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Devin D. Thorpe

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Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Childhood With an LGT Parent: Adult Perspectives On Their Growing Up Experiences

Clarke and Demetriou’s recent research in Psychology & Sexuality delves deep into adult accounts of being a child of an LGT parent.

They examine the findings of past research that such children accept diversity, have the advantage of parental openness, pride in facing prejudice and overall a family unit centred on love just like any other family. They give voice to the children’s experiences through adult eyes and ask “Was it a big deal or not a big deal?”

In the 1970s, authorities went so far as removing children from the custody of their lesbian parents. We have now moved on sufficiently to refute prior homophobic assumptions that LGT parents negatively affect their children’s psychological, moral and social well-being. Indeed family ‘process’ over ‘structure’ has taken precedence when concerning child development.

However, there is a notable lack of qualitative research based on the experiences of children in LGT families during their formative years. Clarke and Demetriou hence conducted a survey of 14 adults, 13 of whom were born to a heterosexual relationship in which one partner outed as gay, lesbian or trans. Participants were invited to recount their stories of childhood, and the present, in relation to opening up about their families and the effect on their own adult relationships and sexuality.

The results endorsed previous findings of positive influences in childhood; tolerance, acceptance, honesty, respect and broad mindedness. Many downplayed the importance of parental sexuality in their upbringing and attached more importance to having a parent of each gender (regardless of sexuality), having a strong biological link to parents and in one case stressing the masculinity of his gay father.

Others described the love and security in their family unit as paramount, exactly as any family would wish for; a strong counter to negative claims and parallel to conventional families. Could these adults be striving to make sense of their families in a hetero context? Striving to eliminate stigma and difference? The authors, themselves offspring of gay parents, believe so.

On the other hand, some participants acknowledged challenges they lived through; bullying, strict secrecy (between parent and child in some cases), fear of public disclosure and judgement. These negative experiences did (and in some cases still do) create feelings of difference, shame, sadness and depression. Despite this, participants were protective of their parents and did not blame them but homophobia and the stigma of homosexuality in society.

Clarke and Demetriou have highlighted that many children of LGT parents, though outwardly regarding the issue as “not a big deal,” still have an understandable need to feel “normal,” whilst not judging their loved and valued parents. Participants’ recollections minimised differences between themselves and other families and those who had issues account them to fear of discrimination.

The authors conclude, “Adult children of LGT parents clearly reject the notion that they have been ‘damaged’ by their LGT parents’ sexuality/gender identity and by being a member of a non-normative family… (they) present their families as ‘just like’ other families and…downplay the significance of their parents’ sexuality/gender identity…participants located the source of any difficulties they and their parents had experienced in a heterosexist, homophobic and transphobic social context.”

Author: Victoria Clarkea & Eleni Demetrioua

Routledge

Published by Taylor & Francis

Read the full article online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19419899.2015.1110195

Wings of Love Announces New Program to Support and Develop Youth Entrepreneurship, Positive Leadership

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Entrepreneurship is quickly becoming a major driver of economic and social change, and Wings of Love is now doing its part to ensure the next generation of business leaders fully develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead socially conscious enterprises. The nonprofit organization has launched a Young Entrepreneurs Under 21 program to help young people realize their life-long potential as business leaders and agents of meaningful social change.

Wings of Love’s position is that youth entrepreneurship will be pivotal in developing sustainable, beneficial solutions to the myriad challenges of today and tomorrow. While enhancing one’s earning potential is certainly a positive mission on its own, Wings of Love has a broader view: By taking risks and seeking out business opportunities, young people can make significant contributions to the health of their communities – both locally, and on a global scale.

The Young Entrepreneurs program is open to people aged 16 to 21. Applicants should submit a business idea that involves information technology and explain how their idea would be a positive force in the community, nation and world. Wings of Love business consultants evaluate each idea, and then connect applicants to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on topics such as entrepreneurship, leadership, financial literacy and other related areas.

Hands-on experience is the cornerstone of the Young Entrepreneurs program. Participants “learn by doing” as they develop a business plan, seek funding sources, manage time and resources, and build a team committed to success. Along the way, Wings of Love consultants offer practical guidance and long-term strategies for growth and empowerment. The program aims to go far in terms of changing the financial and business literacy conversation in the U.S.

