The BNI Foundation is excited to announce a collaborative effort between the BNI Foundation and Kids Are Heroes®. Beth Misner, co-founder of the BNI Foundation, was introduced by BNI Director Consultant, Michael Barbieri, to Gabe O’Neill, proud dad of MaryMargaret O’Neill (founder of KAH), in Atlanta, Georgia, during International Networking Week in February, 2015. Their shared mission of educating and empowering children told them it was kismet that brought them together. They made plans almost immediately forge a strong partnership.
Here is what Gabe shared with us about his daughter’s organization:
Kids Are Heroes is an incubator for very young social entrepreneurs. Its mission is to empower children to effect positive change around the world, among their peers, and especially within themselves. The mission is accomplished by showcasing amazing children from all over the globe who are drilling water wells in 3rd world countries, building homes in Haiti, or simply filling up their local food banks.
By featuring so many wonderful children, Kids Are Heroes normalizes this activity to other kids who visit the site. As young visitors browse through all the stories there, they realize they are also capable of doing great things like the kids they read about. They begin to discover their own passion to effect social good.
As they complete their objectives, they then are featured on the website where they can now begin influencing other kids all over the word. It is the mission of Kids Are Heroes to help nurture these children, to teach them to build sustainable businesses, and to connect them so they can rely on each other as advocates throughout the rest of their lives.
The ripple effects from empowering and educating children in this way are immeasurable. By achieving success in helping others, kids’ confidence skyrockets. They absorb many skills not yet mastered by adults, such as public speaking, resource management, leadership, finance, and the list continues. By the time they reach adulthood, they are equipped with an untold number of skills that will help them succeed in business. More importantly they will also have ingrained in them one more critical quality − compassion.
When Gabe sent us his section of this blog post, we quickly realized that the BNI side of our collaboration must include teaching these young social entrepreneurs the power of referral marketing to enhance all the amazing things they are accomplishing. Ivan has said for many years that our colleges and universities are not teaching the younger generation about business networking, although an overwhelming majority of business people polled (94%) agreed that it is extremely important.
As for a partnership between Kids Are Heroes and the BNI Foundation, Gabe has shared quite a few of the young heroes’ stories with us to showcase their efforts to effect systemic change within education, literacy and other academic matters. They are leading the way for us and our BNI members’ kids. We had the pleasure of doing a podcast with MaryMargaret and Gabe recently to begin the process of learning from them and their work.
So look for great things to come from this partnership. If you are a BNI member, tell your chapter about Kids Are Heroes. Let your school guidance counselors in on it. Only good things can come of spreading this message throughout all of your networks. We agree with Gabe the Kid Voices are just as powerful as Business Voices.
If you have any interest in helping us bring BNI kids into the BNI Foundation’s Business Voices movement, please write to Beth.