Building Positive Communities

On Education and Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century:

Welcome to a new edition of The Positive Community where education is the focus. And, as always, we remind our readers about the essentials: the progress of our children and the integrity of our African American culture, values and traditions mean everything, politics of the day and market forces notwithstanding!

A conversation about the future begins with talks on education, health and business/finance/economics. Understanding our past is necessary in order to project a secure, happy and prosperous future. Education is the key; cultural literacy is the key. Education begins with the young child as society’s primary and most precious investment into the future. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), April is celebrated as the “Month of the Young Child.”

Recently the city of Chicago introduced a “groundbreaking” initiative that requires public high school students to develop plans for life after high school (post-secondary attainment). Before they could get their diploma they would have to provide a letter showing they’ve been accepted to college, the military or a trade. They could also satisfy the requirement with a letter showing they have a job or a job offer.

Imagine what great strides could be made if educators would pay more attention to the work of teaching the youth how to engage in life planning and character progression! Ideally, the purpose of all education should be to foster and further the supreme purpose of life, the development of a majestic and well-balanced personality. Today, there is a great need for the teaching of moral discipline in the place of so much self-gratification.

Emerging Opportunities
The quest for real meaning in post-Obama America is on! It’s no longer business as usual. We must gird ourselves for the many challenges that lie ahead. Exciting opportunities are emerging; new doors of possibilities are wide open. Among the many conventions, conferences, lectures, sermons and panel discussions taking place in the coming days, the National Action Network led by Rev. Al Sharpton is hosting their annual conference at the Sheraton Hotel April 26–29. All the above topics will be addressed including conversations about the future of social justice in America. The four-day event is free but attendees must register. Visit www.nationalactionnetwork.net for details. On April 27, Harlem’s Interchurch Center, “The God Box”, home to over 70 non-profits, foundations, faith-based organizations, schools, businesses and a seminary will host their annual Networking Day. This is an opportunity for the building’s tenants/neighbors to greet each other and share their stories and missions. At 1pm, the doors to the Interchurch Center will open to the public for The Positive Community’s NY leadership Roundtable. The theme of this panel discussion: Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century; Building Positive Communities.

What is a Social Entrepreneur? According The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, the arts, health, environment and enterprise development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, similar to a business entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profits or for-profit companies.

A social entrepreneur is a leader or pragmatic visionary who:

• Achieves large scale, systemic and sustainable social change through a new invention, a different approach, a more rigorous application of known technologies or strategies, or a combination of these.
• Focuses first and foremost on the social and/or ecological value creation and tries to optimize the financial value creation.
• Innovates by finding a new product, a new service, or a new approach to a social problem.
• Continuously refines and adapts approach in response to feedback.
• Combines the characteristics represented by Richard Branson and Mother Teresa. (augments the profit motive with a service motive)

While it is recognized that increased business ownership for African Americans is crucial to our future success, social entrepreneurship could be the real catalyst for change that impacts our lives in meaningful ways. The roundtable’s expert panel, moderated by Rev. Jacques DeGraff will explore some of the ways in which social entrepreneurs could work to build positive, sustainable communities now and well into the future! This event is free, but seating is limited. For reservations: www.thepositivecommunity.com . . .

Because a positive community is everybody’s business . . . It really pays to care!

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