Creating Social Service Entrepeneurs

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
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Trip End Jul 01, 2014


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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I was in Boston on a very rainy Wednesday to participate in an event held at OLPC's 1CC office. My OLPC volunteer collegue, Marina Zdobnova graciously agreed to give a presentation to Tufts students about volunteers and volunteering for organizations for the "social good."

The Tufts students in attendance are participants in "The Compass Fellowship", a dynamic two-year program that enables fifteen freshmen to become social entrepreneurs. Their mentor, Gillian Javetski, describes the program: "Through a unique personal development and social business training program, Fellows interact with CEOs, bestselling authors, and start-up innovators, they receive mentorship and guidance from upperclassmen students and entrepreneurs from the community, they are connected to internship opportunities in areas of passion, and they receive access to funding so that they each can launch their own social business ventures. Fellows engage in weekly modules, team-building retreats, workshops, and social business simulations, all which challenge them to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to change the world. Now in its second year, the Compass Fellowship is currently taking place at five universities (including Georgetown, American, George Washington, Indiana, and Tufts) and will expand to an additional ten universities next year."

Gilian served as an OLPC intern last summer, and arranged the rare opportunity for the students to get a tour of OLPC's Cambridge Center office, and an introduction to OLPC. The students were unfamiliar with the XO and very curious! Marina gave an interesting presentation, the context of OLPC and her work on what motivates volunteers to give their time and money to social organizations. Why should/do we volunteer, and for what, over the course of our lives?
Marina explained the results of volunteer surveys and spoke about the importance of creating the volunteer community for such organizations.

Using our incredible new OLPC map, at http://olpcmap.net/ as an example, the students learned about the "worldwide interactive geosocial network" that volunteers have created for Sugar and the XO. The olpcMAP map is amazing. That it was just an idea, 6 months ago, is even more amazing! Carnegie Mellon student, Nicholas Doiron is the impressive brain behind the olpcMAP, but with 500+- points on it already, coming in from all over the world, this example of a global volunteer community connecting with one another and sharing information and strategies provides a relevant and valuable lesson for the young Tufts Compass Fellows.

Thanks as always go to Adam Holt, our extraordinary and dedicated OLPC Volunteer Coordinator, for everything he does! Adam hosted the evening, provided refreshments and donated a RARE red XO to be awarded one student. Tufts freshman, Nick Santangelo won the red XO by asking a tough question about whether XOs could help Native American children in the USA, and with his convincing promise that the red XO will be used often by his young cousins. 

By Thursday morning, the torrential rains had stopped. Spring is visibly on its way to Boston even though we have no signs of it yet in a few hours north, in New Hampshire. I had a lovely morning walk before heading home!



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