The following is a guest post by (beginning in the front row, second from left) Lena, Anita, Ellen, Lily, and Camille, students at Burlington High School, who are taking a philanthropy class this spring.
We are a group of kids from Burlington High School who are part of a class called “Philanthro-me,” the point of which is to delve deeper into the inner-workings of non-profit organizations in and around Burlington. Our class, which has ten students, was tasked with designing solutions to problems that two nonprofits (Spectrum and King Street Youth Center) face everyday.
Our group specifically is focusing on Spectrum. Through many rounds of interviews and brainstorming using the famed practice of “design thinking” we met with many people in and around Spectrum to discuss needs and possible solutions to problems that Spectrum youth face every day.
We are 9 days into our class and nearing the end, we have currently fundraised $6,500 dollars for both organizations, as well as designed something called the Passion Project.
Here’s our spiel; Spectrum does a fantastic job with providing basic needs things for at-risk youth. They provide counseling services, meals twice a day, and basic toiletry and clothing needs. This helps kids feel safe and comfortable with their lives, though they may still have a large amount of negative influences in their lives. They may also not have a strong network of reliable accountable adults and peers in their lives. This lack keeps the kids living in a day-to-day mindset and may not have the tools or support to think anywhere beyond their next meal.
This is where the Passion Project comes in: it provides a way for Spectrum kids and their mentors to experience community activities that may not otherwise be available to them. This will hopefully allow the kids to build connections with positive influences in the community and connect them to their passions, which will give them the tools and skillset to look ahead in their life and plan for the future.
We hope to connect with community members such as the Community Sailing Center, Leddy Arena, and the Flynn Center/Space to provide enriching and educational introductory classes to hopefully inspire kids and give them life-long passions that will carry them through the rest of their lives.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” —Oprah Winfrey
Our goals for the next couple of days are to fundraise the remaining $3,500 and to flesh out the Passion Project as well as to make specific asks of the community organization.
Lily, Anita, Camille, Ellen, and Lena