Leading the Hope for Haiti: Things you should know about the education system.

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In honor of our upcoming mission trip to Haiti, we feel it is important to know a little background about the educational initiatives and systems that affect the communities of Haiti. 

  1. In 2010, an earthquake crushed the population of Haiti, destroyed the existing infrastructure, and caused the national debt to rise to prevent rebuilding efforts.
  2. Currently,  59% of its population lives below the poverty line. 
  3. Literacy Rate: 53% of its population do not know how to read.
  4. The official language taught in primary schools is Creole.
  5. Haiti follows after the French education model of three stages: primary education, secondary education and higher education.
  6. Primary education ages begin at 6 years old and consist of preparatory, elementary, and intermediate cycles, each of which lasted two years.
  7. Tuition in public schools is legally free for the first two cycles of fundamental education (elementary), 81.5% of these children go to private schools and pay fees.
  8. To transition into secondary education, students are required to receive a primary education certificate (CEP) and take an entrance exam which is estimated that only 2% of children pass.
  9. The education system uses French as the language of instruction. Less than 10% of the population speaks French.
  10. Upon passing these extensive state exams, hosted by The Ministry of National Education, those students would be able to continue their education in either a public or private institution.
  11. The secondary level consists of a 3-year lower cycle and 4-year upper cycle. Students able to pass into secondary education would receive the baccalauréat (the equivalent of the high school diploma).
  12. Secondary school means earning a baccalaureate.  However, only upon completion of the classe de philosophie exams entitles a student to proceed to a university.
  13. There are a limited number of regional public universities and institutions; while private institutions with higher tuition and fees.  Less than 1% of the college age group are enrolled at the university level.

We value education and cherish that basic human right!

With our partnership with the buildOn organizations to present the School Build Project- Haiti, we will be able to contribute to bettering a rural community in Haiti.  This school will serve over 400 children and adults from a rural community and will serve as a catalyst for sustainable and positive community development. 

Image result for haiti education free images
PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI 

References:

The World Bank GDP Growth, World Bank, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG (last visited Feb. 10, 2019).

Danielle N. Boaz, Examining Creole Languages in the Context of International Language Rights, 2 Hum. Rts. & Globalization L. Rev. 45, 49 (2008)

Georges E. Fouron, The History of Haiti in Brief, in THE HAITIAN CREOLE LANGUAGE: HISTORY, STRUCTURE, USE, AND EDUCATION 23, 24 (Arthur K. Spears & Carole M. Berotte Joseph eds., 2010).

Leadership Reading: Books to read for your Leadership Development Journey

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Part of your leadership development journey is changing up the way you educate and learn new things. Although change can be a great thing, getting back to the basics can be just as effective. Reading is a great way to education, encourage and inspire! If your goal is to cultivate change for your community, start by cultivating change within yourself.

Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life by Humble the Poet

Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life,’ as it is titled, is a work written by Canadian MC and poet Humble the Poet.  It is a compilation of learnings and experiences of his everyday life, written in simple language for all to read. Through 101 short chapters, the emphasis is put into the attitude and thinking needed for individuals to live a better quality of life. It is remarkably blunt! Reasoning questions that force you to think about your everyday circumstances and how these circumstances can affect you. Acknowledging the things that make you happy, sad, confused, and inspired. This book allows the mind to wander into the unknown while constantly reassuring the reader that they are not alone.

For young professionals, part of learning and developing into the powerful leaders of tomorrow is understanding how experiences shape you and grabbing a newer perspective to build your sense of empathy. It is important to show compassion for the uncomfortable circumstances you may see others face, especially in leadership roles. This book helps you find the silver lining in your perception of the world; inspires you to become more self-aware and empowered, and to no longer be limited by the lessons we have learned throughout our lives. It stimulates you with ideas that challenge conventional learning that has resulted in sabotaging behaviors and go against the grain.

This book is an absolute read for growth! A sample e-book is available to read on Humble the Poet’s website for those wanting to dip in and see what UnLearn is all about! The book itself is available now in hardback, paperback, and electronic editions online at http://humblethepoet.wix.com/unlearn101.

A Coach or a Mentor?

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A coach has some great questions for your answers;

A mentor has some great answers for your questions.