Previous research has demonstrated that demand for financial literacy education is strong. According to a 2010 National Endowment for Financial Education survey, 86% of students expressed a desire to learn more about money management in the classroom rather than learning the hard way – by making real-world mistakes. Likewise, in a Charles Schwab Teens and Money survey, nearly 9 out of 10 educators agreed that a financial literacy course and test should be a prerequisite of high school graduation. Wings of Love’s vision with the Young Entrepreneurs program is to meet this demand, while also communicating the important role business enterprises can play in social and economic uplift.

Wings of Love limits annual enrollment in the Young Entrepreneurs program to 100 participants annually, but applications are accepted throughout the year. Eligible applicants can start the process here.

About Wings of Love, Inc.

Established in 1996, Wings of Love is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation on a mission to help create a virtuous circle of social responsibility, wealth, wellness, wisdom and freedom for everybody in the world.

CO Impact Days and Initiative Creates First of its Kind $100 Million Marketplace for Impact Investing

DENVER – CO Impact Days and Initiative announced today the 60 social ventures that are invited to meet face to face with investors in order to seek millions of dollars of “impact investments” at CO Impact Days Social Venture Showcase on March 4, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. MST.

The 60 finalists, chosen from more than 280 applicants, will convene at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) for the first of its kind, statewide marketplace for impact investing. The chosen social ventures will have the opportunity to showcase their ability to provide a return on the funder’s investment while improving Colorado communities to more than 200 accredited investors.

“This is the first time in the U.S. that 200 accredited impact investors will come together for a statewide marketplace, where they can connect with each other, learn, and have intimate access to social ventures representing projects, for profits, nonprofits, and funds at any stage of growth,” said Dr. Stephanie Gripne, Founder of the Impact Finance Center and creator of CO Impact Days and Initiative. “This is a first for impact investors and social ventures.”

The goal of CO Impact Initiative is to catalyze $100 million in impact investments into Colorado social ventures in the next three years, and it is kicking off with CO Impact Days on March 2-4. CO Impact Days encourages a new breed of impact investors and community members to Learn. Connect. Invest. Among the more than 200 accredited impact investors, foundations, and family offices participating in CO Impact Days and Initiative are Gary Community Investments, Colorado Health Foundation, The Denver Foundation and Innovest Portfolio Solutions, along with Linda Appel Lipsius, Andrew C. Currie, Rich Hoops, Jim and Melanie Davidson, and Jenn Vervier.

“Impact investing allows me to support both for profit and nonprofit social ventures using my experience as an agency president, skills as an entrepreneur, and resources from my success,” says Melanie Davidson, President & COO of Fruition, a Denver based marketing agency. “Where else in the U.S. can I come to meet 200 other leading philanthropists and investors, learn from the best national and regional leaders in this space, and get the first look at Colorado’s top social ventures?”

CO Impact Days’ innovation is uniquely possible here because Colorado is home to a number of national leaders in impact investing and a thriving and collaborative community of social venture entrepreneurs in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors, , philanthropists, and investors who are committed to growing Colorado’s economy and creating good jobs while ensuring our state remains one of the best places to work, live, and play in the U.S.

#COImpactDays

New Media Property, ‘Mack & Moxy,’ Encourages Next Generation of Humanitarians

12 leading American charities and government organizations join in supporting season one, premiering on Public Television April 1, 2016

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Los Angeles, California, February 26, 2016 – Beginning April 1, 2016 Mack & Moxy, a new series of specials produced by Socially Dynamic Entertainment, will begin airing on Public Television stations nationwide. This children’s media property was created to inspire the next generation of great humanitarians. Mack & Moxy creator and executive producer is Brahm Wenger (17-year veteran of Walt Disney Pictures) and the concept for the show is inspired by the award-winning Dewey Doo-it books written by Wenger and Alan Green. Mack & Moxy celebrates the joy of helping others and teaches kids life-long lessons of charity and compassion. Distributed by American Public Television (APT) and presented by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), Mack & Moxy has teamed with many of America’s leading charitable organizations which serve as advisors for each subject presented in the segments. Designed for kids ages 3-7, the multiplatform program premieres this April on PBS stations (check local listings), followed by a spring home video release through NCircle Entertainment (a subsidiary of Alliance Entertainment) and a fall 2016 streaming video debut.Mack & Moxy combines state-of-the-art 3D animation, live action puppets and celebrity role models including Hank Azaria, Josh Duhamel, Eva LaRue and Rachael Ray. Through fun adventures, humor and music, each episode is inspired by the kindness of those great humanitarians among us who make the world a better place.

