.

Canfield, Girard, and Warren, Ohio

We spoke with first graders at C.H. Campbell Elementary, 4th-6th graders at Girard Intermediate Middle School, and juniors and seniors at Warren G. Harding High, all public schools in the Youngstown area, which was once a center of U.S. steel production, but the area fell into decline in 1977 when a major factory closed and 40,000 people lost their manufacturing jobs.

Ohio is now one of the top five states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths, with Youngstown frequently featured in editorials about the crisis.

 First graders at CH Campbell Elementary in Canfield, Ohio

First graders at CH Campbell Elementary in Canfield, Ohio

Bronx and New York City, New York

We spoke with teenagers at Educational Alliance, a Jewish organization that brings together diverse communities in Lower Manhattan and runs a Teen Center committed “to empowering New York City teens to achieve their full potential.” We also spoke with the 8th grade robotics team at St. Theresa School, an Archdiocesan Catholic school that serves a predominantly Italian community in the Bronx.

 Genesis at Educational Alliance in Lower Manhattan

Genesis at Educational Alliance in Lower Manhattan