SOcial impact PROJECT
Fellows will design a solution to a community issue that matters to them & the community they want to impact. Here are some sample projects. The summer theme could be understanding the income gap in Silicon Valley, or long-term environmental hazards, or the gentrification of housing, education inequity, racial justice, or any other creative topic the cohort comes up with. Rather than thinking about problems elsewhere, they will act locally. We want leaders of the future to succeed in the lines they choose, but to also create a better future for all, or we will have little chance of surviving the harm we have done to each other, the earth, and our communities. We need a new story. Fellows will use Human-Centered Design to research this topic, collect data, propose a solution, and present their recommendations to a distinguished panel of private sector and public civic leaders, all while maintaining a strong connection to the inner transformation work they are doing, such as being conscious and aware of the values that matter to them. The inner work is not a by-product, but directly linked the external work being done in the community. Is it not enough to try to "save the world" and even good intentions can even harm others, so we teach our fellows to be very conscious & aware about the steps they are taking. Presentations will occur on at Saturday at the end of the summer on our Community Presentation Day & will follow up during the year.
Examples of Projects & Actions Taken by our Youth Leaders
- Organizing a petition with nearly 1500 signatures and presenting these results at local City Council meetings
- Speaking at local churches and taking concrete action with other housing organizers to continue to advance work around housing issues
- Organizing kindness in the park and doing kind acts for random strangers particularly those displaced in RVs
- Creating an organization for STEM in education and leading a camp over the summer for middle school students
- Creating a video that highlights the personal side of housing displacement to demonstrate empathy for all income levels in Mountain View
- Gathering nearly 500 survey data points to better understand mental health in youth
- Gathering several hundred data points around sexual assault for young teenagers and launching consent week at the high school
- Writing a feature in the newspaper around sexual assault
- Organizing a blog & leading a workshop for middle schools students around being aware of sexual health and body image
- Launching a school club that is about wellness & connecting with yourself across
- Presenting a proposal to school leaders to launch a student council as a separate body for informing school decisions, in addition to relying on ASB.
- Creating a video & social media campaign to highlight the differences in realities for community members at different economic levels
- Working with another local garden project to get youth involved in the creation of a new community garden
- Setting up a forum for students to talk to their teachers about issues that might be bothering them about how their classrooms are being run particularly around diversity, equity and inclusion
Our fundamental stance as teachers is that we are in service of the students, and they are our guide. Our service to them is our own practice of self-liberation as teachers, so we learn to find stillness, have difficult conversations, let of control and find compassion. Therefore, we flip the traditional, dominant model of education on it's head. The program is highly experiential, creative, and interactive in nature, drawing on music, mindfulness, theater, text-based readings, & discussions that draw on the whole body, mind & spirit. We draw heavily on indigeneous learning practices, while operating in an explicit anti-bias framework for structural oppression. We draw on human-centered design to structure our notion of community impact, always bringing the work back to the self and the importance of holding a deep level of listeningThere will be site visits, real-life case studies, and meetings with leaders in the community. Fellows will be asked to bring all of who they are to the learning environment, take risks, and be creative . We will draw on the best of the latest brain science on social & emotional learning, as well as practical research on cultural competence & diversity.
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The leadership skills our fellows can be applied in any context. Students will learn 21st century leadership skills relevant for the global community we are apart of, including such skills as self-awareness, self-management, empathy, conflict resolution, & understanding how to transform moments of difference into opportunities of innovation, creativity & stronger relationships. These skills will apply in any career the fellow chooses in life and will complement academic excellence to amplify the impact that leader has in the world.
We will learn about what it means to be apart of and lead vibrant communities and social change movements, and draw inspiration from historical and current social change leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, & others.
Read MOre about why our program is different here