summer, with vacation in full swing, most sunny
afternoons found some twenty-five children who live at
Edgewood Court Apartments not at the pool or park, but
sitting quietly at tables in the small activity room,
reading. These youngsters participated in a summer reading
program started by an Emory College student, Tianna Bailey,
and her cousin, Georgia State student Maurice Shaffer.
our lives, a lot of organizations and people have invested
in us, Bailey (left) explains. We both received
full scholarships to college. We felt so blessed that
we wanted to give back to the community in some way. We
chose Edgewood Court Apartments because I have family
who have resided there for the last ten years, and my
cousin used to live there. We wanted to start in the community
where we grew up.
effort is exactly the kind of project Associate Professor
of Medicine Neil B. Shulman had in mind when he launched
Social Entrepreneurs at Emory, a start-up grant program
administered through the Volunteer Emory office. In 2000,
Shulman gave $2,000 to support students interested in
starting their own non-profit services, and five students
received $400 grants. Last year, fourteen Emory students
received ten grants for $200 to $400 each. The idea, says
Shulman, is that the students establish volunteer-based
programs and services that continue to have an impact,
even after the founders have graduated.
always wanted to see something like this done, Shulman
says. In an academic institution, the professors
are in charge, and the students learn from the professors.
But I really feel there is a lot we can learn from the
students if we just empower them to take an idea they
had on their own and help them do it. It would be wonderful
to have a lot more people graduate from school who are
social entrepreneurs, starting their own non-profits for
social good that could even turn into a business and a
career for the student. With these small grants, these
students have had incredible impact.
can apply for grants as individuals, in small groups,
or with a student organization; the only requirements
are that they reach out to the community beyond Emory
and that the student founders have a concrete plan for
how they will continue in years to come.
of Emorys social entrepreneurs have been drawn to
working with Atlanta children who are in need or at risk,
says Hildie Cohen, director of Volunteer Emory. The services
themselves span a wide range, however, such as teaching
conflict resolution skills to fourth and fifth graders,
inviting elementary school kids to Emory for a day to
see what college is like, helping inner-city high school
students through the college application process, developing
an inner-city tennis program, and volunteering in the
juvenile court system.
volunteer hours from the first year alone exceeded nine
hundred hours, Shulman reports. Students get
their friends and classmates to be involved. A number
have gotten newspaper coverage, and a couple have gotten
additional grants to become a separate non-profit. These
are students who are not just doing volunteer work, but
starting something real that may go on forever.
of the children at southeast Atlantas Edgewood Court
Apartments live in single-parent households, with several
siblings and young mothers who may work long hours. Before
Tianna Bailey set up IMAGE (I Must Achieve the Goal to
Excel), the free after-school program she and her cousin
conduct in the community activity room, many
of the children went home to watch TV in the afternoons,
played outsideunsupervised or possibly looked after
by older sisters or brothersor just generally hung
the school year, thirty-five of them now spend three afternoons
a week, from three to six p.m., at the IMAGE site, mostly
doing their homework with the help of volunteer tutors.
The tutors help them through any problems, check their
work, and make sure they are prepared for tests. Bailey
found forty volunteers to help with the program last year,
many of them Emory students and others from Georgia State,
Morehouse, and Georgia Tech. After homework time, the
volunteers usually organize a group activity that might
teach the children about conflict resolution, honesty,
or teamwork. The children also go on monthly field trips.
unique aspect of the program, Bailey says, is that it
encourages parent involvement. Parents are asked to volunteer
at least five hours a month. They like the program,
she says. They know their kids will be safe and
doing their homework. This is subsidized housing and the
income level is not high. All of these kids are latchkey
activity room, which the apartment management readily
agreed to let them use, is crowded with tables and chairs,
books and games, and a snack counter topped with huge
jars of candy. A sign on the wall outlines a few rules:
No horseplaying. Mind your business. Be honest.
