Social Innovation as a Youth Empowerment Tool

In an action of making clear the purpose of Love In Abundance (LIA), a 12-year old organization who has been acting as an internal stakeholder in Title I public schools for almost 10 years now; we are finally ready to make public methodologies that have been taught privately since our inception. Our students attend Title I schools for the most part, which are schools with over 90% of the population receiving free or reduced lunch. Our target audience is Black and Hispanic females from fifth grade to college age young women, and many of them have been deemed problematic or dysfunctional by the authorities on their school campus. To counteract the negatives too many students feel overwhelmed by, in an effort to help them excel beyond every negative perceived to be thrown at them;  LIA guides our students to live the mantra:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Maimonides-http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/maimonides326751.html

  As a means of validating this approach for students; students conducted independent evaluations to see that every person who has strived for success, chosen a different (innovative) approach to their route to success, or every person perceived to be a change maker in their selected vocation began their quest forward with an intensified belief that they could be the difference desired in that arena first.

The problems prohibiting immediate acceptance of the realities stemming from students independent evaluations was based on the truth that LIA had experienced first hand the unfiltered, angry truths of students who began their trek into life just like every other student; with an inquisitive desire to know… But over time, and without lessons in how to effectively overcome the negativity or the numerous violations experienced—a stronger inclination for negativity, a vehement need to protect self first, and a passionate demand for respect became many students focus.

In an effort not to bully students already existing in self-protect mode and instead of holding students accountable to or responsible for life lessons of advancement not taught or sufficiently modeled before them, LIA chose to show our students how to become Big Picture Thinkers, who according to best-selling author John C. Maxwell in the workbook, How Successful People Think, Big-Picture Thinking people are:

“People who see the big picture expand their experience because they expand their world. As a result, they are able to accomplish more than narrow-minded people. And they experience fewer unwanted surprises, too, because in any given situation they are more likely to see the many components involved: issues, people, relationships, timing, and values. They are also, therefore, usually more tolerant of other people and their thinking.”

LIA merely took our students willingness to focus on self to help them see the benefit of incorporating Big-Picture Thinking in those situations creating confusion or controversy via: issues, people, relationships, timing, and values. And to keep their focus on the positives than every negative, we gave them a mantra for strength, empowerment, and confidence via

“ Pro ME—IS NOT—Anti YOU™”!

We then added the research conducted in psychology and sociology under the guise of Houston Baptist University that led to the creation of the College Must Begin in 8th Grade™ Series and the College Must Begin in 8th Grade™ Life & Pre-College Preparatory Program to further empower our students. The little ladies of Love In Abundance will be running our first Cover Design Contest Fundraiser in an action of showing the lessons taught and how very brilliant they really are.

If social innovation is a mandatory meeting of the minds combined with an inherent needs of a community through fresh and diverse means; empowering students to make determinations based on the skill sets learned, confidence in self and her abilities, and the expansion of her gifts and talents in unchartered waters; LIA’s students will know once and for all that they are inexorable!