That Could Be Me is Working to Change the Narrative 

Impact Labs

That Could Be Me is Working to Change the Narrative 

Team: TCBMe by Derrick Tarver  


Derrick Tarver is Founder & Executive Director of That Could Be Me Foundation, a Philadelphia-based 501(c)(3), and the judges grand prize winner of the 2023 Well City Challenge Social Impact Accelerator. 

The Foundation’s flagship program That Could Be Me® is a Social Selfcare Platform that empowers Black & Brown youth to define their own story, discover their potential & create their purpose through free access to creative expression technologies, wellness content & discreet mental health support.


I founded That Could Be Me Foundation because I know firsthand the difference that equitable access makes in the life of a young person.  I was blessed with a scholarship to attend a prep school that opened my eyes to a world of opportunity I previously didn’t know existed.  It gave me access to the resources and experiences that would enable me to envision a future I knew I could achieve, and this was good for my confidence, well-being and self-identity.  I want to empower Black & Brown youth with this same type of access — open their worlds in the way mine was opened — beginning with creative expression technologies that will help them discover their voice and define their future on their terms. 

In the midst of a mental health & gun violence crisis, our youth are yearning to be seen & heard, and for access to skills & tools to explore their feelings, define their future and unleash their potential.  We help them find their tribe, then collaborate to write lyrics & stories, create art & comics, and produce photography & fashion.  I believe that these are their ‘love languages’ and that collaborative creative technologies can be used as a form of preventative, peer-to-peer behavioral health support.  


Our platform integrates recognized “mental fitness” methods like guided discovery, cognitive reframing, creative expression and positive affirmation in an environment that fosters peer validation and social selfcare.  70 billion social media views under the hashtag #mentalhealth tell us that youth are also desperately seeking information, so we incorporate wellness resources and opportunities to discreetly and privately self-select to access a mental health professional.  We also provide opportunities to develop skills like problem solving and goal setting, to empower them to champion personal and community causes through collaboration and action.  Ultimately, we want them to have the voice, choice and control to unleash their full potential.


Being part of the Well City Challenge has taught me a lot about the power of partnership.  Meeting with established organizations, like our partners NoMo Foundation & Hispanic Family Center, that have successfully forged trusting relationships with youth and their families has helped me refine my vision for That Could Be Me® and ensure it embodies the voice of the community.  It’s so important to learn from who you intend to serve — I’ve spent the past few months identifying my key audiences and hosting focus groups to listen to their needs.  The phrase “seek first to understand, then to be understood” has stuck with me throughout the Challenge.  This process has been one of co-creation and partnership, which is such an amazing way to build something.  


The Well City Challenge also embodies the principles of equitable access, and for that I am truly grateful.  The Challenge is empowering everyday innovators to bring their ideas to life and opening the door to an amazing community of like-minded people working to ‘do good’ in Philadelphia in the spirit of brotherly love.  My fellow teams in the cohort are amazing, passionate souls who made this experience one I will always cherish, and I can’t wait to see the impact we have collectively!  I believe what you put out into the universe you get back.  That Could Be Me Foundation is here to do some good in our community and I’m excited to keep building together.  


Interested in partnering?  We’d be happy to chat! Please contact [email protected].