Dearest Show Me Campaign and Fellow Activists, Catalysts, and Advocates…
Thank you for your adamant support of me during my internship with ONE this summer!
Thank you for your enthusiasm and excitement for the successes we had with ONE in Austin this summer!
Thank you for your interest in my blog and my internship!
I am ever so appreciative of you!
SO NOW WHAT?
Well, although my internship with ONE this summer at an end- my work and efforts with ONE are not.
As promised, I wanted to give you a little more details on the upcoming event for ONE in Austin.
SAVING THE WORLD 101!
What the power of synergy can do!
I was able to get the support of 9 other organizations to help make this event a reality. So we have been collaborating together for the last several months to really make this event a success!
A big thank you to all the organizations collaborating with us for this event!
THE ONE CAMPAIGN
AUSTIN OXFAM ACTION CORPS
AIDS SERVICES OF AUSTIN
THE THIRST PROJECT
WOMEN OF VISION- WORLDVISION
So what are we going to do at this event?
We are going to train and raise up new advocates, catalysts and activists for the City of Austin and the world.
How exactly are we going to train these amazing advocates?
We are going to give them a quick session on Advocacy 101. Then we will have 9 breakout sessions for them to choose from. Everyone will go to 3 breakout sessions- each on a specific issue revolving around poverty AND being taught by a unique organization. Then, at the very end of this event, we will have an organization fair and networking party to give all attendees the opportunity to really engage with all the organizations, attendees, and organizers- AS WELL as learn about opportunities to volunteer or intern for an organization that they are really interested in!
We are all so thrilled and excited for this upcoming event- and if you happen to be in the Austin area- please feel welcome to come on out and invite your friends and family! You can simply sign up here: http://savingtheworld101.eventbrite.com/
SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO!
I am looking forward to continuing to contribute my time, effort and resources to the ONE Campaign and the fight to end extreme poverty.
It is my passion, my purpose and my path!
I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about solutions to fight poverty- and hope to one day be able to significantly contribute to the fight to end poverty.
AND ONE LAST THOUGHT!
Always remember that your voice matters and is powerful. Always remember that you can make a difference! Always remember that you have the power, ability and initiative to make a positive change in this world!
Hold on to your passion and “be the change you wish to see in the world” (Ghandi)!
Thank you again!
Ever so grateful,
The nature of non-profit work is very sporadic. As my supervisor mentioned last week, “when it rains, it pours.” She was referring to the immense amount of work that needs to happen right around the same time of the year, within the first few weeks after the school year starts.
I spent the last two weeks at Junior Achievement with a variety of interesting tasks. Moving from the volunteer and recruitment team into data analysis, I began working on the Fellows data. Fellows is an opt-in 18-week program that is run in collaboration with companies and business executives in the Metro Atlanta area. Student participants, also called fellows, split into teams and work on special projects to develop entrepreneurial and economic skills. The data from the program included a pre-survey and a post-survey, both of which were identical, contained demographic information and collected answers to content knowledge questions and scales of agreement. The tests we were able to run from the data confirmed our intentions to provide students with added economic, civic, and entrepreneurial value over the course of the program. One standout element that we determined a statistical difference on the improvement from pre-survey and post-survey between first-time Fellows and returning Fellows. Because the program is available for all four years of high school, some students have the pleasure of being a Fellow for their entire high school career. This significant gain from the end of year one to the end of year two led us to think about ways in which curriculum connects with students after the first year more than it does during. The differences were marginal and not significant for students between years three and four, so it appeared that the majority of the content growth occurred in the first two years. Being able to work with and manipulate this data was a deep step within the evaluation of programs for the organization, and I’m glad I could be a part.
Internally, I got the opportunity to sit in on some crucial planning and strategies meetings, as the organization is restructuring its positions a bit in the wake of once again increased budgetary constraints. Fortunately, the strong relationships Junior Achievement has built in Atlanta, especially with the joint work done in the programs, enabled most of the corporate donations to remain intact. However, the organization is still searching and finding new obstacles to overcome in enlisting volunteers for other programs at a time when fewer of us are financially able themselves.
