Tuesday, June 15, 2010
For the next 10 weeks I will be working with Value Schools, a charter school operator that manages two charter schools in Los Angeles. I will be working with the CEO of Value Schools to develop a strategic growth plan that will allow Value Schools to add three additional schools to its existing two schools. The first part of the project will involve developing a financial model that will project revenues and expenses and the amount of funds needed from philanthropic sources. During the second part of the project we will identify the locations in Los Angeles with the strongest need for a charter school. Once we identify the target locations we will develop a plan for recruiting students and locate a suitable facility that will support Value Schools’ growth needs. The next 10 weeks will be busy, and I am looking forward to a great learning experience this summer.
As I stepped out of the plane in Hubli, India, I observed the landscape and was pleasantly surprised by the cool breeze and beautiful sunset that greeted me. As we drove through the city I saw the familiar sights of a developing country: large, developed buildings clustered with haphazardly built structures, dogs and cows aimlessly roaming the streets, and the buzz of crowded streets.
Now having spent a week in Hubli, the sights of the city have become more familiar and I am excited to begin my internship and make a change in this community. My project for the summer will be focused on utilizing a mobile based software that connects the HIV/AIDS community with support groups and clinics in the Hubli-Dharwad region in Karnataka. Specifically, my colleagues and I are implementing the SMS Frontline open source software with the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT), the funding agency, and with the Bhoruka Charitable Trust (BCT), the implementation agency. Currently, these two agencies are utilizing the software in two of their projects; the first project is specifically working with high risk communities: female sex workers. The software will allow BCT peer educators to send information about this high risk demographic to BCT for reporting through a SMS message. This will eliminate the inefficient paper system that is currently in place and will more accurately report data from this community. The second application, and what I am most excited about, is the use of the software to contact the HIV/AIDS community directly to provide reminders about health checks and testing as well as support group meeting reminders. There is a lot of potential for this software to streamline a lot of the redundancy within the system and to provide a more accurate snapshot of the number of people within the community who are following up on the recommended health checkups, testing, etc.
The two agencies I will be working with, KHPT and BCT, are amazing NGO's that truly support the implementation of this software. My first encounter with KPHT occurred on the first day after arriving to Hubli. We had a site visit to one of the general clinics and we were greeted by members of the community who are affected/infected by HIV/AIDS which included sex workers, children, and foster parents. The gathering took place under a tree in one of the villages and everyone in the community was so warm and willing to speak with us. Subsequent meetings with KHPT and BCT have also been very positive experiences for me. The staff is very passionate and they have been very helpful with arranging site visits to AIDS/HIV clinics so we get a better understanding of the structure and to familiarize ourselves with the current referral system.
We have a lot of work ahead of us and the challenge is an exciting one. Working in a foreign country presents unique challenges as we have to adapt to local customs and tailor our program to the needs of the community. We are fortunate to be working with great NGO's in the community and our support system is very strong with the help of the Deshpande Foundation. It should be an amazing summer and I know that I will learn a great deal- stay tuned!
Monday, June 14, 2010
I had a long term plan, but when it came time to make a decision about my summer plans, I found myself at a loss. I had no idea where to begin. I soon found Education Pioneers, and realized this would be the perfect first step. My summer fellowship will help me make the transition from financial services to education – and eventually to my long term plans - by surrounding me with the right people, the right resources and invaluable opportunities.
Education Pioneers is a national human capital organization founded in 2003 by Scott Morgan. The organization is focused on urban education reform and addresses this issue by building a pipeline of talent from graduate programs such as business, law, education, policy and a variety of other disciplines. Graduate students are recruited as fellows for a 10-week internship which includes weekly workshops in addition to a project with a partner organization such as a school district, charter organization or foundation.
Currently, Education Pioneers operates in seven urban cities. This summer, there are 290 fellows from 111 graduate school programs at 66 universities. I am a proud member of this summer’s Los Angeles cohort, which includes 42 fellows from around the country. We are working with 15 different partner organizations, including LAUSD, PUC Schools, ICEF (Inner City Education Foundation) Public Schools, Teach for America and the Broad Foundation.
I will be working with ICEF Public Schools, a charter management organization which manages 15 charter schools in South Los Angeles. ICEF was founded in 1994 by Michael Piscal in order to transform South LA into an economically vibrant community. My project is to evaluate ICEF’s position within its community in order to recommend a strategic marketing/communication plan.
Today we kicked off the summer with a Foundations workshop for the LA cohort, and tomorrow is my first day at ICEF. Stay tuned!
- Mark Loranger, President & CEO of Chrysalis
I look forward to working with an organization that supports people as they help themselves. Chrysalis is not an organization that provides clients with a one time $200 gift card to Ralph’s and expects the clients to do the rest. Chrysalis is an organization that understands the difficulties their clients face living in poverty and getting/maintaining a job, and fundamentally changes the person forever who sticks with the program. Chrysalis Enterprises gets clients back on their feet.
My previous volunteer work included tutoring students living in low-income housing in the Conejo Valley, but the situation of those residents did not seem as dire as that of those living on Skid Row. Despite my thousands of hours of volunteer work over the years, this is the most involved I will be in the day-to-day operations of an organization that has a mission in which I strongly believe. So, why now?
When starting business school, I was confident that my career after would be with some type of nonprofit organization/social enterprise. A few months into my first year, though, surrounded by students who aspire to work for all of the big corporations I had heard of but never thought of working for, I started having second thoughts. I wondered if it would be better for me to go into the private sector immediately following graduation and then after that experience begin working for a nonprofit organization. My previous career was in city government (the public sector), so I do not have any experience in the private sector. I hope to learn a lot about myself and how I want to spend my years after business school through my time with Chrysalis Enterprises.
My responsibilities with the organization are not as clear cut as some of those of my classmates working for large, private corporations. I look forward to the opportunity to grow in many ways, leaving my comfort zone and immersing myself in areas in which I am less familiar. Leaving my comfort zone seems less intimidating when I am doing it for an organization for which I am passionate.
I want to leave you with a brief video about Chrysalis. In explaining the organization I will dedicate 9 weeks of my life to this summer, I found that the following video captured not only what Chrysalis is and does, but the energy with which they do it.
Posted by Molly