Mack & Moxy features a social and emotional service learning curriculum and a robust community outreach program supporting each show. Each episode of Mack & Moxy will feature two 14-minute segments that focus on two important causes.

In each story, Mack, a lovable moose-like lummox and Moxy, a feisty whirlwind of a raccoon/fox-inspired go-getter find engaging ways to speak to kids about a range of issues, including: literacy, hunger, wildlife preservation, emergency preparedness, heart health and lifestyle, physical activity and good nutrition, autism, land conservation, first responders, seatbelt safety, the power of play and STEM education. These important issues are explored as Mack & Moxy, together with a helpful Trooper, set out to rescue another Great Helpee in a far-off mystical place called HelpeeLand.

In season one, Mack & Moxy meet a wide variety of new Friends-in-Need, including: a bird-like creature who has autism; a loveable puffball who has no pals to play with; a cornstalk kid who’s planning his emergency exit in case he hears a smoke alarm; a little tiger-type tyke who wants to save his natural habitat; and others.

The adventure in HelpeeLand isn’t without its challenges, though. Shelfish Sheldon (voiced by Hank Azaria of The Simpsons, Family Guy) lurks nearby, scheming and plotting to capture the Great Helpee so that he can keep all its happiness for himself. The Great Helpee Heroes, led by Mack & Moxy, thwart him every time!

Mack & Moxy is produced by Socially Dynamic Entertainment in association with Vancouver, Canada-based animation studio Bardel Entertainment (Jake and the Neverland Pirates; Puss in Boots; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Twelve of America’s leading nonprofits and government organizations have partnered with Mack & Moxy for season one: American Heart Association; American Red Cross; Citizen Schools; Easter Seals; Feeding America; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; National Park Foundation; Orange County Sheriff’s Department; Playworks; President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition; Save the Children and World Wildlife Fund.

Mack & Moxy is the first kids’ show to focus exclusively on introducing children to important causes like hunger awareness, autism or emergency preparation,” said Brahm Wenger, executive producer and creator. “We have many wonderful partners and sponsors that have joined us on this amazing adventure. And now, we’re all very excited to roll out the first episodes to our young audience.” Wenger added, “The show will be available through public TV broadcasts and by way of the national and regional charities involved with each episode. The characters Mack and Moxy are fun, enthusiastic heroes eager to help and learn . . . just like our kids today. We wanted to create a series full of discovery and adventure, infused with strong themes and causes. When we presented the idea to our charity partners, we were overwhelmed by their support and enthusiasm. These nationally recognized organizations are committed to supporting Mack & Moxy through promotion and awareness-building campaigns within their own national, regional and, in some cases, international communities.”

The idea for Mack & Moxy began more than a decade ago when Wenger and Green wrote their award-winning Dewey Doo-it book series about important causes. From there, they set out to develop a media property for children offering kids and families an entertaining TV series that also spoke directly to them about important issues facing their peers and communities.

The producers understood from the beginning that in order to create an authentic learning experience, they needed to form partnerships and educational alliances with America’s leading charities – organizations that specialized in a wide variety of causes. For example, to help kids know what to do when they hear a smoke alarm, no one knows better how to keep people safe than the American Red Cross. For children to understand the impact of hunger on their peers and where to find hunger relief in their community, no one has more expertise than Feeding America. For the most up-to-date information on autism awareness, Easter Seals is the nation’s leading authority.

Each charity and government organization has been involved with the production of their Mack & Moxy episode since its inception. Embedded as part of the creative team, each organization has worked hard to ensure that every carefully constructed Mack & Moxy story incorporates the core messages of their respective organizations. It’s a true partnership. The charity brings their expertise to each issue, while the producers and writers bring their entertainment skills to weave these causes into an engaging story for kids.