There is a discipline system that the volunteers enforce,
Bailey says, with the most dire consequence for unruly
behavior being expulsion from the program.
who graduated this year, proposed the IMAGE project when
she was a sophomore. She returns to Emory this fall for
a graduate degree in education. She and Shaffer are also
seeking additional funding and support for IMAGE; they
have already received grants to continue the program.
never loses sight of the programs rewards. We
had this fifth-grader last year, she recalls, who
was having trouble academically and emotionally. He was
being ridiculed and was to the point of giving up. We
worked with him and tried to build his confidence. By
the end of the year, his teacher sent a report saying
she didnt know what was going on at home, but there
was a tremendous improvement in his behavior. She said
he had made a 180-degree-turn.
more successful IMAGE becomes, the more work it takes
to keep it going. What Maurice and I are learning,
Bailey says, is that this is like a business for
us. We are not being paid, but its like a dream
left my home in Puerto Rico,
cool, soft nights.
begins The Forgetful Island, a poem by Renfroe
Middle School student Juan Cardoza Oquendo. The poem won
third place in the poetry contest featured in X-Change,
a magazine for elementary and middle school students founded
by Emory social entrepreneur Lauren Gunderson (above).
is a magazine for you, about you, by, and with you. Inside
every issue will be stories about Atlanta kids, celebrities,
issues in our world, art, science, sports. Its what
you care about. Whats cool. Whats exciting,
Gunderson and co-editor Nishima Chudasama 02C tell
their readers in the first issue. Its about
your writing, your interests, your lives, your creativity,
your opportunity to make a difference.
a junior, and Chudasama together developed the idea for
a kids literary magazine that would both inspire
young people and give them an outlet to express themselves.
Basically, we got to talking about how we would
take some initiative for change, not just helping out,
but real long-term change in the community, Gunderson
says. For long-term change you want to hit kids,
so we decided that would be a good place to start.
first two issues of X-Change caught on quickly with both
students and teachers in the eight Decatur public schools
where the magazine is distributed by hand. Produced simply
in black and white, the four-page publication is packed
with graphics and text, including poems by students, calls
for submissions, contest announcements with prizes, and
numerous facts and inspiring quotes from various artists
and writers. Ideally, Gunderson says, she would like to
feature about a dozen youngsters per issue. She also wants
to expand X-Change to reach other schools.
magazine never wavers from its target audience. The summer
issue offers a number of suggested activities for the
long vacation that are part creative exercise, part fun:
Read a book and see the movie version! or,
Write a letter to yourself. . . . Next year open
it and see how youve changed.
magazine was born out of this desire to reach kids in
a way that is inspiring for them, but also makes sense
to them, in their own language, Gunderson says.
The huge overall goal is to celebrate kids who are
trying to do something creative. If you want to reach
a kid, the best way is to congratulate them on something
theyre already doing. Then theyll say, what
the heck, Ill keep doing it.
Caren Kelleher was a child, she was part of
a special art class that produced a 3-D mural for a local
hospital in a suburb of Washington, D.C. The teacher worked
hard to encourage the kids creativity. It
really pushed me, it gave me confidence, it was fun, and
I made great friends that way, Kelleher says. That
was the fundamental idea.
Kelleher (left), a sophomore and one of Emorys social
entrepreneurs, is trying to recreate that experience with
ARTreach Atlanta. Working with about thirty Emory volunteers
and a local group called Youth Art Connection, Kelleher
led an effort to transform an art room at the urban Warren
Boys and Girls Club in Cabbagetown last spring.
art room had not been cared for or cleaned up in about
a decade, Kelleher says. Their first task was to give
it a thorough cleaning. Then, she asked the youth who
use the clubabout fifty children from the area,
age seven to thirteento draw their ideas of the
perfect art room. Out of a hundred drawings, she and the
other volunteers gathered ideas for a giant mural, then
let the kids paint it. The brightly colored, folk-art
style mural takes up an entire twenty-five-foot wall.
kids were so excited to see that someone would actually
come to help with their art room, Kelleher says.
They were not using the room at all, they had no
organization and no teacher. I hope now they will find
a permanent art teacher.
is planning similar long-lasting art projects for ARTreach
Atlanta in the future, including other boys and girls
clubs and a local childrens hospital. But she also
hopes to expand the program to provide art education and
creative opportunities to individual children and small
our organization is so young, its kind of hard to
see where it will go, she says. Fundraising
has been our biggest hurdle because art supplies are so
expensive. But I hope our volunteers can pair up with
the kids and work with small groups to promote art. They
really enjoy spending time with the children, tapping
into their creativity. Kids look at the world and to them,
its so new.