As we learn, discover,  and explore in the beginning stages of youth development, having access to valuable guidance and support is important! Learners turn to individuals, who are invested, knowledgeable, and committed to empowering them to make a positive lasting impact. These individuals can be coaches or mentors, who act in the learners best interest in their development.  One tells you how to accomplish something (mentor), the other holds you accountable and challenges you to physically reach your goals (coaches). Nevertheless, each of these roles has the responsibility to influence the young professionals of tomorrow.

A coach

As a coach you are not limited to coaching aspiring athletes, rather you can be a coach in any profession or field of interest. Coaching aims to achieve goals and improve performance over a short-term period of time. In most cases, a coach provides a structured plan for action. This plan will not only guide a young professional on how to achieve their goals but it will exactly guide them onto the results they wish to gain from this plan. As a coach, you will be the best inspiration for this action plan for success. Young professionals will seek out your instruction for discipline and resilience so that they can achieve success for themselves.

A Mentor

The role of a mentor is designed to help shape a young professional’s beliefs and values in a positive way. This is often a long term relationship from someone who has ‘done it before’. Mentoring encourages an informal way to guide individuals on their personal development journey. They provide consistent support long into adulthood and beginning a professional career. In return, as a mentor, you gain the opportunity to get to know one another by sharing your stories and building a life-long friendship.

This program emphasizes the opportunity for young professionals and their families to partner with our professionals to gain the highest-quality leadership, by providing access to resources and educational tools that empower the next generation of leaders. Whether locally or globally, the relationship amongst young professionals and their mentors or coaches is crucial in identifying values and beliefs they hold about the world around them. With a burning desire to create change for the betterment of their communities, it was important for us to provide these aspiring leaders with the missing link!

Over the course of 8 months to 10 months, our participating young professionals will be partnering with a BGood coach. We are striving to cultivate the potential of everyone to be a coach and positively impact those around them. We want our coaches to each bring their unique capabilities to their role in this organization. Specifically, in being equipped with the skill to create an environment where our young professionals can learn, grow, and enrich their peers as a result.

It will be a never ending cycle that will last a lifetime. But it is imperative for leaders not only, to develop these skills, but receive the necessary guidance, in order to effectively drive positive impacts.

Leadership Reading: Books to read for your Leadership Development Journey

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Part of your leadership development journey is changing up the way you educate and learn new things. Although change can be a great thing, getting back to the basics can be just as effective. Reading is a great way to education, encourage and inspire! If your goal is to cultivate change for your community, start by cultivating change within yourself.

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza

One of my favorite books on personal development I have read is Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza. When I think of cultivating something beyond the self, I think that we first have to align ourselves with what we believe is worth cultivating. Yet in our current age of technology, conditioning, and bad habits; putting our best foot forward to become the leaders we strive to become, can be difficult. This book offers a combination of fundamental principles of neuroscience, psychology, and necessary knowledge to change any aspect of yourself. The beautiful result of what you can obtain is that your mind shapes your reality! Therefore by changing your thought process, how you view the infinite possibilities available to you, within your quantum field, you can create your desired reality. I think this book provides an in-depth look behind the meaning of ‘anything is possible’ if you position your mind to believe in the possibility. Part of cultivation is creating. As a developing leader, unpacking the foundation of your morals and values can be beneficial in your presentation to the public. If you aim to teach others what it means to create a better community for all, it helps to first understand for yourself, the look of a better community. What does it mean? How can you manifest that community? How does it benefit the members? Can the members instill faith in your vision?

A Virtual Learning Experience

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We know that an amazing adventure awaits you when exploring the unknown. When you know what your purpose is and what you can provide to the world on your journey. Even if you know where you would like to go or even if you have no idea, we can start by helping to navigate the ins-and -outs the best version of yourself.

Currently, the market is filled with various educational materials on leadership. BGood Worldwide’s B The Light program curriculum will use Google Suite for Education to compile a comprehensive curriculum to teach leadership through various mediums.  It will track five main themes that constitute the foundation of BGood Worldwide’s mission: Integrity, Friendship, Dreams, Forgiveness, and Honor.  BGood believes these fundamentals are critical for any community leader.  

Using an online platform as an educational tool allows participants to constantly have access to the curriculum materials at all times. It creates a space for discussions to be documented, participants can review and critically responds without missing a beat. The online platform will use interactive video, imagery and writings to push the boundaries of leadership education.  The curriculum will also require participants to upload their own content to personalize the experience and create strong bonds with their fellow teammates. BGood will evaluate the curriculum yearly to ensure that the content remains up to date in addressing certain pressing current issues.

