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Where are they now?

There are some tremendous stories of growth and impact after 4 years and 21 groups of young people having experienced O2. From mobile apps, to environmental projects, to food pantries inside of public schools, these students have grown personally and committed to seeing their community thrive.

[Re]Charging Station

Caleb Wilson
mentored by Josh Snare

Know Before You Go

Tigran Bdoyan, Alex Nanda, and Ian Mansur
mentored by David White

2022 Theme and Results:


The challenges of the past two years have created many needs in Columbus. This year at the O2 Conference we’re taking the opportunity to focus on our local schools. Teachers, administrators, students, and parents have all been stretched to cope with the pandemic. New ways of living are unfolding even as people try to remember how to relate to each other at school. Some of the support structures that used to be there have been weakened or disappeared. There are shortages of volunteers, supplies, support, and normalcy. It’s clear that we’re in a destabilized moment where people are reconnecting, resetting, and reorienting.

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Kristina Ma, Stephen Ma, and Arya Narayan
mentored by Chris James
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2021 Theme and Results:


Our way of life has been altered by the pandemic. As creatures of habit, we could default back to the way things were. But the way things were did not always help the people of Cbus THRIVE.  The limitations of this past year have caused people to think deeply about what matters most. What ways of living have come to light that could help people thrive? What ways of living have made it harder to thrive and need to be addressed?


Empowering Women
to Thrive

Jillian Weita
mentored by Amy Lahmers

Hydro Gardens

Izzy Cook and Annika Haugland
mentored by Shawn Arnett,
Drs. Paola Forero and Edisson Tello

Breathing Techniques for Stress Reduction

Riddhi Gupta
mentored by Michael Bailey
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2020 Theme and Results:


What idea do you have to help that environment thrive? We’re looking for ideas that make life better now and more sustainable for generations to come. There’s space in this conference for addressing a wide range of issues like school and community safety, energy use, disconnected/forgotten peers, housing needs, global warming, mental health, building bridges across cultures, opportunities and threats with technology use, healthy living, or other local needs that could add up to something bigger.

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Zero Waste Project

Clare Baryluk, Callie Hundley, and Gretchen Mueller
mentored by Jennifer Duffy
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Preston Bernard
mentored by Jason Asp
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Life Skills Project

Samantha Robinson, Valeria Ortiz, and Manar Alrjub mentored by Elaine Pierce
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Storm Socks

Grace Gutierrez
mentored by Carol Davis

Audience Award Winner
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Helping Distracted Students

Cole Perry and Lay’Marra Barker mentored by Mike McDonough

Audience Award Winner
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Paula Haines

Executive Director

Freedom a la Cart


2019 Theme and Results:


So what’s keeping our neighbors in Columbus from connecting and thriving? Consider the needs of your friends, your family, your neighborhood, your work or school. With a little support, what idea would you be excited about seeing come to life? Connections can change lives. It’s time for Columbus to connect and then THRIVE.

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Hilliard Schools Food Pantry

Margaret Lee mentored
by Taylor McClintock
Audience Award winner
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Radiant Youth Perception Project

Jessica and Joanne Xu mentored by
Nancy Jeggle
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Sugar & Spice

Omar Alghothani mentored
by Bart Griffin
Audience Award winner
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Kush Hari and Melanie Marszal
mentored by Tom Slemmer
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Crescendo Project

Alana Becker mentored by Katie Widing


Timothy Rush

2018 Theme and Results:



The word THRIVE means "To grow and develop. To flourish and be successful.
To progress toward a goal despite or because of the circumstances." What idea do you have that can help the people of Columbus THRIVE?

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Project Innovation

Ilya, Madelyn, Teresa Rakowsky mentored by Charley Shin
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Take Off

Katie Overmeyer, Clarie Geistfeld, & Maria Buffer mentored by Stori Rex
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Fitness Group for Women Immigrants

Deika Ahmed and Sarah Khoury
mentored by Lisa Igel
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The Underrated Power
of Teenagers

Khadijo Abdirahman mentored by
Madison Mikhail Bush
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Greta Schreiber and Gabriella Shell
mentored by John Ness
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MaryGrace Osborn mentored by David White
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Wharton Pain Scale

Kota Wharton mentored by Don Leach
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Senior Prom

Elizabeth Weller mentored by
Taylor McClintock
Audience Award winner
Audience Award winner
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Ryan Miller

President & Co-Founder, The 2nd & 7 Foundation
Partner, m2 marketing
Former Linebacker & Defensive co-MVP
OSU Football Team

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Jane Leach

Executive Director, FutureReady Columbus
Founder of the Hilltop Preschool