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Archive for August, 2011

The “New Heroes” Make a Difference

11 Aug

Most people in their lifetime have had at least one hero that they’ve looked up to, whether it be a role model, family figure, or someone they strive to be like.  But what honestly makes a hero? Are they defined by their courage, morals, and self-sacrifices? Can anyone become a hero?

I never actually gave this much thought until I heard about the remarkable stories of 14 individuals who take on a new breed of entrepreneurship.  These 14 social entrepreneurs make up the “New Heroes,” a  PBS four-hour series that explores the depths of courage, compassion, and leadership these individuals have undergone to transform change all over the world.  They have successfully used their business skills to help alleviate poverty, illness, unemployment and other social problems. Through their innovative techniques and powerful compassion for their cause, these brave men and women have brought education, opportunity, and hope to impoverished areas across the globe. Each person has a different story, cause, and approach but together they have the determination to improve the lives of millions.

So, who are the heroes behind all of this magic? Let’s introduce the players and their impact:

Kailash Satyarthi has rescued thousands of enslaved children in India by mounting raids on factories.  Although dangerous, he has successfully freed thousands of children and established the Global March Against Child Labor and the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude.

Mimi Silbert formed the Delancey Street Foundation which has been named the most successful rehabilitation project in the United States.

Moses Zulu opened Children’s Town in Zambia that offers a home for orphaned children with AIDS and other diseases.

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy and David Green worked together to form the Aravind Eye Hospital and Aurolab in many areas across the globe, performing surgical miracles for those in remote areas.

Nick Moon and Martin Fisher also worked together to develop new technologies in Africa that create jobs and wealth for many impoverished individuals.

Fabio Rosa has created two programs in Brazil that evoke community development through self-sustainable tactics.

In Peru, Albina Ruiz developed a solid waste management system that generates employment as well as cleaner communities.

Maria Teresa Leal founded Coopa-Roca, a sewing corporation that also provides employment opportunities for woman to work from home.

Muhammad Yunus founded the Grameen Bank, which loans money to millions of poor families in Bangladesh without any collateral.

Dina Abdel Wahab established the Baby Academy in Egypt basing its curriculum on a nurturing and educational atmosphere that aids  in children’s development.

In India, Inderjit Khurana fought to end child poverty by creating a platform of education that allows them to grow, work productively, and gain opportunities in their community.

The final hero of the segment is  Sompop Jantraka who put his life at risk to save young poor women who get sold into prostitution.  By forming the Daughters Education Program, he was able to offer young girls alternatives through education and job training that essentially prevented them from being trafficked into that dangerous and illegal industry.

Each individual has had a impact on the part of the community that they have touched.  They all had a vision for revolutionary change, and they put their lives on the line to stand up for a cause they believed in.  Their courage, dedication, and compassion combined with their empowering solutions to end social problems makes them a true hero. They are your everyday people that went on a journey to create lasting impacts on our world. They are the New Heroes of today.

To learn more about these individuals, be sure to check out the website.

What do McDonald’s, Subway, and BK have in common?

10 Aug

What do McDonald’s, Subway, and BK have in common?  Their Harlem outposts received unofficial “secret shopper” evaluations from our Champion Access participants.

On Monday, we launched our 3rd training program focused on management and financial math. Yesterday our focus was “The Basics of Evaluating Hospitality.” Participants hit the streets in small groups to evaluate White Castle, Burger King, McDonald’s, Subway, and Starbucks. We armed everyone with $3 dollars and asked them to pay close attention to the staff behaviors that affected their overall experience.

After braving the pouring rain, participants came back to the classroom with insightful and humorous observations. “I walked up to the man at Subway to order my food. I said, ‘Hello, how are you?’ He just stared back at me without answering,” Nafi recounted, with a smile of astonishment.

These are the sort of learning activities we are creating at Champion Access to improve self-awareness and uncover the details of what good service looks like. Who said job training and professional development can’t be fun? To see what else Champion Access has in store for participants, check out our Facebook page where we’ll be posting interviews and photos throughout the training.