Altogether, I’m sad to see my time at the organization come to a pause, but the perspective I’ve gained has been immeasurable.
ONE Vote in Austin
AND…SOME EXCITING NEWS….
One of the biggest events of the summer finally happened:
ONE VOTE 2012- ATX! (Event Blog)
We had candidates from both side of the aisle- Democrat and Republican- come together at the CTC Garden to support our fight to end extreme poverty.
And, why? Because it is crucial for both parties, rather- for all parties, to understand that their constituency, their district, their state CARES and ADVOCATES for the world’s poorest. So this event did just that. ONE Vote 2012 does just that.
ONE Vote is the massive, nation-wide effort to hit the campaign trail and engage and educate all candidates on the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease.
ONE Vote events will continue happening across the country, so go this website: ONE VOTE 2012 and find out what is happening in your neck of the woods. The excitement and enthusiasm revolving around elections 2012 will only increase, so I urge each and every one of you to be a part of this exciting movement. It is time for both sides of the aisle to come together under one roof and pledge support for the fight to end extreme poverty around the world.
ONE VOTE 2012!!! ONE VOTE 2012!!! ONE VOTE 2012!!! ONE VOTE 2012!!!
And, in other news…
I am, of course, very excited to add that there are many more amazing events coming up. The opportunities to work together with other organizations in the City of Austin have increased so quickly- and I finally feel like there is this strong sense of synergy and forward momentum happening throughout the city. IT IS PHENOMENAL!
Stay tuned for news on our upcoming AUSTIN ADVOCACY BOOTCAMP: Act Locally, Impact Globally and our Art Show 2012!
Beating the Odds With the Help of Vittana
—Marlene is one of the Vittana students I interviewed this summer. After completing a degree in education, she found a teaching position that allows her to provide a better future for her children.
How would you feel if you lost your mother during your first semester of college? Then how would you feel if, after your mother’s death, your father abandoned you and your siblings? Add to that a generous uncle who, crippled by disease, lost his health and income shortly after taking you in. Situations like these drive young people to lives of vice—or at least of resignation. Which is why the response of one young woman was so surprising.
Esperanza is a Vittana student who lived through these daunting circumstances.* Inspired by her mother who felt that “education is the greatest inheritance I can leave for my children,” Esperanza always planned to complete university studies. “It’s the greatest treasure […] without education we would be nothing, really” said Esperanza.
Just before she began a degree in nursing, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. By the end of the semester the disease had claimed her life. Esperanza had to drop out of school while her family adjusted to the loss. Apparently unable to adjust, her father abandoned Esperanza and her two siblings. An uncle stepped in to support Esperanza and pay for her education.
Within months, however, the uncle had to leave his family for a hospital hundreds of miles away. He had a life-threatening bone disease that left him unable to work. Esperanza was forced to drop out of school. Again.
Determined to honor her mother and complete her education, she found a job and started looking for a way back to school. After a couple years of saving and searching she found a kinesiology program that offered evening classes. She could keep her job, and with the help of a Vittana loan, she would be able to finish her degree!
When I asked her what she planned to do with her education, she said she wanted to pursue physical therapy. Because Paraguay’s public healthcare system doesn’t provide physical therapy, only the wealthy can afford such care; the majority of patients never recover their mobility. I want to “rehabilitate them, to return them to their surroundings… So that they don’t feel discriminated against, or that they don’t have any value anymore, you know?” said Esperanza.
When I think of what Esperanza has overcome, I struggle to relate. How can I possibly empathize with someone who has faced so much so early in life? But when I think of her desire to salir adelante or move ahead, I see how much we have in common. She wants to contribute to society, just like me. She needs education and training to achieve that goal, just like me. And now, thanks to Vittana, she has access to financial resources to make that possible, just like me and other students in the U.S.
