The world is wonderful because of the kind people who care and tackle the greatest threats facing us. They are people with compassion and who get out there and do it. As passionate social entrepreneurs, at InspirEngage, we are always on the look-out for inspirational stories, particularly from young people who are making a difference. This is Alex’s story. Apart from the vast social impact she and all her supporters have had, it’s also a moving tale that shows you can start small (and be just 4 years old) and yet, begin a powerful movement about a cause that means a lot to you….

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is an amazing organisation that was started by an inspiring little girl at the young age of 4.

Before Alex turned 1 years old, she was diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer. The doctors informed her parents even if she beats it, it would be doubtful that she would ever walk. By her second birthday she was crawling and able to stand with leg braces. By a shocking discovery the cancer started coming back soon after that.

During her treatment on her 4th birthday she told her mum “when I get out of the hospital I want to have a lemonade stand.” She said she wanted to give the money to doctors to allow them to “help other kids, like they helped me.” True to her word she held a lemonade stand later that year with the help of her brother and raised $2000. Alex and her family continued to hold yearly lemonade stands in her front yard to benefit childhood cancer research.

News spread of the remarkable sick child dedicated to helping other sick children. People from all over the world, moved by her story, held their own lemonade stands and donated the proceeds to Alex and her cause.

Alex passed away in 2004 at the age of 8 knowing that, with the help of others, she had raised more than $1 million to help find a cure for the disease that took her life. Her family continues to keep her legacy alive today and thriving through this amazing foundation.

Interested to support this wonderful cause? Check out http://www.alexslemonade.org (@alexslemonade on Instagram)

When people ask us what we do, we say ‘help people to do well by doing good’. Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working with Boston College through our ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ programme, starting with hosting their first ever social enterprise conference, to delivering several social enterprise Bootcamps and facilitating their social enterprise market day- all with the objective of increasing the number of social enterprises in the community. On 27 April 2016, we delivered a very special Bootcamp.

Back in February, a group of students and community members came together where we helped them develop their skills to and project development tools to take their social enterprise ideas to fruition. With pots of seed-funding up from grabs in partnership with Unltd, the Bootcamp had great outcome with several securing what they needed. At the end of the Bootcamp, I offered the group (mostly consisting of Plumbing students) the opportunity to do a ‘Train the Trainer’ with us in order to co-deliver the next Bootcamp. A few of them signed up.

Fast forward to 27 April, the 4 students spent the morning with Melody, learning the techniques of a trainer, breaking down the modules and practicing delivering it. We encouraged them to push through their comfort zone and to try to lead a session on their own. We rolled up our papers and ran for the afternoon Bootcamp!

The afternoon Bootcamp was for a group of A-level students. We walked in and I asked them why they were there (always important to gauge expectation). Comments like “to learn how to make a difference”, “do something new” and “to learn new skills” were offered. Perfect. We were off! Although the atmosphere was laden with anxiety over the imminent end of year exams, the students pushed through. Their chosen theme for their group social enterprise was chosen by themselves; The social inclusion of the elderly and intergeneration with young people.

Our ‘train the trainer’ Milika delivered the first segment and was professional and enthusiastic and on it went, each doing a great job and pushing through the nerves they felt. This was as much about them, as the Bootcamp participants we were training.

We looked at the community and different aspects of it as relating to their project, we helped them break the project down through an interactive module called PROMA© as well as set them an unexpected creativity social enterprise task! Here’s the interesting thing. Usually, people get participants to pitch to a panel of experts (we’ve sat on our fair share of those!), but I wanted them to pitch to a panel of their peers (the train the trainer students). This had a powerful effect and interesting dynamic on both sides.

The A-level students walked in with a desire to create change and knew their theme- but had no idea of what project they wanted to run or how to do it. Despite it being just a half a day Bootcamp, it’s important to us to support them to feel like they can go to the next stage (wherever they started from). We’re pleased that the A-level students were able to walk out with a solid concept, a name for it and a plan as to what they were going to do next. We won’t ruin the surprise, but it’s an absolutely brilliant idea and we look forward to keeping you updated on what happens next!

As for the Train the Trainer students – one of the participants who put himself forward, at his Bootcamp was extremely shy to say his own name, and yet stood up to co-deliver with us! At the end he said; “I don’t feel shy anymore”

 

For all enquiries about Bootcamps and social enterprise programmes, email: info@inspirEngage.com. Tweet us @inspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you the person who when given half an opportunity, you take it and run with it? Or are you the person who shrugs their shoulders and says ‘I can’t be bothered?’ – that’s the difference between success and failure. Success truly starts with a willingness to put in, say yes and show up. Yesterday InspirEngage launched the #SUCCESStour in partnership with NCS giving young people an opportunity to shape their own success. Thank you Hagley Catholic School for hosting the first stop of the tour- it was a pleasure speaking with your students.

This project comes as a continuation of our work with NCS since 2011 in delivering the InspirEngage Bootcamps as part of the Summer programme, training young people to develop the skills to firstly shape a solid social action project, but also on how to turn their social action project into a social enterprise. This way continuing to make a difference whilst also earning an income.

We look forward to the coming stops on the #SUCCESStour- see live developments on twitter: @InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

 

Are you a school who wishes to host the #SUCCESStour for your students? Drop us a line on: info@inspirEngage.com

Are you 15-17 and want to find out more and sign up to NCS? Check out http://www.ncsyes.co.uk

Are you a provider and interested in the InspirEngage Social Enterprise Bootcamps for phase 2 of the Summer programme? Email info@inspirEngage.com