Becca is passionate about bridging cultures in both her personal and professional life. She speaks (to varying degrees) English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Hebrew, and American Sign Language. Prior to Ashoka, she managed an international human rights program for Latin American lawyers and law students at American University. She has a BA in Media Studies from Pomona College, an MA in International Affairs from the American University School of International Service, and is working towards completing her MPA at the American University School of Public Affairs.
Latisha, thanks so much for sharing your work with us! I think that it is absolutely important that kids find meaningful ways to engage during the summer--especially ways that combine both intellectual stimulation and play. I also think that it's great that you provide a hot meal. Too often, we expect kids to perform in schools without realizing that they may be showing up to school with en empty stomach, creating a difficult environment for learning. I would encourage you to take time to better articulate your work so that others can better understand the model you are working with and the impact you are having in your community. Young Royals Enrichment Inc. sounds like an awesome project, but it was a hard to understand the details of the activities you do and what impact it has on your community from your entry form.
Amanda, I loved having the opportunity to read more about Project Playdate! Two things stood out for me. First, I love that you focused on the fact that people need opportunities to empower themselves. Second, I think it's great that you use existing infrastructure and resources, such as using utilizing existing networks of babysitters and using Kidville as a playspace.
One suggestion I have is to beef up your impact measurements, especially the social impact measurements. You seem to have a lot of quantitative data about how the business has expanded and qualitative/anecdotal data about the social impact of your work. In 2016, as you begin to run the career development workshops for mothers in need it will be important to find a way to measure quantitatively and anecdotally the impact of these trainings. For example, you could design a survey to give the moms at the beginning and end of the training, as well as 6 months out to measure both concrete things like whether any of the moms have received job offers or promotions and measure more subjective data like the confidence these women feel in their professional lives. This data is going to be immensely useful to you both to rapid prototype your own curriculum and indicate to funders/audience how Project Playdate is helping empower women in need.
I love the idea of a “third space” where students can feel comfortable, confident and supported. Creating spaces where kids feel that they can be vulnerable and open are also spaces where kids can learn a lot more.