March’s topic for Social Innovators Academy was Overcoming Adversity, and we took a non-traditional approach to our workshops! Both our South Fulton and North Fulton cohorts hosted a panel discussion with SIA alumni and community members. Everyone has dealt with some form of adversity, whether it’s in with a community service project or a personal matter, and hearing about how others overcame their adversity and continued on to success can be both helpful and motivating.

The South Fulton cohort gathered on Tuesday March 5th for their panel discussion. Our panelists included:

  • Anup B, a junior at Westminster Schools and a participant in last year’s Social Innovators Academy. Anup helped create S.T.A.R.T. (Science to Action Road Trips), which helps instill a love of science in elementary students, by hosting field trips to places such as Sky Zone or iFly and using these hands-on experiences to teach science concepts.
  • Forest Ogúnyànkìn, a GivingPoint alumus from before the days of Social Innovators Academy. Although Forest’s involvement with GivingPoint looked different than Anup’s, the experience still helped shape Forest’s social entrepreneurship in college and beyond.
  • Alisha Thomas Cromantie, Former GA State House of Representative Member who at the time was the youngest person elected to the legislature. Alisha has also worked in the education space, and shared both professional and personal anecdotes with our students.

De’Andre led the discussion with questions for the panelists, but also engaged the students in the audience, and even Alisha’s young daughter. Thank you to all of our panelists for sharing their time and stories with us!

Our North Fulton group met on Tuesday March 12th for their panel discussion. Our panelists included:

  • Ruhan P., a junior at Northview High School who participated in Social Innovators Academy in the fall semester of 2018. Ruhan is the secretary and cofounder of iCareMission, a nonprofit organization that solicits monetary contributions, sponsorships, and donations of eyeglasses in order to provide sight to the disadvantaged around the world.
  • Jasmin Willis, owner and operator of a new bakery and breakfast spot on Canton Street in Roswell called Gracious Plenty. After Jasmin graduated from the University of Georgia she realized her true passion for pastry arts and Gracious Plenty is a place for her to bring those skills to life.
  • Alexis Mood, who works for Cox Automotive by day and runs a nonprofit she founded called Shatter the Ceiling. Shatter the Ceiling, which began in 2015, helps multicultural young women afford to take unpaid or underpaid internships that could potentially jump start their careers.

Paige guided the discussion, with our SIA students contributing some questions and comments of their own. Paige also asked the students to share some of their own experiences. Thank you again to our panelists for taking the time to share their story with us!

Overcoming adversity is a topic that is incredibly important to social entrepreneurs, and the more we talk about it, the better equipped will be will to handle it!