Up in the air again, I headed to a part of the country I hadn’t been to yet: Little Rock, Arkansas. Exciting. 🙂
From April 4th-6th, a group of high school students from a few different schools in Little Rock came together for an awesome event: Startup Weekend-High School, with Startup Weekend, a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs and Noble Impact, an organization promoting the intersection between public service and entrepreneurship with high school students.
What was great about it was the space that was created for students to dream up limitless possibilities for the world.
As I sat with a group of students from Little Rock, AR, that weekend, I saw a dream, a spark in all of their eyes.
As I have with the kids in Watts, Los Angeles. Central Valley, CA. Rhode Island Ave., Washington D.C. Bronx, New York.
Though spread across the country, they have common dreams; common visions.
On the first event day, this group came up with their problem and idea to create a non-profit connecting high school students to volunteer opportunities. With the development of their projects, statements and questions arose: What’s your MVP? What’s your Revenue Model? What are your Value Propositions?
This group pushed through, creating the “AR Dreamcatchers.” Throughout the weekend, a few challenges arose. MVP’s, User Experience, Revenue Model…
As the process continued, I started to feel and see challenges arise. I could see that as these questions about the actual implementation of their start-up showed up, there was some pressure to alter their vision.
Time passed. It evolved.
It became something different…until they realized that this organization is still part of their own story; the story of their community.
One student remembered that volunteering is important to him because of he felt like a contributor to society when doing it.
This is why this group created what they created: it is their story and how they want to positively impact their community.
At the time of their pitch to community members, the group presented every aspect of their idea. They were incredible in their light, standing up on stage moving the crowd with their story, idea, and model.
They did it. They didn’t win in the competition pitch. Though they recalled, Who says losing is failure?
They’re still working at it. They’ve got a like-minded community partner in mind. 🙂
It’ll be awesome.
I thought about how we can allow young people to be free in being authentic as they create and build their visions. So when making decisions about MVP’s or revenue models, how can we continuously promote freedom and authenticity for them through the process?
When we’re teaching material, skills are developed (i.e. critical thinking, collaboration, business development, strategic planning). To take it to another level, how can we show that students’ stories and voices are powerful in their own light? It is from this authentic standpoint that they can create and dream up possibilities for their communities.
When young people reflect on themselves and honor their stories, they get to build empathy and compassion for themselves and their communities. They get to perceive the world through a compassionate, hopeful lens and consistently ask themselves if what they’re creating will be good for their communities. Beyond reflecting on the MVP or user experience, how can you ensure that young people are consciously creating from this place?
So, when their non-profit organization and/or business is out there, they will have remained true to themselves, their visions, and what they created for their community.
So grateful to have been in the space with all of these students and a group of like-minded people across the country. Thanks for welcoming me into the space.:)