As a result, each lesson will use these themes to highlight important concepts and teach the best practices for how to maximize each participant’s leadership abilities. Our curriculum will be designed to be both challenging and rewarding to participants of all backgrounds.

Uniquely designed to utilize a virtual space, we have combined online leadership mentoring and education delivered through applications which allows participants to engage in their leadership education anywhere, anytime. Specifically, using Google Suite products such as Gmail, Hangout, Blogger, Youtube, Calendar, Drive and more, as the communication hub, are powerful and easy-to-use tools available across  access all mobile, tablet and laptop devices.

Team members receive interactive leadership workbooks that lessons and assignments with rich video, imagery and writings about leadership concepts.  Each workbook enables team members to load personalized text, pictures, and video to fully customize each team members’ experience. The workbooks are completed independently and should take each team member approximately one hour per week.  

Each team will be assigned a team leader, who would utilize Hangout, Google’s video chat and messaging tool, to connect with each team member for approximately thirty minutes per week to help support the team members throughout the program.

A Morning Routine Aspiring Leaders Should Do

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Our day-to-day habits can be hard to build and break. Being young allows us to try and understand what is interesting yet beneficial for us. Whether you dedicate just a few moments a day or a few hours a day for your own self-development, you are setting the tone needed to produce productivity and creativity.

Start by planning your day the night before. Leadership is about having a vision. And developing a vision requires a plan of action. Good leadership skills are essential to advancing your individual development, but leadership is much more than simply being in charge.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”


John Quincy Adams

If you can effectively translate your vision enough to inspire others, this is setting the example. Having an idea of what you would like to get done in a set a framework for smooth functionality. Be sure that the task and strategies you have come up with, contribute to your vision both long term and short term. Make these strategies realistic and measurable so you can monitor your progress.

Then, time for sleep! Getting proper rest is key to revitalizing the body and mind. You want to be able to tackle the day full of energy, with a great attitude. A good night’s’ rest should consist of at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep.

After getting your proper rest, rise up early enough to ‘get the worm’. One of the ways to succeed in getting the best possible start to winning your day-to-day is by setting rituals or routines so you can avoid the scrambling of putting together a to-do list. If you can make such routine more of a habit, you can create a positive momentum of proactive behavior. There are numerous studies that link individuals who begin their day in the early morning hours to more positive traits such as being proactive, having better attitudes, more likely to be kind to others, and tend to be smarter. An early start creates time for self-development. It provides more time for reading, meditation, prayer, recollection, making a nutritious breakfast, even getting some exercise. Including a means of higher learning, health, or creativity at the beginning of the day, redirects your energy into being more doing rather than reacting.

While in this momentum of ‘doing’, completing small tasks such as making your bed is a success habit of ‘getting things done’; followed by feeding your second brain, the stomach. After waking up, drink glass of water, orange juice, or apple juice to help replenish and awaken your body, activating your nerve cells for the day.

Once you are awakened, you should take at least 10 to 15 minutes for mindfulness. Mediation, reading or writing are great ways to center and focus your mind and energy on producing a clear space for the day. This also helps to relieve the excess tension that might have remained after getting your 8 to 10 hours of sleep.

With a refreshing start to your day, you are now in a more positive space to begin your day. It is important to carry a positive, can-do attitude during your daily interactions. Others can gain a sense of inspiration simply by way of conversation or working alongside of you. The best way to strengthen these interactions is through more communication. Getting the opportunity to build relationships with your family, peers, or colleagues to learn more about what their interests or concerns are, creates conversation full of depth and meaning. For any individual, active listening is a great trait to build upon. Someone who listens to suggestions, ideas, and feedback from other people, and provides the same for others in return, it all about building advancing in your self development as well as aiding in someone else’s self development.  

Another thing that individuals naturally do is learn. Engaging in your surroundings by taking in the knowledge of everything you experience from your day, can be shared with your peers and members of your community. Learning is one of the major keys to success! It keeps your mind sharp, and your skills fresh.

It prepares you for new challenges that may come your way. In leadership, this is someone who can see learn from an obstacle and see the bigger picture enough to later anticipate problems before they occur. This is a valuable skill to have when handling complex problems. The ability to foresee and provide suggestions for avoiding potential problems also helps you recognize opportunities that others overlook, which will certainly aid in your self-development.

