14 February 2008

Changin’ The Bay!

Wow, what an amazing first day of site visits, chit-chats and driving! Malena and I started bright and early with a run on the incredible treadmill here at the La Quinta Inn Berkeley. That was followed by our free continental breakfast, which consisted of chocolate puffs cereal, a bagel and apple juice. Equally divine.

From there it was eastward to Benicia High School, where we spoke to the “Virtual Enterprise” class, which works to launch their own small businesses, from cake makers to clothing lines. We were there to talk about how those small businesses could be turned into social ventures, not only making money but changing communities.

Afterward I had a chit-chat with one of our SAGE partner teams – a group of four kids who have are currently working on launching their FOURTH Venture. WHOA! They’re doing everything from selling concessions at basketball half-time to raise money for awareness projects to getting certified as Green Home Auditors to teach homeowners how they can make their houses more eco-friendly. Did I mention they’re all 16 to 18 years old?

From there it was a quick stop at the Bucks so Malena could power down a skinny latte and I could check email on the “hotspot.” Malena snapped this shot of me and immediately thought I looked like Matthew Fox from “Lost.” Flattered? I think yes!

We spent the afternoon with Victoria and Vincent, a brother-sister team that launched www.DimWitNot.com last December. DimWitNot is an online tutoring center for kids who can’t stay on their campuses after school but still need help. It’s “open” every day from 4pm to 6pm and kids can log on anywhere on the planet to ask for help from online tutors with Math and Science, as well as meet online with group members to work collaboratively on group projects. “There are lots of kids out there who need extra help but can’t get it because they can’t stay on campus after school. Our site tries to fill that need,” Victoria told us. They designed the whole site and their Dad helped to code the whole thing! For just $20 a month kids can have full access Monday through Thursday for assistance with anything and everything school-related. Right now, they’re working as tutors as well, but interest is growing rapidly and teachers at their school have started marketing the opportunity to their students.

All in all, a pretty solid day. Malena and I are still playing catch-up from our rushed exit, but we’re doing our best to keep spirits high! Note Malena’s ridiculous in-car antics!