things that matter

These Latina Teens Invented A High-Tech Tent, But It’s Not For Fancy Camping Trips

A group of 12 Latina teens from San Fernando High School in Southern California have invented a solar-powered tent that has insulated fabric, solar panels, a safety locking system and even includes a UV sanitizing system.

This tent is sure to be the envy of camping enthusiasts everywhere, but it wasn’t invented for folks that camp out in the elements for fun. It was invented for those who don’t have the means to live anywhere other than on the streets: the homeless.

This group of caring student engineers is the only all-female team out of 15 teams to be awarded a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant from the Massachusettes Institute of Technology to develop their invention. The grants are awarded to teams of “high school students, educators, and mentors that receive up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their own choosing.”

Homelessness, the real-world problem the girls chose to find a solution to, hits close to home because last year, the San Fernando Valley saw a rise in the homeless population. The tent was created to serve this population in particular. “It’s not about us. It’s not about what we do or how great we can be. It’s what we can do to make this world a better place for these people, a better place for everyone,” says 12th-grader and team member Maggie Mejia.

What’s next for these socially conscious teenage inventors? They would like to head to Cambridge, Mass. in June to present their invention at EurekaFest with all the other InvenTeams, but money is an issue. The girls come from low-income families that can’t afford the cost of the trip. They’re not giving up, though and are determined to raise the funds they need to head to Boston.

They need to raise a minimum of $15,000 to get themselves to Boston. You can help by donating to their GoFundMe page here.


Find out more about the all-female high school engineering team here.

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If The Undocumented Continue To Work In These Conditions, It Could Create A Security Threat To The U.S.'s Food Supply

things that matter

If The Undocumented Continue To Work In These Conditions, It Could Create A Security Threat To The U.S.’s Food Supply

Charlton Clemens / Bread for the World / Flickr

It turns out that if farm workers are treated poorly, it could create a security threat for the nation’s food supply, Newsweek reports. Roughly 75 percent of the nation’s farm workers are undocumented, and many of them are vulnerable to the poor conditions in which they work because they lack access to health care and employee protections.

“Injuries, poor air quality, contact with animal waste, exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and exposure to novel strains of the flu virus viruses,” could cause many workers to miss days of work, according to a recent Johns Hopkins report.

As Newsweek reports, in 2010 U.S. farms lost over $300 million in revenue because of a farm worker shortage.


These kinds of shortages in the workforce could raise the price of certain goods, like milk, by nearly 90 percent. This is just one way U.S. consumers are directly affected by treatment of the undocumented. However, many of these undocumented workers do not report their working conditions or exploitative wages because they are afraid of retaliation from employers – or worse under the current administration.

Newsweek reports that improving the working conditions for undocumented workers is a necessary step to ensuring the safety of the United States’ food supply, which could collapse otherwise.


Check out the link to the Newsweek article below for the whole story.

[H/T] Newsweek: U.S. FOOD SUPPLY NOT SAFE WITHOUT IMMIGRATION REFORM, REPORT FINDS

READ: Undocumented Victims Could Be Targeted At Courthouses By Immigration Agents

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