Take a look at our students and volunteers hard at work and having fun!
By Yvette Almonte
Our students are anxiously waiting the moment they can begin working on their products for their social businesses. However, before they can start creating their products, we want them to understand the impact their social businesses will have on the poor. By the end of this apprenticeship students will use the profits of their social business to donate to a microfinance institution on Kiva.org.
To help the students begin understanding the concept of social enterprises, we used today to teach them about the impact of the end result of their businesses. In order to actively engage our students, they had to work in small groups led by SEI volunteers and read through several profiles of microcredit clients to decide whom they could hypothetically fund. The students selected clients across the globe from Kyrgyzstan to Colombia. But for many students it was the perfect way to potentially fund initiatives for their own communities. Our students are predominantly Dominican and many decided to fund clients in the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, Students had to present to the class why they had chosen the client and why they felt it was important, serving as a way to teach back and ensure they were grasping the concepts.
Following the groups work on Kiva.org, students had to work on an elevator pitch. This served to begin developing students’ public speaking and prepare for their final presentation. The groups worked creatively to sell their products to all of us. One group presented a rap song about sunglasses as their sales pitch. Another group used the time to explain the benefits of their product and convince the audience of why they should buy their cool hats.
Working this week with students to help them appreciate microfinance and social business was motivating. For most us who grew up thinking of business as being apart from social impact, it was great to get the future generation thinking of business in the non-traditional sense. We hope that BizKids students will be the future leaders of social enterprises.
By Abhi Nangia
“And remember everyone — DON’T ask for food.” Our citizen schools team emphasized the need for everyone to show respect on today’s Haley House visit. But of course, sixth grader Raphael responded with a smile: “Is the food gonna taste good?” He got a good laugh out of the room, as per usual.
Greeted kindly by the staff of Haley House, we first met founder Sister Linda, better known as “Ma” to the rest of the team. Clearly this name is well deserved. From the time our group of thirty scrambled around the tables outside Haley House, Ma’s undying enthusiasm kept everyone focused on what she had to say, even while she was standing right in the sun. Her supporting words were well received by our BizKids students, and as she finished explaining the functions of Haley House, we then were handed over to Jeremy for a tour of the facilities.
Upon entering, one could see everyone felt at home. This place has that effect on you. After touring the kitchen area and walking through one of Haley House’s many cooking classes for children, we then sampled some of the product. Words can’t really describe this part of the experience. The pizza was just that good, and the cookies and brownies turned many of today’s visitors into regulars.
All in all, the day’s experience proved very educational not just for the BizKids students, but also for our Northeastern student team. Learning about an organization doing such great work inspired us to find ways to make an impact here in Boston. It helped to emphasize a key lesson for anyone wishing to do good: There is never a better time than now.
As one of the Urban Engagement Coordinators for the Social Enterprise Institute, I welcome you to the new Citizen Schools blog! This site will keep you up to date with our partnership and work with the Citizen Schools program. At SEI, we believe strongly in the power of education and feel that Citizen Schools is revitalizing urban education in Boston. We are in our third year working with the organization and have taught the BizKids apprenticeship at 6 different schools. The work we have done has proven to be eye opening and moving to all of our volunteers, but more importantly, has played a small part in a big movement. The students we have taught have demonstrated personal improvements and a willingness to learn that proves that urban education, especially using the Citizen School’s model, can be effective.
We are excited to be working at the Orchard Gardens K-8 school this semester with Jared Sholk leading our volunteers! Check back often to see the progress of our program and hear more about our volunteers and students!
-Melissa Goldberg- Urban Engagement Coordinator