The Mack & Moxy television series will first premiere in April on public TV stations nationwide; charities, government organizations and Public Television stations will have the opportunity to use these episodes within their communities to help create awareness and generate events for kids, families and teachers to explore the different themes within each episode. There will be a coordinated, national promotion campaign between the producers of Mack & Moxy and the charity partners and underwriters to help support the station’s broadcast and encourage tune-in for this innovative new children’s animated series. Mack & Moxy has partnered with NCircle Entertainment on a home video distribution deal this spring and is finalizing a streaming video distribution deal for Fall 2016.

Mack & Moxy‘s major underwriters for season one include: SanDisk, IKEA, Elizabeth Pang Fullerton, the Deeann and Al Baldwin, ConAgra Foods, Graco Children’s Products, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, QVC and True Drinks.Additional funding provided by Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Edison International, Bernard P. Novak Foundation, and Mendability.

Learn more about Mack & Moxy

Learn more about Bardel Entertainment

Learn more about Georgia Public Broadcasting

Learn more about American Public Television

Citizens Conservation Corps Receives Accreditation for Excellence in Operations

BECKLEY, W.Va., Feb. 25, 2016 – Following an in-depth evaluation of internal operations, financial management practices, risk management practices, governance standards and youth programming operations, Citizens Conservation Corps received accreditation from the Corps Center of Excellence, the national accrediting body for Service and Conservation Corps.

As defined by The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, the programs are comprehensive youth development focused that provide young people (generally ages 16 – 25) the opportunity to serve in crews on important community and environmental projects. Corpsmembers develop job and leadership skills and earn a stipend or education award for their service. Accreditation is granted to Corps that demonstrate a high level of accountability to the communities in which they operate and the corps members they enroll.

“I would like to thank our staff and many partners for their dedication and hard work that has made this worthy goal possible” said Robert A. Martin, CEO of CCC. “We are extremely proud of the 23 years of service that our Corps has provided and look forward to continuing to serve and impact the communities where we live, work, and play.”

CCC Accreditation

As an accredited Corps, CCC has proven its ability to provide safe, appropriate, meaningful experiences to the youth and adult participants they engage in a variety of service projects and programs. They have also proven their ability to provide high-quality project outcomes to their partners – including West Virginia Courtesy Patrol, National Park Service, Boy Scouts of America and AmeriCorps – with whom they collaborate to develop service and employment opportunities for corps members.

“Demonstrating that you meet industry standards is an important marketing tool for Corps that lets potential partners and stakeholders understand that your program produces high-quality outcomes,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president & CEO of The Corps Network. “It shows that Corps programs are an excellent investment that benefits both the young people they serve and their communities.”

CCC was endorsed as a 21st Century Conservation Corps; a designation granted to Corps that have been accredited through the U.S. Department of Interior or focus on projects that involve significant outdoor activity. The accreditation offers objective, independent validation that the CCC is meeting and or exceeding the standards set forth.

CCC was also recognized for several national “best practices” including the role of clearinghouse for the Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative; its strategic partnership with the Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center, which is the only partnership of its kind in the country; and its innovative service learning initiative with various Vocational Technical schools across the state.

The Corps Center of Excellence is administered by an advisory committee made up of retired and former Conservation Corps leaders, retired and former federal land management agency staff, and other experts. During the accreditation process, an accreditation team comprised of persons with expertise in Corps operations review a Corps’ service project and corpsmember outcomes, internal documents and financials. This team also conducts a multiple-day site visit at each Corps undergoing the accreditation process. Results of these reviews are presented to the advisory committee for discussion and approval. Accreditation lasts for five years with each Corps required to provide an annual update. For more information about Corps accreditation, please visit The Corps Network’s website.

amfAR Calls for Increase in HIV/AIDS Research Funding at National Institutes of Health

New Infographic Details Declining Purchasing Power of NIH’s HIV/AIDS Research Dollars 

NEW YORK, Feb. 25, 2016 — This week scientists have been making national news with important breakthroughs reported at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), one of the world’s most important annual gatherings on HIV research. Unfortunately, President Obama’s proposed FY2017 budget, which flat-funds HIV research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at 2015 levels, undermines further progress in scientific research on HIV/AIDS. Since the cost of biomedical research increases with inflation, the purchasing power of NIH HIV research dollars has decreased consistently and dramatically over the past 10 years.

