Make Yourself Known Campaign


Impact Statements are inspirational testimonials about overcoming adversity. Storytelling has the power to bring people together to spark change for the better. We want to hear your story. 

We are asking you to submit an Impact Statement and a picture wearing either your Impact Mākars shirt or Make Yourself Known shirt. Your submission will be shared on this page and on Impact Mākars’ social media channels.

Submit your story and photo to

Check out some submissions below.

Peter H: Disrupting Education

Shirt: 2018 I.M. Originals (black/large)

Although, I don’t view it as a setback now, I think the time I was passed out for the Division Chair job at Oak Park and River Forest High School was a huge blow to me. I knew I had all the skills and the knowledge and the motivation to help build the elective departments to their fullest. The blow came when the Assistant Superintendent came to me and told me that I was passed on getting that job.

From that moment on after I recovered from that blow, I focused 100% on building my craft as a teacher and questioning education overall. It was actually the start of my Disrupt Education movement and it launched me on my journey to find my true calling in helping others as an educator and entrepreneur.” #MakeYourselfKnown

Peter Hostrawser

Rohin M: Learning From Let DownsIMG_3361

Shirt: 2018 I.M. Originals (black/large)

Biggest setback for me in my career was when I applied for internships during my undergrad. I sent over 75 applications out and was not given a single offer and was left without a job for the summer. I came back from this by doing research on what are the most demanded skills in the field I am in. I completed various projects applying these skills during the summer. When the next summer rolled around, I was given an offer with a wonderful start up company.

While it was very disheartening to receive no offers that summer, it was an experience that I was able to learn from. It showed me that let downs like this happen. Learning from these let downs and working hard without giving up pays off!” #MakeYourselfKnown

Rohin M.

Derrick G: Playin’ All That Jazz

Shirt: I.M. Originals (black/large)

I played Alto Sax from grade school up until my freshman year of high school. My high school band teacher had his “chosen few” people that he wanted to play Alto for the Jazz Ensemble (the top jazz group at OPRF). This somewhat forced me to switch to playing the Tenor Sax instead. My parents went out, bought me a Tenor, I took lessons for a couple months leading up to the auditions and I still made the Jazz Ensemble as a Tenor Sax player and it was arguably the best decision I ever made in my life because now it’s my favorite one to play.

It gives me more versatility in my play and the genres I perform. I’ve played at the Taste of Chicago, for WGN NEWS, at North Coast Festival and opened up for artists such as Wyclef Jean and Lupe Fiasco.” #MakeYourselfKnown

Derrick G.
IG: @dgsax_

  Dan S: Turning “L’s” Into LessonsIMG_2195

Shirt: I.M. Originals (black/large)

I was riding a wave of confidence after obtaining my Master’s in Special Education through a very successful and enjoyable graduate school experience. I had my sights set on a particular position at a particular school and felt that I was an ideal candidate for the job. Despite my hopeful feelings and strong desire for the position, I was not even offered a second interview. It was definitely a humbling experience. I allowed myself to experience some sadness and disappointment, but I did not linger in that space.

I trusted in my path and did my best to turn the “L” into a lesson by taking another moment to reflect on my professional intentions and aspirations. I wound up making my way back to the nonprofit world and connecting with an organization whose mission is in prime alignment with my values. The decision to pivot away from more traditional classroom-based educational environments has clarified and strengthened my passion to serve individuals with disabilities in dynamic, community-based contexts. These days, I wake up super grateful to have a job that I love.” #MakeYourselfKnown

Dan S. 

Peter K: Poetic PersistenceIMG_3669Shirt: I.M. Originals (black/medium)

In the months leading up to a move to London, England in August of 2001, I kept hearing “there’s no chance” or “it’s simply not going to happen” in response to the notion of me teaching poetry in schools there.  Thanks to Maggie Scott at the Ethnic Minority Achievement Services of the borough of Hackney, I was finally given a chance to at least make a pitch.  A year later, I had led workshops and projects in over twenty-five schools.  Thanks to that success, I stuck around London for another year to launch the London Teenage Poetry Slam.  Once again, even after all I had achieved, I kept hearing that it was an impossible endeavor. Schools would never commit the time nor the money and we would never find other funding.  Almost no one I encountered had a clue of what a poetry slam even was.  

Persistence and a good idea paid off and we held the first of seven annual slams in the prestigious Bloomsbury Theatre in July of 2003.  There were eight schools that contributed time and money and we received a large grant from the Arts Council England, who were extremely impressed with what we set out to do. 

I learned not to be discouraged by other people’s pessimism and lack of foresight.” #MakeYourselfKnown 

Peter Kahn
Spoken Word Educator/English Teacher
Oak Park/River Forest High School

Cyrus: Open Your Gift
Shirt: I.M. Originals (black/small)

“Growing up and watching television, and seeing the news can make you feel like you are truly nothing compared to the people that help make the world a better place. It’s so easy to trash amazing ideas and not pursue things. People have to take into consideration that the people you see online or in the paper were once just like you. You have to love and appreciate the amazing gifts you have and work to achieve things.

My goal before I pass away is to show my children and peers to appreciate the things in life that matter and the things in life they may struggle in. Because without struggling there is no achievement or good feeling to motivate you in the future. Time flies. I may only be 14 years old but I’m telling you, it starts the first day of preschool. Children may not understand what gifts lie in them, but all of them face challenges from the start. And that’s what makes us human. We are all different in ways that others could not possess. And just think of all of the things that could happen if people opened up, if kids my age opened up. These ideas could change our future for the better. The goal is just to keep working at it and pursue it. Pour your heart out and make the world a better place.” #MakeYourselfKnown 

Cyrus (OPRFHS, class of 2023)

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