Our final week of GivingPoint’s summer Social Innovators Academy kicked off June 25th at Gwinnett Technical College. We had a small but mighty group, with two students, Rhea P. a Junior from Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) and Ashlyn B. a Sophomore from The Galloway School.

Both girls came into the week with ideas and areas of passion, and then left the week with new social entrepreneurship skills – ready to take their ideas to the next level and make a positive impact in their communities.

Day One

We started off the week with a presentation on an Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship from Rony Delgarde, the Founder and CEO of Global Paint for Charity. Rony discussed his journey into social entrepreneurship and taught us about PAINT: passion, association, impact, need, and time. On Monday afternoon we heard from Tirzah Brown, Program Officer for The Tipping Point Project at CARE, about Project Management: Goal Setting.

Day Two

Tuesday, as the students continued developing their projects and ideas, they learned about Strategic Leadership and Budgeting/Fundraising. Liz Siegrist, an IT Management Consultant at ICS Data Center Consulting, and a Trustee of Gwinnett Tech, shared her knowledge on Strategic Leadership with the group. Liz shared an impactful quote from Jack Welsh, the CEO of General Electric: “Great leaders love to see people grow. The day you are afraid of them being better than you is the day you fall as a leader.” In the afternoon, Anita Foster, Special Projects Advisor at Avivar Capital, shared her expertise in regards to budgeting, fundraising, and development.

Day Three

On Wednesday we focused on pitching and networking, two key aspects in supporting a nonprofit or a project. The students learned a lot by watching a presentation on pitching, and then learned even more by practicing their one minute elevator pitch. As the week continued, the students continued honing their pitches and turning them into a full presentation, but on day one, it was all about getting their ideas in order and sharing their passion. In the afternoon, GivingPoint’s Executive Director Amy Gates presented on Networking, and provided the students with an opportunity to practice networking skills such as handshakes, introductions, and more.

Day Four

Thursday was filled with more pitch practice, and a workshop covering Event Planning and Partnerships, lead by Danise Lindo, Events Manager at Georgia Gwinnett College. In the afternoon we participated in the service project of the week, which was packing prospective student packets for the Gwinnett Tech Recruitment office. The rest of the day was spent preparing for Friday’s Minnow-vation presentations, where Rhea and Ashlyn would present what they spent all week working on!

Day Five

Friday morning was the final workshop of the week, covering Branding and Marketing, lead by GivingPoint’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Jessica Wuensch. The students discussed the importance of building a strong brand identity and the ways to use social media to share your message. Afterwards, Rhea and Ashlyn used the time to practice their five minute pitch presentations for the afternoon.

Rhea’s project, titled Health On Your Own, focuses on bringing healthy habits of all sorts, from healthy eating to basic first aid to the importance of being active, to young children of lower income communities. Her passion is helping youth be healthy.


Ashlyn’s passion is minority empowerment, and her project is titled The Voices from ME, which is short for Minority Empowerment. She hopes to support the voices of minorities and support empowerment opportunities, specifically within her school.


We also had a special recognition presentation for some of our program alumni, who are preparing to run their project for a second time, and have spent the last year fundraising to bring their Ultimate Frisbee camp to rural Brazil. Djourdan G. and Jasper R. participated in GivingPoint’s program in the past, and have since raised over $14,000 for their Ultimate Frisbee camp.

We cannot believe that our summer programming is already over, but we are so proud of all the students we have been able to work with over the past month. We are going to continue helping the students build their projects and put their passion to action, and this is not the last time you will see their faces on the GivingPoint website. Stay tuned for more!