As week one of my internship as an Education Pioneers Fellow with Teach for America (TFA) comes to a close, I have a lot of things to reflect upon and even more to adjust to – including but in no means limited to getting on a plane almost immediately after the Operations final, scouring the West Village for apartments, and getting back into the swing of business casual and the working world.
One of the things I'm impressed by is the growing number of young people who want to become social entrepreneurs. At Stanford University, where I work, I am continually running into young men and women who have set their sights on creating organizations to solve the world's most pressing problems. These students are choosing meaningful work and smaller salaries over prestigious jobs and big paychecks.
Lots of pressure writing the first post, but here it goes:
Today was my first day working as the Aspiring Leaders Program coordinator for Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. Day #1 activities included poring over 12 project plans completed by Teach for America summer fellows (my management consulting experience ACTUALLY provides value afterall...), developing objectives and activities for the program's immersion leadership training in 2 weeks (planning to borrow a lot from my Leadership Fellows experience... thank you Evelyn), and tracking down a vehicle, since my idea to bike everywhere was quickly thwarted once I spent 48 hours remembering what 90% humidity feels like...
The project Baby Warmth team came together in Professor Aaker’s class, bound by our desire to work with a cause related to children to create small ripples of change. What better way, we thought, than to help with fundraising for a cause like Embrace, a company that was born out of Prof. Patell’s class at the Stanford d.School and makes baby incubators for extreme affordability.
The current economic recession has been a disaster for many nonprofits. Individuals are donating less money, foundations have pared back on their grantmaking, and government agencies are cutting back on their funding. At the same time as financial resources have become more constrained, demand for the services that many nonprofits provide has increased. Homeless shelters, food banks, job-training programs, and the like, are busier than ever.
As we’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, California and Nevada are feeling significant water supply stresses, but corporations and other urban water users aren’t feeling the pinch, because the taps are still running and the price of water is so low. Whose shoulders are these supply/demand concerns falling on?
There is no more identifiable symbol of the West’s water infrastructure than Hoover Dam. The 726-foot tall concrete arch gravity dam stands shock-white against Boulder Canyon’s red-rock walls, is made of 4.5 million cubic yards of cement, and has the capacity to hold back 26 million acre-feet of water in Lake Mead that glistens cloyingly blue against the desert sky.
After leaving agriculture and the Central Valley behind, our group set off for Los Angeles and Las Vegas, where one of the themes of our meetings was the business approach to operating in a water-constrained environment. In Los Angeles and Orange County, we visited Chevron’s El Segundo refinery, Coca Cola’s Anaheim bottling plant, and Disneyland. In Las Vegas, we met with some of the top hospitality companies, including MGM, Harrah’s, and Las Vegas Sands.
Today was our formal introduction to the community where we will be doing our home stays, Utha and the Buffelshoek Trust. I won’t bother you with background on Buffelshoek, follow this link for more. We were prepped by Shehnaz Cassim, who is a project director at the Buffelshoek Trust. We watched a video and got updates on some of the latest projects and challenges, including building a hospital and the high unemployment rate among young men.