After a busy weekend of getting my youngest off to dance camp in VT (shout out to ReNew Salvage in Brattleboro), I left a messy house (oh well) and unpaid bills (oops) to make it to a luncheon in Boston…
The event was led by Echoing Green, an absolutely amazing organization that has sponsored over 450 social entrepreneurs in their 20 year history… Echoing Green’s president Cheryl Dorsey was warm and authentic in her welcome to the filled-to-capacity luncheon, sponsored by State Street Foundation, Inc., the charitable arm of State Street Corporation. The group of socially-conscious attendees represented a diversity of backgrounds and experience, from bankers to educators to social entrepreneurial alumni of Echoing Green’s fellowship program ~ all gathered together with the common goal of advancing sustainable social change by supporting social entrepreneurs with all kinds of bold new ideas, using their inspired concepts toward that same common goal of positive and lasting social and environmental change.
Echoing Green’s statistics are impressive. Their approach is one of support and collaboration with somewhat unproven, but incredibly driven, social entrepreneurs. The combination of their hearts and minds, with a belief in bold determination and a sense of obligation, is absolutely inspiring. As I sat among them, on the 36th floor of the State Street Financial Center overlooking all of Boston, I was both humbled and emboldened to be in a room filled with like-minded people, living their lives and pursuing their careers in a way that is mindful of the needs of others and embodies a “take action” mentality toward meaningful change.
The three speakers were fabulous (have I used that adjective yet?). All past Echoing Green fellows, their passion for their mission was fresh and moving. Their proven ability to make a difference through their efforts seemed to inspire them to do more. For all of their amazing accomplishments, each is driven to continue to pursue their efforts, strengthened in their knowledge that they have helped so many yet aware of the need to continue their efforts.
The three speakers were:
- Katya Fels Smyth, Founder of On the Rise, Inc. (1995 Echoing Green Fellow)
From the On The Rise website’s About Us Page:
On The Rise’s mission is to support the initiative and strength of women living in crisis or homelessness. In a physically and psychologically safe environment, we build the relationships and provide the tools that each woman needs to rise to her potential.
On The Rise annually reaches and assists nearly 300 of the most highly marginalized and socially isolated women. We use a relational model designed to offer respect, dignity, connection, information, guidance and hope to women who have fallen through the cracks of our social service system. We meet each woman where she is, help her build on her strengths, and partner with her on her journey from surviving, to living, to thriving.
- Eric Dawson, Co-Founder and President of Peace Games (1996 Echoing Green Fellow)
The Peace Games site’s “About Us Page” includes a wonderful overview of Peace Games vision, mission and goals. Here’s just a portion from the page:
Peace Games empowers students to create their own safe classrooms and communities by forming partnerships with elementary schools, families, and young adult volunteers.
- To empower children with the skills, knowledge, relationships and opportunities to be peacemakers.
- To engage all community members (students, families, teachers, volunteers, organizations and businesses) to support children as peacemakers.
- To inspire a new generation of educators and activists.
- To change how society thinks about violence and young people.
- Michael Brown, Co-Founder and CEO of City Year, Inc. (1991 Echoing Green Fellow)
From City Year’s “Purpose” Page:
City Year was founded in 1988 on the belief that young people can change the world.By giving corps members the skills and opportunities to serve in schools and neighborhoods across the country, City Year seeks to:
- Help children succeed
- Build stronger communities
- Break down social barriers
- Develop young leaders
- Foster active citizenship
City Year’s vision is that one day the most commonly asked question of a young person will be, “Where are you going to do your service year?”
I could go on and on about each of the impressive speakers but I’m not going to! Rather, I’ll focus my attention on the business at hand ~ making my vision for a better world through increased awareness (of self, others, and the environment ~ whether locally, nationally and/or globally) and empowerment to live a purposeful life, starting right here on the North Shore.
And, you know what? I think the speakers would approve! I encourage you to visit their sites through the links provided while you choose how to spend your time online. Warning! Set the timer or you may just find yourself on the keyboard hours from now still following the stories of these fantastic organizations and the incredible people behind them!
Already spent enough time online today? Just a suggestion ~ You could always do some DeCluttering For Good in your house, freeing up your space and inspiring yourself to make the best of the day, for yourself and for others! Carpe Diem ~ Seize the Day… N.