WHY THIS EXPERIENCE IS IMPORTANT
1) It's unique
Although there are many summer camps and opportunities for youth to learn and develop skills to improve themselves, there aren't as many opportunities for youth to think about how to give back & develop as leaders.
2) It's important for college success.
Top colleges want students who are well-rounded because being smart is not enough. It is also important to demonstrate social/emotional intelligence skills, and colleges are beginning to administer assessments that gather 360 feedback on skills such as resiliency, teamwork, and communication skills. Check out what the ETS has to say about it here.
2) Knowing who you are will pay off for years to come.
Leaders are most connected to who they are and what matters to them when they are young. This "soulforce" will drive their success for years to come, regardless of what careers they choose.
Leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. knew who they were and had a deep, soulful, and some may say spiritual connection to the world and others, including those who were different than them and even those that might have hurt them.
3) We need our youth to care about social change.
Service and having a strong community ethos is critical for the next generation of leaders in Silicon Valley. We are unapologetically and relentlessly optimistic that change can happen in the world, despite the injustices and hardships we see around us. Change is happening all around us. Read it about here. Yet there is so much more to do. The inequities in Silicon Valley, for example, are real and pronounced, with high-income and low-income communities living completely different realities. Youth must have broader perspective & vision, and understand how they can use their privilege & power to give back, as well as how they can step forward to do more for others. There is a lot of work to be done, and the youth of the future must care about these issues. Watch this Unilever commercial that showcases young leaders caring about the world who have soulforce.
4) We need 21st century leaders.
Furthermore, emotional intelligence is a key differentiator between star performers and the rest in both school & in the workplace. It is a leadership & life-skill for 21st century leaders. Harvard agrees. Check it out here.
The opportunity to implement a social impact project will provide the opportunity for youth to really apply the skills they are learning in the context of a real project, including making effective presentations to a panel.