Week two of our 2019 Summer SIA program started on Monday June 10 at The Cottage School in Roswell. We are so grateful to The Cottage School for extending their hospitality to host us for the second summer in a row!


We kicked off the week on Monday with some team building activities for the group, and our students did a great job of learning from each other. Our first workshop of the week was Social Entrepreneurship, led by Sharla Calloway. Sharla, who works for National Charity League, Inc., has presented numerous times for GivingPoint, but this was her first time tackling the Social Entrepreneurship workshop. She did a fantastic job communicating what a social entrepreneur does and how they make an impact in their communities and beyond.

We continued the lesson on social entrepreneurship by doing the “What does a social entrepreneur look like?” activity, and our students shared incredible insight.

For our Research and Development workshop, we had another previous SIA presenter, Jeff Harding, who is the Director of Research Development for AdvancED. Jeff helped walk the students through a thorough research process, which they were able to personally apply later in the day as they started the research process for their projects.

In the afternoon, in addition to time spent doing some research and development of their project ideas, the students also learned about S.M.A.R.T. goals from Paige Whalen, GivingPoint’s Associate Program Manager and the facilitator for this week’s SIA program.


On Tuesday June 11 we started the day with a lesson on project planning from Crystal Simmons, founder of Body Crystals Co. Crystal walked the students through the importance of project planning, especially early on in their projects.

Afterwards Paige also led the students through an even planning workshop. Then the students broke into groups and had to practice their event skills by planning a practice event, a birthday party for a good friend.

The weather this week was so nice, so we spent some time outdoors during this practice activity, and while doing some more team builders!

In the afternoon we did our service project for the week, which was helping paint at The Cottage School! Painting was a new experience for many of our students, and a great way we could help give back to TCS for letting us use their space all week. Things got a little messy, but overall the students did a great job and had fun doing something new!


Day three, Wednesday June 12, was all about finance! Just like last week, we started with a workshop on budgeting, led by Amy Gates-Stroud, GivingPoint’s Executive Director. Amy walked our SIA students through the basic budgeting process and how it applies to their projects and events. Students had some time to spend researching to make accurate budget estimates as well. For our development and fundraising workshop, we had Kelley Cody-Grimm, a nonprofit consultant, who shared her experience with grants, family foundations, in kind donations and more.

By Wednesday our students were working together well, and Paige had to challenge them with another team builder. This time they had to complete the entire activity silently, and they did a phenomenal job!

After lunch we moved into our panel discussion, with local leaders sharing their experiences and expertise loosely around the topic of overcoming adversity. We were lucky to be joined by: Stephanie Christiansen, Executive Director of the STAR House Foundation, Kim Weber, Director of Advancement at The Cottage School, and GivingPoint SIA alumnae Saachi Datta, a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder of Manāna.

We wrapped up the day with time for the students to work on their projects, as well as their first attempt at pitching their project idea, in preparation for Thursday’s “perfecting your pitch” workshop.


The morning of Thursday June 13 was back-to-back workshops, but all important and applicable topics for our students. We covered the topics of perfecting our pitch, networking, and marketing, and then continued preparing and practicing for Friday’s presentations.

Our Thursday presenters were a great mix of previous SIA presenters and a new face. We are so grateful for all our presenters who are willing to give their time and expertise to our students, especially those who keep coming back time after time to share!

First workshop was perfecting your pitch, taught by Chris Cammack, a local marketing manager in the financial services industry. Chris has previously led the pitch workshops at our in-school SIA programs, and does a great job helping students get to the core of the “why” behind their pitch.

Next we heard again from Kelley Cody-Grimm, this time about networking! Kelley taught practical tips to our students, and shared information from her experiences networking both personally and professionally.

And we wrapped up the presentations with marketing with Shelley Wynters, a former radio personality, who led a roundtable discussion with the students on how to maximize their marketing efforts, giving specific suggestions for each student’s project.

Thursday afternoon was spent preparing and practicing for Friday’s presentations!


Friday June 14 was the last day of SIA for this program, and it was a great day! In the morning we had a few activities! We started with a workshop on strategic leadership, led by Karen Cashion, Executive Director at Tech Alpharetta. Karen’s lessons helped our students identify the ways that they see themselves as leaders, and helped them think about the other skills they may be looking for when leading a team to work on their project. We also did a group activity focused on strategic leadership.

After Karen’s presentation, we had a few quick activities, including a presentation on sustainability from Dr. Steve Palmer, Head of Schools at The Cottage School, and a presentation on the nonprofit process from John Herbert, from Herbert Legal Group.

Next we had a quick campus tour of The Cottage School, and then it was time for lunch and final preparations for our presentations!

Each student was required to prepare a five-minute presentation about their project idea and plan. They were asked to cover topics such as timeline, budget, purpose and mission, target audience, and more. On Friday afternoon, we invited family, friends, and community members, along with a panel of six evaluators, to watch our students presentations and provide feedback. Our panel included: Kurt Hilbert from Hilbert Law, Steve Stroud, Executive Director of Roswell Inc., Doug Curling, a GivingPoint board member and founder of New Kent Capital, Scott Hetherington, Director of Governance and Flexibility for Fulton County Schools, Katha Stewart, Fulton County Schools Board Member, and Dr. Steve Palmer, Head of Schools for The Cottage School.

This week we had eight students, three of whom decided to work together on a group project after meeting on the first day and realizing they had similar passion areas. As each student or group presented, the panel provided feedback for our students. All the presentations went well, and our audience of family, friends, and community supporters were blown away by this talented and passionate group of changemakers.

After presentations, we gathered upstairs to celebrate and recognize the hard work of the eight students in this SIA cohort. We will continue to stay in touch and support this group of young changemakers, and can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next year.

Rishi Magiawala: Junior, Alpharetta High School, Passion: Education Access, Project Name: Pencils for Success

Sibel Olcal: Junior, Forsyth Central High School, Passion: Education Access, Project Name: Pencils for Success

Davita Verma: Junior, Alpharetta High School, Passion: Education Access, Project Name: Pencils for Success

Kalissa Greene: Junior, Pace Academy, Passion: College Readiness, Project Name: All of the Above

Anthony Giordano: Sophomore, Alliance Academy for Innovation, Passion: Hospitalized children, Project Name: Anthony’s Arcade

Adhya Singh: Sophomore, Johns Creek High School, Passion: Supporting student businesses, Project Name: Opening Doors

Tessa Butterworth: Sophomore, Alpharetta High School, Passion: Supporting Chinese orphanages, Project Name: Compassion for Kids

Austin Huang: Sophomore, Alpharetta High School, Passion: Civic education, Project Name: Civics for Tomorrow

Congratulations to our 2019 Summer SIA: TCS cohort! We cannot wait to see what amazing things you all go on to accomplish!