Posts Tagged 'echoing green'

My Echoing Green App

Echoing Green is an awesome, but incredibly competitive fellowship that nurtures social enterprises by providing them with all sorts of supports.  Their application deadline was 11/12/10, and I gave it a shot.  Here are some tidbits from what I submitted.  Please note the strict character limits.

Describe your idea for social change in one single sentence. (150 characters including spaces)

To address the science achievement gap in the U.S., Schooba teaches students from low-income communities standards-based science through SCUBA diving.

Describe your idea for social change in one single paragraph. (500 characters including spaces)

Schooba is a science mentoring program with an engaging hook and 1:1 tutoring.  Scuba diving is used as a way of: 1) facilitating the relationship between the student and mentor, 2) presenting standards-based science in an engaging, relevant, and hands-on method, and 3) exposing the student to a new and significant experience.  Weekly student-mentor meetings alternate between tutoring sessions and the scuba training.  We will grow by expanding our network of partnering schools and dive shops.

What specific problem in the world are you trying to solve?  Where possible, use statistics and references to identify the size and scope of the problem. (500 characters including spaces)

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (2005), only 16% of 8th graders considered proficient in science were low-income students (compared to their 37% presence in the population).  This issue is concerning, as the National Science Foundation predicts that “eighty percent of jobs in the next decade will require some form of math and science”.  I intend to provide the benefits of an interest in science to a growing number of low-income students each year.

What, specifically, will be your programs or products? Who will you work with? (1000 characters including spaces)

We believe that a poor performance in science stems from a lack of engagement.

When a student joins Schooba, they are paired with a mentor.  Through the 9 week course, they learn to scuba dive together, meeting for at least one hour a week.  Every other week, these meetings are 1:1 tutoring sessions.  To facilitate the tutoring, the mentor uses the Schooba curriculum, which presents standards-based science in the context of scuba diving.  On opposite weeks, the student and mentor participate in a partnering dive shop’s introductory scuba course.  These meetings take place in a pool, where the pair scuba dive and participate in science activities underwater.  After completion of the course, an alumni program works to keep the student and mentor connected to the Schooba community.

We will work with low-income middle and high school students who have an interest in the program and an ability to meet its guidelines.  In a survey of 80 Title I students, 39% met these standards.

And now, take me to The Schooba Academy’s totally awesome fundraising page where I can help them raise the funds they need to make this happen!!!

Switching gears (pun intended)

So, we made it to Wien! (Vienna, for those of you that don’t speak Deutsch.)  I apologize for the lack of activity, but the route was much more rural than anticipated (don’t ask me why I anticipated otherwise) and computers (that I could use) were few and far between.  Nevertheless, there was plenty of time for thinking and getting ready to switch gears (har har har) for the big return to The States on August 20.

The vision of The Schooba Academy is getting clearer and clearer.  I am not sure/I don’t think that I will ever consider it “done” or “perfect”, but I am getting to the point where I am ready to move forward with what I have and move on to the next step/steps in the process, i.e. developing the curriculum and figuring out how to fund/implement it.  (This is where you tell me not to worry and that a most generous donation is on its way!)  The idea of a “partnership” or a “collaboration” with an already existing organization has come up before as a possibility to fruition.  The Echoing Green Applicant Coaching Guide states,

“Given that starting an organization is an incredibly difficult and expensive enterprise and that there are already over 1 million organizations in the US alone, it often makes more sense to find out which organizations are already working in your field and then see if you can collaborate with them to achieve your goals.

Wise social entrepreneurs spend a great deal of time researching their field.  They gather information on the major players and compare and contrast their respective ideas.  If they find an organization that’s already implementing their idea, they work with it to achieve their goals.  And even if no organization is already working on their exact vision, they find compatible organizations that may be willing to incorporate their new idea.  Only when they’ve exhausted existing resources do they attempt to start a new organization.”

And so, what organizations might I be able to collaborate with?

So far, I have gathered a list of five:

Outward Bound

Rocking the Boat

The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School

Harlem Children’s Zone

Stoked Mentoring

What am I missing?  Is there anywhere that The Academy fits in??

Successfully sidetracked

It’s 2:24 am, and I’ve been successfully sidetracked.  I had meant to spend the night working on the Echoing Green Application Handbook, but Yoshi,  my brother and Director of Knowing Things, informed me of this opportunity.

How cool is that!?

And how awesome would it be for The Academy!?

My plate is overflowing, but with a nearing application deadline, I feel that this is an investment which is worth my time.  And so, without further ado (“although I’m rather fond of ado” – Tom Robbins), I teleport thee to the top of my priorities.


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