The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Be All You offers in-school programs for high school and middle school students to create and pursue passion projects (Photo courtesy of Carter Cygan).

Be All You, an education technology startup, aims to help high school and middle school students create passion projects that support their community. 

Be All You, founded by 2021 Wharton graduate Ryan Pruitt, offers in-school programs led by recruited college students and trained teachers who help students create and pursue passion projects. Students in the program have worked on projects ranging from building mechanical airplanes to mental health initiatives. 

“A passion project can be anything that you work on that puts you in a flow state and brings you happiness,” Pruitt said.  

College sophomore and project leader Carter Cygan currently works at the Be All You in-school program at Albert Greenfield School in Center City. 

“It's been really cool to see kids get very excited about these passion projects,” Cygan said.  “Everything that they're doing right now is really with the focus of lifting up the school and making an impact in their community.” 

According to Cygan, students in the program recently wrapped up running a food drive for Philabundance, a local non-profit food bank. Now, they plan to create a faculty-student game show to promote school spirit.  

Be All You currently runs programs in three schools in North Jersey, with plans to work with Big Picture Philadelphia, a local non-profit organization, in the future. In addition to in-school programs, Be All You also offers a series of virtual boot camps.  

In the future, Be All You will create a “collaborative passion project platform” where students in the in-school programs can connect with participants in the virtual programs to work together on their projects, according to Pruitt.

Though Pruitt first had the idea of a “creator collaborative” platform in high school, taking “Grit Lab: Fostering Passion and Perseverance” with Psychology professor Angela Duckworth during the COVID-19 pandemic motivated him to pursue it further.  

“I realized now's the time to act, because at the time, I knew a lot of [people] who just didn't have action in life. Even myself,’” Pruitt said. “Through taking this class and running these workshops with a bunch of high schoolers, I realized that people could find direction through creating various passion projects.” 

After Pruitt graduated from Penn, he worked for Duckworth, implementing her Grit program in high schools around the country. At the same time, he laid the groundwork for the Be All You program in two high schools in North Jersey. 

“Adolescence is the transition from childhood to adulthood — and during those years, you ask yourself who am I, what are my core values, what do I enjoy, and how do I put this all together and make a difference for other people? Be All You helps teens ask and answer those questions,” said Duckworth in a written statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian.  

On April 27, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Be All You will have a festival in the Hall of Flags in Houston Hall. Students in the program will present about 30 projects, and some will be awarded additional funding. Duckworth will give the keynote speech. 

“I think [Be All You has] made these kids really think about what they want to see and how they can make an impact and affect change on a smaller scale, which hopefully will have a ripple effect as they go on to bigger and better things,” Cygan said.