As I complete my fellowship with Vittana, I’m grateful for the increased understanding and empathy I’ve gained. It has strengthened my commitment to this field and tempered my enthusiasm with patience and a bit of wisdom. I’m grateful for the Show Me Campaign and the voice it gives to important issues in education and development. And I’m grateful to you, the reader, for participating in my adventure this summer. I hope you’re inspired to take action and help a student today!
*Name changed to protect privacy
An Exciting Road Ahead!
My Dearest Fellow Activists,
This summer has been filled with a number of exciting developments. Exciting partnerships in the poverty fighting community of Austin, groundbreaking events for the near future this Fall season, enthusiastic synergy building within our great city. I really can’t believe how much ONE Austin has grown in the past several months. (I am sure many of you can relate to me when I say that it is like watching your baby learn to walk on its own!)
ONE Vote events have been happening across the state of Texas and this Tuesday, August 21, 2012, a ONE Vote Kick-Off Party will be happening in Austin, Tx. We will have representation from both sides of the aisle joining us under one roof, in one gathering, at one time to promote the fight to end extreme poverty. Stay tuned for more news on the event’s unfolding. (And if you happen to be in Austin- you are most definitely welcome to join us! Austin’s ONE Vote Kick-Off Party)
Austin Training 2012 is very quickly unravelling to become a real-live event for the very near future in the end of September. It is quite an amazing thing and I am happy to say that it is due to the hard work of all of us! The enthusiasm, excitement, and determination to make this event a success is what is bringing us closer to the day of seeing it happen. We are 9 international non-profits that have joined together as one to really make a difference and invite Austinites to join us in the fight to end extreme poverty. We have received several sponsorships already- and are waiting on several more great sponsorships and donations for the event. It is most definitely encouraging to receive such great support from our local businesses and organizations! (If YOU are interested in joining us at our Austin Training, please either email me or RSVP at this link: Austin Training Facebook Event)
All in all, there have been so many things that have happened so far, and I believe that even after this internship and fellowship- the excitement and enthusiasm will only grow. But till then, you can definitely count on more exciting news!!!
Thank you for all your support!
Final Reflections of Summer 2012
Summer 2012 is coming to an end as the Fall school year is approaching. While some of us are leaving our internships, the work is still not over. We will be going into the Fall semester with more experiences that will only make us stronger people in general. For me, this summer is only part of my transition phase. It is only the beginning for what is to come in the future.
Every day I’m with my team, I believe that the education system will get better. I believe in their innovation. I strongly believe that with the help of our own students, we can turn the school systems around. I want to continue learning about the student leadership culture and how it can positively change schools, which is why I’m focusing on this topic for my own senior thesis.
The next few weeks are going to be a little hectic. Professional development in my school is coming up and I’ll be leading one of the sessions. I will get to meet the students in the school and start the entire process of selecting the influential student leaders. I anticipate many challenges, but it is definitely my time to rise to the occasion.
I’ve watched the Executive Director be successful throughout the entire year and he’s taught me so much this summer. I’m excited to model it and help these students set the vision for their own school. It’s amazing for me to reflect on my experience. It was only a few years ago that I was a nursing student struggling to find my way. And now that I’ve found my passion, I can confidently say that I’m ready to help change the mindset of education.
I’m in it for the students. I’ve watched many of them become frustrated of the schools they are in. They want to learn. They want a quality education. But sometimes as adults, we don’t give them a voice. I promise them I will. And SLP has started that process. We will work on it together.
Family. Pride. Performance.
I want to personally thank the Show Me Campaign for giving me the opportunity to be a fellow this summer. I hope you all learned a lot about the Student Leadership Project! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Additionally, I want to give a big shout out to my SLP team/family: Paul Dean, Bobby Erzen, Naeha Dean, and Kim Griffiths. You guys are definitely one of the most influential people in life and I am grateful that I’m learning from the best in the business. You push me to be my best every single day and believe in me even though I sometimes don’t believe in myself. I am looking forward to another great year with you all :)
The End of the Beginning
It seems as though the summer just started and that my work with KIPP Houston has just begun. In truth, it has. Even though my summer internship has ended, the lessons and experiences I can take from it will shape my choices, decisions, and career path for a lifetime. Here, I have included the top five lessons I have learned from working with a high-performing school system within an underserved, high poverty, minority area.
