Creating Impact: Meet Rowyn


At the end of the year, we reflect on how we create impact and empower middle schoolers. Here’s just one story of the amazing students we work with.

You can also donate here to help us finish the year strong!

When middle schooler Rowyn saw a 360° virtual reality video at Camp What If, his heart broke. He saw kids his own age without homes, with nowhere to go. “I was surprised, and felt bad for these people,” he said.


Rowyn had just watched the true story of 11-year-old Oleg, a refugee from Ukraine, who fled his home to avoid violence and war. “Kids were standing in a school classroom full of bomb shells … they’ve gone through a lot,” he said. At Camp What If, Rowyn discovered stories of refugees now living in Akron, Ohio, too—just miles from his own home. “I want to help make their lives easier.”

How’s Rowyn doing it? With What If You Could – the project launching program at TomTod Ideas. He formed a team with friends and we connected him with adult mentors, and together, they’re tackling the international refugee crisis – one of the worst humanitarian crises of the century – with an app.

Rowyn’s calling it Refugee Connect. Just like when we move to a new neighborhood and acclimate to our new home, this app helps refugees make a new home in an unfamiliar land. “We’re connecting refugees to resources,” he said. “I want to help them adjust to the US.”

The app will show new refugees how to get settled in their new areas and where to go if they need help. “If I can help them, then I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something,” Rowyn says with a smile.

TomTod Ideas has a heart for middle schoolers because of kids like Rowyn, who see the needs of hurting people like Oleg and immediately want to help. We connect middle schoolers with mentors and tools to do just that – but we can’t do it alone.

Would you join us in aiding middle schoolers like Rowyn solve humanitarian problems, engage their communities, and take action in the world? By giving today, you’ll be supporting programming like What If You Could that empowers middle schoolers to help those who need it most.

Rowyn isn’t the only middle schooler who’s making a difference. You can hear the inspiring stories of students like Lucy, Nyrii, and Manny (and more!) involved in our other programs, What If 101 and Camp What If, on our Stories page.

Here’s how you can help today:

  • $25 covers the supplies a student like Nyrii needs in a What If 101 cohort for a year
  • $50 covers meals for a camper at Camp What If for one week
  • $200 is seed funding that allows teams like Rowyn’s to launch their projects, giving aid to people and enhancing the common good
  • $350 covers the cost of one scholarship so a middle schooler like Lucy can attend Camp What If

Your gift goes far beyond middle school. When you give today, you connect middle schoolers like Rowyn, Nyrii, Lucy, Manny, and many others to programs that build their strengths, to mentorships where they creatively solve problems, and to resources that build competent, caring lives.

Please consider giving a gift today at

Thank you for your support!

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