Funding for medical research at the NIH received a 2.5 percent increase overall – up to $33.1 billion – but HIV research received no additional funding for FY 2017, leaving it unchanged over the past three years and at the same level as FY 2009.

“We applaud the Administration for its commitment to increase funding for biomedical research, but we worry that flat-lining our country’s investments in HIV/AIDS research will impact the lifesaving research that could help us find a cure for HIV,” said Kevin Robert Frost, amfAR’s Chief Executive Officer.

The amfAR infographic, titled “Small Increase, Big Impact,” shows the declining purchasing power of the NIH’s HIV/AIDS research dollars since 2003. According to amfAR estimates, if HIV research funding were increased in line with the increase in total NIH funding, it would mean an additional $76.6 million for HIV research in 2017. That amount in the NIH’s HIV/AIDS research budget could allow the NIH to:

  1. Fund 180 HIV/AIDS studies in 2017 that could significantly advance HIV prevention, treatment or cure research;
  2. Fund 51 clinical trials focused on curing HIV; or
  3. Fund a breakthrough prevention trial such as the HPTN 052 study, which in 2011, found that early initiation of antiretroviral therapy reduced the risk of HIV transmission to uninfected partners by 96 percent, or the iPrEx study, which in 2010, found that taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) could prevent HIV infection.

“Both the HPTN 052 and iPrEx studies were widely hailed as the number one scientific breakthroughs for their respective years,” said Greg Millet, amfAR Vice President and director of public policy. “It’s an exciting time in HIV research, and the dollars lost due to flat-funding this year alone could cost funding the next medical HIV/AIDS breakthrough.”

About amfAR

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested $450 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 3,300 research teams worldwide. Learn more about amfAR at www.amfar.org.

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Announces a $10 Million Gift from The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation

The largest donation in NFTE’s history will launch the Entrepreneurship Pathway, impacting 200,000 under-served students annually in the United States by the year 2022

NEW YORK — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), the international nonprofit that equips under-served youth with the entrepreneurial mindset and skills to succeed, today announced a $10,000,000 gift from The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. The largest donation received in NFTE’s history, this transformational investment will allow the organization to activate its NFTE 2022 strategy and deepen its domestic impact reaching over 10 times the number of U.S. students it currently serves per year, and hundreds of thousands more internationally.

“We are honored to be able through the Foundation’s gift to expand our reach and deepen our impact-forever changing the life trajectory of young people through the power of entrepreneurship.”

NFTE 2022 will launch the NFTE Entrepreneurship Pathway, a series of programs that teach the entrepreneurial mindset alongside startup and career skills, with students receiving academic and industry credentials along the way. Pathway programming will be available to both domestic and international NFTE students. This historic gift is an extraordinary vote of confidence in NFTE’s ability to equip youth to realize their potential, as active participants in the innovation economy and drivers of their futures.

“The overwhelming generosity of The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation is inspiring and humbling,‘ said Shawn K. Osborne, President and CEO of NFTE. “We are honored to be able through the Foundation’s gift to expand our reach and deepen our impact forever changing the life trajectory of young people through the power of entrepreneurship.”

“NFTE truly empowers students,‘ notes Diana Davis Spencer, President of The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation and longtime NFTE Board member. “These students really learn the tools to convert their passion into businesses and the relevance of academic skills. I’m so excited that one of our NFTE alums, Rodney Walker, a Yale MBA student, is about to hit the market with his new book,  A New Day One. Somehow, learning to start a business gives these NFTE students confidence and a certain edge to own their futures and forge ahead. It’s a win / win.”

With nearly 75 million youth unemployed globally, NFTE 2022 is just the beginning. NFTE is actively seeking additional resource and funding partners to equip growing numbers of youth to participate in the innovation economy and create opportunities for themselves and others.

About Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is an international nonprofit that activates the entrepreneurial mindset in young people and builds their knowledge about business startup. Students acquire the entrepreneurial mindset (e.g., innovation, self-reliance, comfort with smart risk), alongside business, STEM, and presentation skills equipping them to drive their best futures in the 21st Century. NFTE focuses its work on under-resourced communities, with programs in 23 locations in 10 countries. To learn more, visit http://www.nfte.com, like NFTE on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/NFTE, or follow us on Twitter at @NFTE.