- Poverty is NOT an excuse for student failure. KIPP has a “No Excuses” policy for students, teachers, and schools. This attitude shapes student outcomes. KIPP has proven that underserved students can and will succeed given the right environment.
- A teacher can have a HUGE impact on a student, whether they want to, or not. That student who always gets written off by other teachers as a lost cause can completely turn around when a patient enough teacher gives them the time of day. Sometimes, all they need is a hug, or for teachers to expect more of them.
- Being perfect is not the answer, but neither is giving up. It’s important to realize that as a teacher, you’re not going to be perfect. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always strive to be better. At schools like KIPP, everything is data-driven, so teachers want and expect feedback, and administrators expect outcomes. They don’t try to pretend that everything is perfect; they ask for critique and how they can be better.
- The little things do matter. “At-possibilities” vs. “at-risk”. More Time. Small changes that put students first make a difference.
- “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do.” (Steve Jobs). Still ringing clear in my ears. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. Surely, you can’t change the world single-handedly, but every day that you spend working towards ending educational inequity in the U.S. means something. It may not have an immediate, or widespread, affect but makes an improvement nonetheless.
There are so many ways you can make a difference and begin to change the state of our education system.
Get inspired. Watch Waiting for Superman.
Get involved. Join an organization (or start your own!), like Students for Ed Reform, and affect education reform policies in your state.
Get hands-on. Volunteer at a local school.
Get experience. Find an internship in ed reform.
Get committed. Join Teach for America.
The road that lies ahead….
Although today was the last official day of traveling into the office for my summer internship with the Millennium Campus Network, the real work is just beginning. Our conference is September 14-15 and now the most important work lies ahead: tying up loose ends, confirming last minute speakers, coordinating logistics. We are all committed to making sure the conference is a meaningful experience to match the passion and dedication of the hundreds of students it is designed for and are prepared to continue our work on our campuses this fall.
But with the closing of this chapter of the internship comes an interesting set of emotions. I am sad that I won’t see the other interns until the conference because they have become great friends over the past three months. I am relieved that I don’t have to get up at 6:30 every morning to catch a train into Boston. I am grateful for this unique opportunity. But most of all, I am excited for what lies ahead.
I am so excited for the conference because I know about all the hard work that went into its planning. Cinnamon, Menda, and Beckylee have made thousands of phone calls to students, academic departments, and campus clubs to advertise and promote the conference. Outreach Interns only begins to describe the work they were engaged in. Try Social Media, Brainstorming, and Outreach Superstars. Alex is dedicated to the planning the Global Generation Awards, a ceremony where the Millennium Campus Network honors leaders who serve as an inspiration for our generation. This year’s honorees include 2011 Noble Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee, Minister of Finance of Timor-Leste Emilia Pires, USAID Chief Economist Steve Radelet, and Oxfam America Vice President for Policy and Campaigns Paul O’Brien. In addition to planning this ceremony, Alex has helped out wherever she is needed. Sam oversees our work while simultaneously steering the organization and setting the framework for an impressive future. Nate and Noreen make sure all the loose ends are tied together. I can’t wait to see the results of this work at the conference!
Here is a picture of us on our last day in the office:
Looking back over the past three months, I realize how much I have learned. I learned about teamwork and the challenges to and importance of clear communication. I got a behind-the-scenes look at how a non-profit is run, and learned about the significance of maintaining partnerships and thinking about the future. I was able to form relationships with a number of other organizations involved in the movement for poverty alleviation. I saw in action the significance of deep community and am ready for this conference to kick off! I am very grateful for this opportunity. I want to thank the Show Me Campaign for this amazing summer fellowship and the Millennium Campus Network for this internship. I hope to meet all the other fellows at the Millennium Campus Conference and hear their stories of their summer adventures!