Identify how you have achieved/demonstrated a commitment to your short-term (18 months since last September) and long-term goals for giving. Describe the steps you took to be successful. Identify and explain the barriers that you had to overcome or that obstructed your success. Were they financial, physical, social/emotional, technical, cultural, and/or political? Finally, how did AU support you in achieving your goals for giving?
Last September, as a new addition to the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program Class of 2016, I made a list of short term and long term goals for myself. Inspired by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s book, Giving 2.0, I decided to make my goals “giving-specific.” So for those who do not remember the goals I planned out for the next 18 months, here’s a reminder:
“In the next 18 months I plan to attend the Young People’s Conference in Brazil with other members of the church and give by spreading the word of God to people there who have not had the opportunity to experience a life of Christ. Other ways I plan to give are connected to my involvement in the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars program here at American University. As part of the FDDS program, I have the opportunity to participate and contribute to projects involving the Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture as well as serving on the board for Scholars 4 Progress.”
Since then, I decided not to attend the Young People’s Conference in Brazil this year. I no longer felt that I was prepared enough to go internationally and preach the gospel. I know the Bible speaks of being “ready in season and out of season” to spread His Word but my nerves got the best of me. Don’t worry though, I am taking steps to “get prepared” this summer so when summer 2014 comes around I have no excuses. So instead, I applied and was accepted to the Summer College Training in Urbana-Champaign, IL. Take a look at my acceptance letter:
“We have accepted your application to participate in the college training in Urbana-Champaign, IL. We are deeply grateful to the Lord for this precious opportunity to spend one week together contacting, receiving, partaking of, and enjoying the Lord in the Word and in the ministry of the age for our growth in life unto the building up of the Body of Christ.” Doesn’t that sound amazing? I’m so excited!
Regarding the Smithsonian project, we collectively decided to abandon it but as a filler, well not really a filler but it replaced my commitment with this project, I joined FotoSynthesis. FotoSynthesis is designed to be a self-sustaining education program to connect middle school students in the DC area with middle schools students from around the world through a combination of social media and photography, but currently we are still registered as a club at American University. For those of you who do not already know, FotoSynthesis won second place in the Adobe Youth Voices UNICEF Challenge Aspire Awards Competition and $30,000! Thanks again to everyone who supported us; we are clearly on our way to becoming an independent program.
Alongside serving on the board of FotoSynthesis as CFO, I continue to serve on the board of Scholars for Progress (S4P) as the External Relations Coordinator. I once wrote that at the end of the 18 months, Scholars for Progress would no longer be a name only common to AU and Woodrow Wilson and would expand to other high schools and colleges in DC; well, we had a change of heart. We decided to keep S4P as an AU-centric club and not develop new chapter in other DC colleges. My tasks remain the same for S4P, and I hope that working over the summer with my fellow members will bring us where we need to be to start in the fall of 2013.
“My long term goal… is to be a social entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur refers to an individual who start their own business dedicated to finding innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social issues. Along with becoming a social entrepreneur, I would like to know 4 languages fluently by the time I am 40; Spanish, Korean, Igbo, and English.”
My long term goal has remained the same and in order to ensure success, I continue to take necessary classes to expand my knowledge in both business and international problems and keeping an eye out for programs and internships that would propel me in the directions of my goal and reinforce my passion. I use to be a part of Compass Fellows Freshman year but decided to abandon that commitment because it was not as fruitful as I hoped it would be to achieving my goal of being a social entrepreneur. However, I still plan on one day being a part of the Ashoka Changemakers. Regarding my passion for learning languages, I continue to take Spanish classes at AU, and during the summer, use Rosetta stone and practice with fluent speakers when I get the chance. I also joined a Spanish meetup here in NY so I can surround myself with people interested in practicing their Spanish language skills as well. For Igbo, I have my family members that are fluent speak to me in nothing but Igbo so my understanding of the language is improving. I still can’t read or write it because many people that speak Igbo never learned to - after all, it is a dying language. How unfortunate. But my Korean is getting better, if I may say so myself. Now that I have the Korean rosetta stone, I am practicing often throughout the summer. And of course, I am still watching my Korean dramas so that is helping me with my understanding of the language as well. I actually added another language to the list because I want to pursue a career in international business; so it only makes sense that I learn Mandarin as well. (But that is for another time.)
But with all great thing, we are sure to encounter our fair share of barriers that will try to deter us from reaching our goals. I am glad to say that, because of the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholarship, my finances are not one of them. Barriers I have faced with my short term goals are getting Scholars for Progress started last spring because of a lack of communication with our partner high school. But we’re working on it. Just like learning a new language, it’s a work in progress.