BYI Spotlight: Doetri Ghosh @ Gates Foundation's 2018 Summer Take Action Middle School Workshop 

Doetri's Thoughts

I participated in a week long Summer Take Action Middle School Workshop at the Gates Foundation, it was a great experience. I had the opportunity to meet other children of my age and learnt what they do to support their communities and for greater causes. We had college students and high schoolers who mentored us and lead our groups and as well as helped us form ideas. In the workshop they taught us about networking, grantmaking and design thinking. We also volunteered at an organization called Teen Feed. Teen Feed provides a meal for homeless youth every day of the year, give them a safe place to spent the night, and resources to get rid of barriers, or to reach their goal away from the streets. They provide education for those who want to go to college, provide ID cards, means to find a job, and many such basic necessities. At Teen Feed, we helped clean their kitchen, which was a lot of work, and designed paper plates to brighten up the place. I have never done anything like this before and every moment was worth it. I felt very humbled by the opportunity and would like to go back again.

We had two guest speakers from the foundation, who gave a talk on how they used their passion to help in social causes and the importance of networking, which was also one of the main lessons in the workshop. I learnt that when we meet and interact with a diverse group of people, we can empathize with everyone's personal story. As young people who want to make a change, it is important that we hear all ideas, and gather as many resources we can. The diversity of the people we work with will push us to think bigger and go further.

As a part of the grantmaking exercise, we were divided into five groups, each with one charitable organization to research on. At the end we presented what we learned about each of them (the organizations), and based on a voting system chose which from the five would receive a donation of five thousand dollars from the Gates Foundation. As others presented their research, it helped me learn of local foundations that I did not known of, like Art Corps, The Block Project, Amplifier, Art Sanctuary, and Project Feast. My group worked on Art Corps. Art Corps gives youth a platform to express their feelings, and provides students with an education in art.

Towards the end of the week, we partnered up to work on a project about an issue we were passionate about. My project was on equality. Our researched was on racism, sexism, and violence especially in Chicago. On the brochure, we depicted the issue of inequality by drawing an ‘issue tree’. The trunk represented the main issue (inequality and violence), roots were the causes (bias, cultural norms, prejudice), branches are the effects (difference in pay, supremacy, violence) and the fruit is what is being done, or solutions (awareness through personal stories, talks by celebrities and marches). Others did projects like saving forests, families being separated at the borders, homelessness, and hunger. On the final day we presented to all parents, visitors and the staff of the foundation. For our presentation, we had a list of books and movies on equality. We encouraged people to watch or read these books and movies, and write down others they found inspiring.

The different people I met, problems we discussed, and mechanisms I learnt in the week will help me grow as a person and I am cherishing the certificate I got. One of the main things I wish to bring back and share, is about grantmaking. Grantmaking is researching and then choosing from a set of presented organizations to give a donation to. This will give everyone an opportunity to participate and be more inclusive. Finally we will go through a selecting process and decide which organization to focus on. I will come up with a plan for all my BYI friends to evaluate. I am glad and feel fortunate to be able to participate in the program and share some of that experience with all my friends.

Doetri at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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