Fall 2014

What is an Incubator?

Anyone who has attended our annual Panels and Venture Fair knows that some really amazing youth pass through our Fellows program. By the end of the year, they are energized and released out into the world to change things. We invite them to keep in touch, and come to us for advice — but until last month had no structured opportunity for them to embrace challenges, celebrate successes, and continue to grow as entrepreneurs within LearnServe.

Like our Fellows, we accepted the challenge to look ahead. In September we launched the LearnServe Incubator, a "Year 2" follow-up to the Fellows Program. The 15 students participating in this pilot program benefit from technical conversations on customer discovery, digital communications, and prototype development; visit local social enterprises such as Honest Tea and Social Driver; enjoy more intensive mentorship support; and focus on getting their ideas off the ground. Already we have seen their ideas sharpen and their plans inch closer to impact.

Not what we expected in Paraguay

No, that's not a photo from Venice! As many of you may know, this year, the Paraguayan community of Santa Ana, where LearnServe has worked for many years, was devastated by floods only a few weeks before our students' arrival to the country. Many people have been displaced, with homes and businesses destroyed and livestock lost. LearnServe Paraguay teamed up with the Centro Cultural Comunitario, a local organization coordinating relief efforts, to provide assistance where they could.

They sorted clothing and other donated supplies for affected families, surveyed the community to identify needs, prepared meals for those displaced by flooding, and even assisted those caught by rising waters to move their belongings to higher ground. Many of their activities and the destruction they witnessed were captured in the photos taken on the trip.

The confluence of endemic poverty, natural disaster, and the precarious lives of people living on the edges of society (the Santa Ana community is not recognized by the government of Paraguay) made a huge impression on the teens and teachers traveling with us. You can read more about their thoughts and how their outlooks were challenged on the Paraguay 2014 blog.

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The 0.25%: Why Study Abroad Matters 

After reading this summer's blog posts and talking with our students about how meaningful the experience abroad was for them, I remember how rare this kind of thing truly is for American students. Less than 0.25% of American undergraduates study abroad during college.  While national statistics are not collected for study abroad in high school, we know that it is even less than that.  Why is that a problem? 

>> Read More on the blog>>

Staff Spotlight: Darrell Scott

Darrell Scott joined the LearnServe Fellows Program team as a Co-Leader last year. He first learned of the program through a friend who told him about the wonderful work being done by young people at LearnServe

In his day job, he works for Accelerate Changea social ventures incubator that helps organizations grow to scale using rapid experimentation. Every day, he's working with nonprofits who want to use Lean Startup methods for social good - which made him a great match for LearnServe!

He was so inspired by the students he met last year, that he decided to combine his LearnServe experience with his start-up savvy to launch the LearnServe Incubator for Fellows Program alumni.

Darrell really enjoys learning about creative and innovative approaches to social change so he's always delighted to see what the students are cooking up, and how they make change happen every day.

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