A great way to reflect upon your day is to dedicate more time to mindfulness, specifically sitting in silence or journaling the events of the day.  Reflection helps you to discern the value of your day, whether your behaviors, energy, focus were enough to contribute to your vision. Everything you do acts as a building block to how you intend to become what you have envisioned for yourself. By following these daily habits you can take the grunt work out of you self development journey and focus on the real work to achieve your vision.



It All Started with a Question

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It’s funny how when you’re young you have this idea of how your life will turn out and then as you get older you realize that life had a completely different plan. At least that’s been partially my experience. I always imagined I would go into finance because that’s what my mom did and she was my role model. Hey, it could still happen, but probably not and that’s okay. 

Life did have one definite plan for me though, and that was to go to Temple University. All the people I love and looked up too went there; my grandparents Harvey and Selma went to Temple, my mom went to Temple, my step-father went to Temple, so naturally, after I graduated from boarding school I went Temple. I had it all figured out too. I would study International Finance in the Fox School of Business and in four years I’d graduate and go work for some international firm. But after one course and a question from a ten-year-old boy that all changed.

In business school, and I imagine they still do this, you’re required to take a public speaking course. My professor charged the class to select one topic to research and give speeches on that topic for the duration of the semester. After of year and a half of business courses, I felt bored and I choose to research something out of the box for me; I choose the Philadelphia School District. I hadn’t gone to public school in Philadelphia, I knew I never wanted to be a teacher or work in a school, but I remember not hesitating at all. Something drew me in.

At the time, the high schools in the district were nicknamed “failure factories” because the graduation rate lingered just above 50%. That is to say, 50 of 100 high school seniors graduated with a diploma, if they even made it to senior year.

During that same time, I was working part-time for Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education teaching tennis at local recreation centers, mostly in North Philly. It was a tough sell some afternoons trying to get kids excited to play tennis when other kids were playing basketball on courts just twenty feet away. Even tougher was getting the kids in the program excited about completing the educational workbooks and activities we were required to teach before they even got on the court. It was an incredible period in my life, tough, but incredible.

This one afternoon I had a particularly bad practice. It was a Friday afternoon, my co-worker was a no-show, the tennis net had been torn down the night before, and I was short on patience. I ended the educational activities early and figured I’d at least get the kids on the court to play some games. Or so I thought. I lost six or seven of the kids just walking out to the courts and could tell the remaining ones were thinking about making a dash for it. So there I am with five or six kids left trying to be the best coach I can be, trying to be excited so the kids could feed off that energy, but just failing miserably. After about ten minutes of trying to “force” excitement about tennis practice one boy said, “Coach Ben, we never gonna be good at tennis. Why should we even try?!” That question hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember looking at that boy, looking around the court, and trying to put myself in his shoes. He had a point. Why try? Why try to excel at anything?

Back in my public speaking course, my speeches changed their focus as the semester progressed. When the course started my speeches reflected a business minded student. I was researching and talking about staff structure, training methods, teachers evaluations and compensation, success rates of new programs, working within constrained budgets, and trying to get the most bang for your buck. By mid-semester my focus changed. I became less concerned about specific data on student test scores or how different programs impacted the district budget and became more concerned with why would students try to succeed in a failing school system considering all of the other trauma and adverse circumstances they face? Why try at all?

Finally, the semester was coming to an end and I had one last speech to give for my course. I didn’t talk much about the school district at all. Instead, I spoke about that ten-year-old boy. I spoke about the community he grew up in, about his mother who sometimes yelled at him during practice from the outside of the courts but loved him dearly, and I spoke about this natural charisma he had which influenced the other kids in the program so effortlessly. Four weeks earlier that boy challenged me by asking Why try? Why try to excel at anything? I didn’t have the answer then, and it’s been over ten years now that I’ve been in the pursuit to find it. But that question changed my entire thinking about how I wanted to spend my time. At the end of that last speech, knowing I was going into unknown territory, I closed with, “And that’s why I transferring to the College of Education next semester.” I did and never looked back.

That boy continued to challenge me and am happy to say I’m still in touch with him. He was part of that program through middle school, joined the high school leadership program I use to run, traveled with our team nationally, and even internationally on a school build mission to Haiti. I watched him graduate from high school, enter college, the reserves, and the workforce. That young man is incredible and with many other young men and women and some truly talented staff, we learned together the answers to that question of why try.