Fall 2015

LearnServe Zambia Leaves a Legacy

In the summer of 2011, 6 Sidwell students joined 12 peers from 6 other schools on LearnServe Zambia together with Sidwell Counselor and LearnServe Zambia leader Gaby Grebski. All LearnServe Abroad students are asked to create an action plan upon return from the trip, raising awareness and support for the projects they visited. The 2011 Sidwell students together with their peers from Central High School decided to sponsor a Zambian teacher they met at the Malambo School in Monze. Loveness Maambo wanted to go back to university but did not have the funds to pay the fees. Sidwell students made the commitment to support her for 4 years, and have held fundraisers and wired funds to support Ms. Maambo ever since. Sidwell and Central students from later programs joined in the effort.

In September this year, Loveness Maambo graduated the University of Lusaka and is qualified to work as an HIV counselor. She hopes to provide counseling in Monze and is grateful for the opportunity to attend graduate school and do something about the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in her community. We are so proud that our students were able to support her dream and make a difference that will last many years after the trip abroad – thank you in particular to Jessica Springer, Kylie Kirstein, Sam Lipscomb, Aiyana Riddihough, Elizabeth Cunningham, Lavanya Ghani and Koon-Peng Missana for taking the initiative and starting this action plan.

Alumna Amy Wu on The American Journey

LearnServe Fellows Program alumna Amy Wu was featured on MMC-TV's The American Journey, where she discussed the pressures for academic success and cultural gaps within first- and second-generation Asian families.  Amy's venture in the Fellows Program had focused on creating inter-generational dialogue within the Asian community to help especially youth and their parents more openly discuss issues such as academic success, immigrant identities, and mental health.  Now a student at Claremont McKenna College, Amy is not currently working on her original venture, but is still active in tackling issues affecting the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.  She has also helped her campus to be designated an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus last year.  She says she is "thankful that LearnServe connected me to an opportunity to speak out about something I'm passionate about."

LearnServe Incubator Grows

LearnServe's year-long continuation of the LearnServe Fellows Program is entering its second year. Our Incubator works with students as they navigate the critical process of implementing their social ventures – introducing them to a Lean Startup approach to test and refine their ideas. Along the way they meet with local sustainable businesses, start-ups, and non-profit organizations. This year 17 students – alumni of the LearnServe Fellows Program and an in-school Seeding Social Innovation course – are participating in the Incubator. They are shown here at a site visit to Honest Tea in Bethesda, MD. Stay tuned for updates on this amazing cohort of high school students and for their end of year capstone presentations in April!

6th Graders Launching a Social Venture? No problem.

The students in DC International School’s Seeding Social Innovation course have already successfully launched one social venture.  And that was just in two weeks, during the first cycle of the social entrepreneurship elective made up of 6th, 7th and 8th graders.  The 24 students led a school-based book drive that collected more than 1,100 read aloud books for pre-k and kindergarten students.  The drive was so successful that the class is planning to start a library at a local clinic or community center that is currently without any books for children.

These students are part of LearnServe International's pilot program for Seeding Social Innovation, our in-school curriculum, with a twist. 

Read More on the LearnServe Blog>>

STAFF PROFILE: T. Courtney Williams

Te’Sheron Courtney Williams is a Co-Leader for the LearnServe Fellows Program, a Co-Coordinator for the Social Innovation Collaborative and a blossoming Social Entrepreneur with a distinct passion for youth activism and food! She’s a Texas Native, born into a single parent-home that drove her innate ability to lead and be supportive. She obtained her BA in History and Political Science from Howard University and her previous experiences were facilitating and coordinating enrichment programs for DC Court Involved Youth. Courtney seeks to build bridges, connecting traditionally ‘underserved’ young people’s bold and innovative ideas with accessible resources and healthy lifestyles to support goal attainment.

Courtney joined the LearnServe team after being floored by the innovation and achievements of the Fellows from afar. Now, she seeks to ensure that each Fellow is presented with diverse access options to resources that will fuel their ventures and lives beyond the LearnServe Fellows Program. The Social Innovation Collaborative meets for Power House Sessions once a month and integrates various means of transferring resources to Fellows. The next Power House Session will be held on November 21st with a focus on resume design and building a personal brand.

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