Social Innovators Academy: South Fulton Retreat

Day One

GivingPoint’s Social Innovators Academy is one of our cornerstone programs, and we are so excited to be able to offer it to not one, but two cohorts of high schoolers this year! Our South Fulton cohort officially kicked off on Friday, August 10th with our retreat weekend, where the students get to know each other, participate in a service project, and learn from our first three presenters.

On Friday the focus was learning all about what Social Entrepreneurship actually is. The students ate pizza for dinner and got to know one another, and then James, GivingPoint’s Director of Programs, immediately led them into the first activity “Just what does a Social Entrepreneur look like?”.

James says this activity is like going back to kindergarten, as it requires our students to get creative and draw out the characteristics they believe a Social Entrepreneur to have, and then they have to go around and act like the character they just drew!

Once the activity was wrapped up, we moved onto our first presentation, led by Gene Kansas, a cultural developer and professional Social Entrepreneur. Gene is the driving force behind Constellations, the office build which we work out of, which is a gathering of businesses and nonprofits with a focus in social good. Gene presented on the history of the building and the area in which it’s located, and talked the students through the process of historic preservation as a form of social entrepreneurship.

Everyone enjoyed the history lesson and learning more about Gene’s history of innovation and entrepreneurship!


Day Two

We met back up on the morning of Saturday August 11th for day two of the retreat. We started with bagels and breakfast before diving into our service project for the weekend: helping out at Habitat for Humanity: ReStore, which is a home improvement store and donation center selling new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price, with proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity. Our students did everything from helping to measure and mark donated doors, helping on the sales floor, cleaning appliances and more.

After we finished our service project we moved over into the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity office space, where we had lunch and prepared for a fun afternoon of learning and team building.

The topics we covered in the afternoon sessions focused on project management, both in goal setting and research and development. Our presenters were Robbie Reyes and Aubrey Logan-Holland.

The team building activities were a highlight of the day, challenging our students and helping them learn more about each other and how they work as a group. The students rose to the challenge and got quite innovative to get themselves through the tasks James had concocted for them.

As we wrapped up the weekend, James led an informational meeting for the parents and we reflected with the students.


This is only the beginning of their Social Innovators Academy experience, but we can’t wait to see what this amazing group of students (and all the students who couldn’t make it this weekend!) will achieve this year. Check out the rest of the photos from the retreat on our Facebook page, and make sure you follow along on social media to see updates as the year continues!