Zoe For President: New Candidate Announces Her Run for Commander in Chief In 2064

YMCA of the USA organizes Zoe for President, symbolizing the potential the Y sees in all children

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Chicago, IL (January 25, 2016) — Today YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) launched Zoe for President, a campaign to elect a one-year-old girl as our nation’s Commander in Chief…in 2064. The campaign highlights the potential the Y sees in all kids to grow up and change the world if they’re nurtured properly and supported along the way. Through Y initiatives like childcare, academic enrichment, mentorship, college prep, job training, and more, kids have the opportunities to succeed, grow, and one day, maybe even become president. The Y aims to impart the values of what it means to achieve—how hard work, determination, perseverance and character can drive someone to success beyond what they thought possible.

Like all candidates, Zoe has her own campaign website, ZoeForPresident.net, where users can donate to her campaign, watch videos of her stance on issues and shop for swag. When users donate to Zoe’s campaign, they are donating to their local Y and supporting the programs and services that enable kids like Zoe to thrive from childhood to old age.

“While Zoe for President is a breath of fresh air during a heated campaign cycle, every child, regardless of background, needs support and guidance to reach their full potential,” said Kevin Washington, president and CEO, YMCA of the USA. “Our campaign will address actual issues that America’s communities are faced with each day like access to early childhood education, safe space, meal assistance, and the Y’s role in solving the challenges head on.”

The Y collaborated with New York City-based creative agency Droga5 to produce the concept. The TV spots will air on multiple networks including CNN, HLN, TNT, and TBS among others. To view the spots, please visit ZoeForPresident.net. Digitally, The Y will advertise with The New York Times, YouTube, Twitter, as well as a number of other online properties.

Zoe for President is the second phase of the Y’s For a better us.™ campaign, a multi-year, multi-faceted effort to engage more people with the Y and its mission as a nonprofit. Earlier this year, the Y launched two powerful television commercials, Places and Idle Hands, each spotlighting a different problem communities in America face today. Both spots closed with the Y’s work nonprofit work on the ground, engaging and enriching kids and families through safe spaces, mentorship, education, meal programs and more.

For more information about the Y, and to donate, visit ZoeForPresident.net

Projects Abroad Announces New Summer Volunteer Programs For Teenagers

High School Specials prioritize safety and supervision while helping teenagers explore the world and learn new skills

Projects Abroad Care & Community volunteers read a story with child at a day care center in Cambodia

Projects Abroad Care & Community volunteers read a story with child at a day care center in Cambodia

NEW YORK – February 25, 2016 – Traveling, participating in cultural exchange, giving back to communities in need, and learning useful skills are all opportunities that a growing number of high school students are eager to experience over the summer. For some, the appeal lies in doing something different; others are interested in adding to community service credits or boosting college applications. Since 2004, international volunteer organization Projects Abroad has offered High School Specials, programs specifically designed for students and first-time travelers ages 16-19.

High School Specials take a variety of factors into account: most participants are traveling abroad for the first time (or this is the first time they are traveling alone) so safety and supervision are priority. In-destination staff give volunteers constant support and they are never alone. Every day is filled with a busy itinerary of group volunteer work and cultural and social activities. High School Special volunteers enjoy working closely with their peers and Projects Abroad staff and they find a great deal of value in their daily interactions.

Pauline, a volunteer on the Human Rights & Spanish program in Argentina last year, had her first solo travel experience with Projects Abroad. “Traveling alone for my first time to an unknown country was honestly terrifying,” she says. “For weeks prior to leaving, I worried about awkward encounters with my host family, not making friends quickly, and feeling stressed with a lot of work at the office and not enough time visiting Argentina. However, my time in Argentina ended up being one of the most memorable and important two weeks of my life as it affirmed my passion for human rights and law, and pushed me to choose international relations as my major in college.”

She also made friends easily and realized the other volunteers were similar to her: “We craved adventure, we wanted to make a difference, and we wanted to experience new things.”

