The Beginning

What if our ideas became reality?

Growing up in Washington D.C., Menbere Assefa and Michellay Cole are no strangers to the disparities within their community. From a young age, these two young women have cultivated the habit of generating ideas that seek to close the striking gaps they witness daily.

In 2013, they thought of one simple way to give back to their community. Using crowdfunding and social media, they raised funds to provide students in the city with much needed school supplies. Surprised by the overwhelming contributions, they repeated the drive for two more years, supporting low-income families across the District.

But they did not stop there.

As they entered schools and homeless shelters across the city they asked each young person they met with:


“What idea do you have to give back to your community?”

“What is one way in which you can help?”


From feeding the homeless, to cleaning up the environment, to combating drug culture, these young people addressed issues that were part of their reality and hurting their community.


Menbere and Michellay wanted to emphasize to these young people that regardless of their circumstances or their age - their ideas mattered, their ideas were valid, and their ideas could create change.

So what if their ideas could become a reality?



About Project One Way


Project One Way is a non-profit organization that invests in young people’s ideas for their community. Our mission is to provide young people with the expertise, experience and tools to bring their ideas to life. We are committed to showing youth that their ideas matter, and that their ideas can impact the people of the nation’s capital.