We’re always looking for ways to make success easier for kids, either by removing barriers or providing incentives for focusing on studies. Peck Elementary of Greensboro, NC has worked extensively alongside Business Voices members to great benefit. Most recently, this came in the form of a new program to reward good attendance.
The BNI Foundation was recently approved by the United States IRS as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charity after being a donor-advised fund for the last 18 years as part of the California Community Foundation [also a 501(c)(3)]. While we transition from CCF to our own not-for-profit entity, a few things are shifting for us. The most exciting shift is the formation of our own Board of Directors.
There’s a new program in which local Business Voices members are spreading the word. It’s called the Chip Program, and it takes some simple principles that have worked in the past to help inspire better behavior patterns for kids.
The idea is this: kids receive special poker chips as a reward for good behavior patterns. Any student in a given class can win, and the student with the most chips at the end of each week wins a prize. Students vote on what the prize is from the beginning, so it’s something everyone is excited about.
The recent career fair at Carver High School was a success. There was a solid turnout of business people from the Triad ready to share advice with students.
Another big bit of news is the recent partnership between Business Voices and LEAD Girls of NC, a non-profit dedicated to teaching girls throughout North Carolina valuable life skills early on. Many of these skills, such as opening a checking account or balancing a checkbook, are things many students have no idea about as they enter adulthood. Founder Joy Nelson says the organization partners with local banks to teach financial literacy so that these girls are ready for the careers and responsibilities waiting for them after high school.
The spirit of giving is strong as we enter this fall season. New Jerusalem Cathedral, after hearing about the Business Voices movement in the Triad area of NC, has decided to donate gifts to all students of Peck Elementary for Christmas this year.
This is an annual program New Jerusalem Cathedral has done for 15 years of creating donations to various facilities, with Peck being this year’s focus. When David Brockman informed them that Peck Elementary has 400 students, they replied “we don’t care if it’s 600-700 kids; we want to help them!”
by Brian Watkins
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Butch Coatzee, Executive Director of the Eastern Cape of South Africa, about a recent donation to a children’s learning organization. This serves as a great example of life-changing progress for kids, and how BNI chapters all over the world are getting involved.
As a member of the Gately Rotary Club of East London and South Africa, Butch has been in contact with charitable organizations of all kinds. Their Early Childhood Development project provides training to Early Childhood Practitioners in rural areas, which is a much-needed service in most areas.
When Texas BNI member, Becky Isbell, shared with the BNI Foundation’s Co-Founder and President, Beth Misner, that she was going to have her Mini Cooper wrapped to do a “Fill My Mini” school supply drive for teachers, Beth knew she wanted to use her car, a pretty blue Grand Sport Corvette, to gather school supplies, as well. Better yet, Becky’s idea inspired Beth to open up a Fill My Ride with School Supplies campaign throughout BNI.
The BNI Foundation Dream Team of volunteers had a preliminary call to gauge the interest from others about a school supply drive for schools and soon realized that this was an idea that could really take the BNI Foundation and the Business Voices initiative into a lot of cities and communities.
Another round of career fairs is coming up this fall! They’ve been a great success so far, commonly attracting 100 business people per event to speak with kids about various professions to help them make educated decisions about their futures.
That was the case with the recent career fair in Guilford Middle School, where students went on a scavenger hunt to find info about various careers so they could ask specific questions to the adult volunteers. Every volunteer enjoyed their experience; Glen Coleman said that most of them were asking about when the next opportunity would be to share with the kids.
Pictured above: Beth Misner on video with Meena Srinivasan presenting live
Beth Misner recently shared a brief video update on the Business Voices movement with an audience in India. Meena Srinivasan, of Business Voices Team India, had a presentation during the recent Directors’ Conference in Hyderabad in which she inspired the audience to reach into the schools of their communities and help out. Education is the best way to give kids in tough situations hope for a brighter future.
A surprising number of children across the US come to school each day without ready access to clean clothes. One school in particular in Fairfield, California noticed striking attendance problems that seemed to be due to this. Whirlpool introduced its “Care Counts” program in that area, to great effect.
Whirlpool donated seventeen pairs of washer and dryers to school districts in St. Louis and Fairfield, which allowed those schools to invite kids to bring their clothes in to wash. What kind of difference did that make?