Projects Abroad currently offers more than 50 different High School Specials. This year, the organization also announced several exciting new programs:

Care & Community in Ecuador

This project was designed to benefit underprivileged communities on San Cristobal Island. Volunteers are placed at a kindergarten, where they teach and play with children and practice English to improve the kids’ conversational skills. Part of their role will involve practical community activities such as painting or joining a beach clean-up. Volunteers are immersed in a Spanish language environment, so this is a fantastic opportunity for students interested in practicing and improving their Spanish.

Conservation in Madagascar

Projects Abroad began welcoming volunteers to Madagascar at the beginning of 2016 and they are all making strides at various new projects on the island. This summer, high school students have the opportunity to live and work in the heart of the rainforest, and participate in ongoing biodiversity and environmental impact studies.

Dentistry in Sri Lanka

A summer placement in Colombo is great for students who are curious if a career in dentistry or healthcare is what they want to pursue. Volunteers spend time in the dentistry department of a local hospital, visit a hospital specializing in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, attend medical workshops, and participate in outreaches at a medical camp.

Applications for 2016 are flying in and students interested in going abroad for the summer should apply soon to secure a place on the program of their choice. For more information, contact the New York office directly to talk to a Program Advisor or visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/high-school-specials.

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 30 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org.

New Report On Southern Africa Highlights Hotbed of Impact Investing Activity, With Over USD 5.7 Billion From Non-DFI Impact Investors

Report covers trends, challenges, and capital flows in 12 countries in the region

Download the report

February 25, 2016 — The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), in partnership with Open Capital Advisors, today published The Landscape for Impact Investing in Southern Africa, a state-of-the-market analysis of the impact investing industry in the active region. The report includes findings from 12 countries, as well as a dedicated chapter exploring the role of development finance institutions (DFIs) across Southern Africa.

The report analyzes a market comprising countries that vary substantially in their level of development but that present common challenges and opportunities for investments to have social and environmental impact. Progress has been made on key development indicators in South Africa, the region’s anchor, but there remain significant gaps in the provision of vital goods and services across the region. Despite recent economic growth, half the region’s population (double the global average) lives on less than USD 1.25 per day. Looking forward, Southern Africa’s GDP is projected to continue to grow by five percent per annum.

International DFIs are significant players in the market, having deployed nearly USD 16.8 billion in impact capital across the region through over 650 deals. South Africa-based DFIs also play a pivotal role and have deployed USD 17.1 billion regionally through over 7,500 deals. Additionally, several other types of investors—including VC/PE funds, foundations, commercial banks, and pension funds—actively invest in the region, with such non-DFI impact investors having deployed nearly USD 5.7 billion in the region through more than 500 deals.

While trends and opportunities for impact investors vary from country to country, high-potential sectors for the region include agro-processing, energy, and supply chain integration. Unlike in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture is a small contributor to GDP in Southern Africa, yet the sector employs most of the population. As such, investment in agriculture is seen as important to increasing incomes and food security.

“Given the growing interest in this important region, we hope that this in-depth market research will serve investors already active in Southern Africa, as well as those looking to deploy impact capital in these diverse countries,” said Amit Bouri, CEO of the GIIN. “Impact investors are continuing to support these sometimes challenging but critical markets, working to demonstrate that investment in the region can drive meaningful social and environmental impact alongside financial returns.”

“We are excited to share research that will help investors better understand the region,” said Annie Roberts, a Partner at Open Capital Advisors. “We increasingly hear that impact investors are looking to deploy capital outside traditional markets in South Africa, and are excited to see so much activity in Zambia, Mozambique, and other countries in the region. Some investors believe that impact investing hasn’t reached Southern Africa yet, but as this report shows, there is a vibrant eco-system with many local players.”

The landscape study is based on thorough analysis of relevant literature, large volumes of transaction data, and extensive interviews with key industry stakeholders. Detailed country chapters include information on the supply of capital by investor type, investment opportunities by sector, and regulatory considerations and hurdles for impact investors and investees.

The study was produced with support from the U.K. Government through the Department for International Development’s Impact Programme. It follows three other such studies produced by the GIIN, The Landscape for Impact Investing in South Asia, The Landscape for Impact Investing in East Africa, and The Landscape for Impact Investing in West Africa.

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