Your fellow Teach2Serve members have been up to some great things! Check out the below–
Alex Leone and Veronica Fitton started GirlForward, a girl advocacy club on Solebury School campus, hopes to bring more awareness about topics surrounding women. GirlForward is a club affiliated with GirlUp, an innovative campaign of the United Nations Foundation that helps American girls become global leaders and raise awareness and funds for United Nations programs that aid girls in countries around the world. GirlForward consists of a wonderful group of men and women on Solebury School campus who meet once a week to discuss women’s issues on a national and global level and who help raise money for GirlUp through various fundraisers. GirlForward has hosted a movie night to show the documentary Girl Rising, a fashion show fundraiser, a dress drive and currently, an electronic recycling drive. This spring, GirlForward will host another movie night to show the film, Wadjda.
A second program at Village Charter School is a mentoring and tutoring program that consists of exciting learning activities in order to fully engage students. Alex Leone, Alliyah Allen, Veronica Fitton, and Rebecca Brady (a Solebury School and Teach2Serve graduate) started this program in 2011 to help elementary school students thrive academically with the support of positive high school role models. The goal each week is for the Village Charter students to learn in a fun and interactive way through games and activities. A number of the Solebury School mentors have been participating in the program for two or three years and have formed strong, meaningful bonds with the Village Charter students.
An article in PolicyMic gives a positive view of our twenty somethings, and their willingness to engage in the community and affect change. Challenging the notion that Milennials are “Generation Me,” this article highlights nine companies founded by 20 somethings that aim to improve their world. The founders rely on ingenuity, efficiency, and a strong moral compass to succeed. Inspiring stuff.
You can improve the world and make money. An article in the Financial Times highlights that many MBA students are gravitating towards a focus on social entrepreneurship. Students interested in the business world are finding that social entrepreneurship can be both measurable and profitable, while making a positive impact in the community. Ahead of the curve, Oxford University’s Said Business School launched the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in 2003 with an aim to change the world by teaching social entrepreneurship.
Here’s a engaging first person narrative about how young social entrepreneurs are tackling youth unemployment. Youth unemployment is without question one of the largest emerging problems facing the globe. From developing countries in the Middle East and Africa to the developed world right here in the US, many young people are struggling to find gainful employment that pays good wages and offers opportunity for advancement. The author of this piece–of the millennial generation, I should note–explains how the Youth Assembly at the UN is promoting social entrepreneurship and new ideas to connect young people across the globe. An inspiring read from someone just a few years older than most of you.
There’s been a lot of work done on the science of persuasion. This may be a bit outside of our normal discussion, but I suspect you’ll find that while you begin your capstone projects or engage in other community service projects, you’ll be doing a lot of persuasion to enlist assistance or support of friends, family, and neighbors. An excellent and concise video from Influence at Work explains the different techniques that help you persuade others. These are reciprocity (you help me now, I’ll help you later), scarcity (this is a uniquely valuable proposition), authority (I am an authorized agent or an expert), consistency (you’ve made a commitment before, this is a similar request), liking (we share values and interests), and consensus (everyone else is doing it, you should too).
As a side benefit, the video is a cartoon, making the information easily digestible.
Do you find yourself using any of these techniques in your day to day life? Think hard–you’ve probably intuitively used all of them at some point.
Here’s an excellent and comprehensive report on youth-led social change, focusing on Connecticut. Connecticut, like many parts of the country, faces severe economic inequality. Some groups, as part of a strategy to confront this challenge, are empowering youth to improve their community. The report is long, and to save your time, check out pages 9 for a nice graphic, and look to page 29 for a summary of conclusions. In short, this is about creating a mindset of accountability and empowerment, tackling tough challenges even when they make us uncomfortable. Worth a few minutes of your time.
Fascinating article in the Huffington Post on whether social entrepreneurs over-emphasize individual effort over collaboration. The author, Kathleen Janus, argues that collaboration should be encouraged, and identifies three ways to do so. First, build a network of stakeholders that help guide an organization’s direction; second, delegate responsibility to get more junior officers involved; and third, use boards as a means to develop a bench of talent that can enhance performance. Her underlying belief is that creating a larger group of stakeholders will improve output and ensure the organization’s longevity.
What do you think? Are social entrepreneurs better off on their own?
A recently completed study (in all your free time you can read the whole report here) provides a comprehensive look at social entrepreneurship in the public, nonprofit, and private sector and how it has addressed entrenched challenges facing our society. Using several case studies, including Teach for America, the government of New York City, and microlending, the report draws several conclusions about how social entrepreneurship has changed the approach to problem solving. The author, in particular, notes that social entrepreneurship emphasizes measurement and evaluation (see page 8).
–Showing returns, and giving monetary or social value to an organization’s programs
–Improving how organizations work internally
–Tieing grant-making to results
–Greater use of technology
It’s a report worth reading if you’re interested in social entrepreneurship.
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, it’s a good time of year to reflect for a moment on all we have to be thankful for. We all have different backgrounds, but most of us have family, friends and others who care for us, a roof over our heads, reliable access to food and water, and a school which challenges us daily and helps us grow. Perhaps most importantly of all, we have an ability to foment change–change of our environment, our community, and even ourselves. This notion is empowering–we are movers of this world, not merely passive actors in some grand play lacking any control over the plot. If we’re dissatisfied, asking the question “What can we do to improve our situation” could spur us to action, help us build something new, and perhaps encourage others to get involved.
Keep up the good work. Happy Thanksgiving.
A recent article in USA Today explains that Yale University has become a hub for social entrepreneurs, having developed a top flight program focused on social entrepreneurship. The article attributes the Yale program’s success to a few factors–it has appealed especially to a number of motivated and high profile women, who have created a robust alumni network to support graduating students looking to get involved.
Yale, of course is one of the country’s best institutions and one that attracts ambitious and deeply talented students. These are students who generally have the ability to get involved in business, finance, and other for profit endeavors. It is a testament to the culture of Yale that it instead can bring the best to the social entrepreneurial world. Getting such students involved in social entrepreneurship, and keeping them engaged in that community after graduation is certain to help our country and community.