Program 3 – off and running…

09 Aug

It is my pleasure to announce that our latest program is off and running… this 5-week, 30+ hour management training program will give 9 participants two very specific sets of hard and soft skills:

Hard Skills: mathematical expertise required to operate a restaurant (we call it Store Level Economics).

Soft Skills: Management, Leadership, and Life Skills

Today, participants will be given a small stipend to serve as unofficial “secret shoppers” and evaluate several food concepts near our program facility in Harlem… Very exciting…

Stay tuned for more updates, pictures, and videos…

Shaquanda and Christina getting to know each other

Champions of the Fundraiser

04 Aug

Yesterday marked the final day for Champion Access’s fundraiser to support a new 30 hour, 5 week program that will benefit talented underemployed workers.  Over the course of two weeks, they have successfully surpassed the allotted goal of $5,000.  In a single week, they were just shy this amount, having already raised $4,905.  Thanks to the generous donations from 118 individuals, Champion Access was able to raise a total of $8,745 for this cause.

Of the money raised, 65% of the profit will go directly to participant stipends to compensate the number of hours individuals forgo to be involved in this program, 15% will go to program supplies such as pens, binders, etc., and 20% will allocate team stipends for the nominal costs of the program by the staff.

This training program will provide workers in the food industry with the resources, skills, and support they need to advance in their field.  Their hard work and potential will be recognized, rewarded, and used to cultivate change.  With the economic distress that most individuals face, Champion Access will provide a stable backbone that will impact a 40%  increase and wage for talented underemployed adults.  By granting opportunities for individuals to make a livable wage in the City, they are also moving towards undoing generational poverty.

This program will certainly have a lasting impact on many individuals, and it will generate a brighter hope for their future.  Congratulations to the Champion Access staff for the hard word they underwent in putting together this worthy fundraiser.  Not only did everyone in the office get involved, but each person gave it their all to help raise money.  The Aurify Team along with the generous donors worked together to support this cause that will benefit and positively affect the entire City.

One Man’s Dream Can Make a Difference

02 Aug

What incites me most when reading about different nonprofits, social enterprises, or charitable events are the entrepreneurs behind it all. Their story, their dedication towards a cause, and their effort to institute a solution are the three components that generate a worthy piece to share.  One of these examples is based on a nonprofit organization established by one man in Brooklyn that I had the pleasure of learning about earlier this week.

When Divine Bradley was 17 years old, he had a dream like most others his age.  Living in a troubled, low-income environment with no role models or guidance, Divine Bradley knew he wanted a change.  After a series of unfortunate events that occurred in his life and having moved into a safer area, it was Bradley’s time to make a difference.  His dream was to develop an organization or safe house where kids his age could come to for guidance and education.  This dream soon became reality when he first opened his home to drifting young people around the Brooklyn area in 2002.  Later that year, he encouraged others in his neighborhood to raise money to rent out their community center as a base of their organization.  In just two weeks, Bradley and his team raised about $25,000 and launched a nonprofit, Team Revolution.

Currently, Team Revolution is a youth-run organization that has impacted over 500 individuals, with numbers rising each day.   From their after school programs to their community service projects and self-development curriculum, Team Revolution has created an empowering environment for young people.  They take pride in creating a brighter future for individuals who stem from disadvantaged communities.

The success of Divine Bradley and Team Revolution has certainly shown throughout the years.  Bradley even created the Fellowship Academy, which is a school-based program that teaches young people how to make a difference in their community.  He also won a Golden Brick award in 2007 for Community Building.  This was a great accomplishment for Bradley because his recognition for Team Revolution was now world-wide.

What’s remarkable about this organization is how one man’s dream can actually make a difference in the world.  Having started this program in one home and growing to exponential depths, Divine Bradley’s dedication has always been consistent.  Not only did he give back to his community, but he is also allowing others to follow his lead by giving them the opportunities they deserve to succeed.

501c3 status? Check.

02 Aug

Champion Access is officially recognized as tax-exempt under section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Our EIN is: 80-0636164.

Champion Access is a non-profit organization giving low income adults in New York City the opportunity to build personal and professional skills.