The Good Life Organization (GLO)
GLO builds capacity in educators , to effectively engage youth in developing leadership, relationship, and citizenship skills.
About Your Organization
The Good Life Organization
United States, IL, Chicago, Cook County
Country where this project is creating social impact
United States, IL, Chicago, Cook County
Is your organization a
Your role in Education
The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with
How long has your organization been operating?
The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..
Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Established (past the previous stages and has demonstrated success)
How long has your solution been in operation?
Operating for 1‐5 years
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
US public education is in crisis: -1.2 million students drop out of school every year (Education Week 2007) -About 50% of the nation’s African-American and Latino students graduate on time from high school (Education Week 2007) Our communities suffer: -Dropouts from ‘07 cost our nation more than $300 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity (Rouse 2005.) -A dropout is 8 times more likely to be in jail or prison than high school graduate (Harlow 2003). -The US spends $9,644/student compared to $22,600/prison inmate annually (Alliance for Excellent Education 2006) Our xperience in 40 schools nationally suggests the crisis stems from disengaged youth. The solution lies in building capacity in educators to engage youth using social and emotional learning (SEL) in culturally relevant ways.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Training educators in culturally relevant SEL practices using the Fulfill the Dream (FTD) curriculum will re-engage the youth they educate and improve academic and social outcomes.
FTD is a culturally-relevant, civic engagement curriculum designed to reach adolescents through social-emotional learning (SEL) standards. The FTD program seeks to accomplish this through engaging youth with empirically-proven principles of empowerment and directing them toward developing leadership, relationship, and citizenship skills. While using a culturally-relevant pedagogical approach (Gay, 2000), this program encourages youth to use these skills to set goals and increase academic achievement and social responsibility through the medium of hip-hop. This program builds cumulatively as it gives students tools to critically examine and deconstruct their realities for the purpose of discovering and cultivating assets to direct themselves and their communities toward positive change.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
GLO distributes its culturally relevant SEL curriculum, the Fulfill the Dream Curriculum (FTD), through organizations that work directly with youth. GLO provides training to youth workers (teachers, after-school workers, etc) on the proper implementation of the FTD curriculum and on cutting edge pedagogy including SEL and cultural relevance.
By training youth workers in SEL and culturally relevance, GLO builds capacity in educators to build authentic relationships with youth and engage them relevantly. Relationships and relevance provide the context for youth to voice their experiences, engage in empathetic dialogue, & act towards positive change.
The curriculum of ten chapters utilizes media, movement, and music that strategically incorporates youth culture to teach lessons and communicate main points. Many of these points are embedded within projects that allow youth to tell their stories creatively, hear the stories of others, all serving as a catalyst to ignite: healing intra-personally, empathy inter-personally, & social action institutionally. FTD youth develop a culminating project that represents what they learned by engaging their local community in a civic action project.
In a typical client contract GLO provides a two day youth worker training; a kick-off event for youth participants; a mid-way check in with youth workers to provide facilitator support; and assistance with the planning of a culminating youth presentation/civic engagement project. Youth alumni then have an opportunity to publish their stories through our Youth Voice Nation iTunes app.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
The market for culturally relevant (SEL) curriculum is under developed. There are excellent SEL curriculums available (as can be found on the CASEL website), however these curriculum are not culturally relevant or engaging for much of America's youth (especially high school aged youth of color). GLO and the FTD Curriculum are unique because they use Hip Hop, a youth culture, to engage youth by creating an authentic context for them to share their stories creatively, their identities critically, and fuel social action empathetically . Many SEL programs are not culturally in-tune with most youth and are therefore somewhat ineffective. However, since the need is so great, we have consulted with other CBO's & programs, such as Why Try, to help them become more relevant in their engagement .
Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
GLO combines research and relevance in the development of training and curriculum that empower educators to engage & ignite youth voice.
Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
Hiphop based education is used to motivate youth to making positive intra/inter-personal and institutional changes creatively.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
GLO has worked in 7 cities nationally and has trained over 200 educators impacting tens of thousands of youth. The FTD curriculum has demonstrated increased cumulative G.P.A.s in youth (in as little as ten weeks) and increased graduation rates (with one school reaching a 100% graduation rate). GLO works in partnership with leaders in the field of SEL including CASEL, the Search Institute and university researchers. Results thus far have demonstrated decreases in despair, anger, and depression.
Additionally, youth from around the nation have organized a variety of civic engagement events. One event in L.A brought together a variety of stakeholders from CBO's to gang leaders. The gang leaders drawn by the safe activities for their children, were then engaged in organic discussion about the kind of community they wanted their children to inherit. The discussions brought the leaders to agreeing to work on a peace treaty, which was then announced by the leaders at the youth led event.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
GLO, in partnership with Purdue University, is on the verge of conducting the first ever experimental evaluation connecting SEL (empathy more specifically) to youth culture and Hip-hop. The goal with the research is to bring awareness of the importance of engaging youth in culturally relevant ways while doing SEL work to the field; and to increase our intensive training's to 5 per month. Engaging approx. 1,500 educators and 37,500 students every year, we estimate impacting 337,500 youth by 2015.
In addition, we plan to expand our reach by using technology. Our current iTunes app: Youth Voice Nation, is a youth led platform that allows youth to share stories and connect with other young change agents around the nation, & could expand to engaging youth with empathy and justice globally.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
The over-emphasis of standardized education is a major challenge to our vision of making education more holistic and humanizing. Our plan is to demonstrate, through research (with DR. Slaten at Purdue) that engaging youth with SEL projects focused on empathy, does increase academic performance, while ALSO increasing student well-being, healthy relationships, and community participation. We believe that this data could help open up doors to more schools.
Additionally, we see a challenge being the continual top-down approach of introducing SEL and empathy programs in educational spaces. To counter this we have involved youth leaders in the creation of books, iTunes apps, and albums, that make topics of empathy and empowerment cool and more organically accessible to youth directly.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
We will measure the impact of our Fulfill The Dream curriculum in a "high need" high school with Professor Slaten of Purdue.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
To solidify our relationship with a high school in Chicago that is interested in piloting the program for the first time.
To secure funding for the measurement instruments of the experimental evaluation including measures for: hope, resiliency, etc.
We will collect pre and post surveys, as well as faciliatate interviews and access school records to begin data analysis.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
The results of the evaluation are published in an academic article, and we commence bringing our training's to scale nationally.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Results are published in an academic journal such as the Journal of Urban Education.
Professor Chris Slaten and the creators of the FTD program present at a variety of educational conferences promoting empathy.
The conferences act as a marketing mechanism to doing more in-depth training's with educators around the nation.
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]
The impetus for this pedagogy connecting SEL and hiphop is not just based on research but on real life experience as well. I, Roberto Rivera, was once labeled an "at-risk" student & was given may labels such as being "LD", "EBD", and a "delinquent". These labels distracted me from reflecting on the real issues that were going on in my life (alcoholic father, physical abuse, and divorce) which isolated me from others & caused me to act out even more. Because of the role of my loving grandfather, I realized that I could take this fire, and with love, passion, and purpose, use it for something creative & constructive. I began to find an outlet through writing poetry and rap. It allowed me to tell my story, to listen to the story of others, to learn empathy and it fueled me to work for justice. The lens of empathy allowed me to connect authentically with others, to see root issues in the community, and to work creatively in connecting my education & passion to addressing these issues. Aha!
Tell us about your partnerships
We are currently in partnership with 7 different organizations in 7 cities. Some of the organizations that use our curriculum are schools, while others are NGO's. One partnership in Cincinnati is with the YMCA, where our curriculum is being used in 28 different after-school sites throughout the city. We help the Y collect anecdotal data and document outcomes which in-turn helps them to fundraise to support our partnership in the future. In this example, we have been in partnership with them for over 3 years and have impacted over 3,000 students and have grossed over $90,000.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]
Jennifer L. Moy MPA, is in charge of strategic community partnerships. She makes sure that systems are in place that allow us to build sustainability in our partnerships. She helps to create and manage our surveys helps facilitate our partnerships in grant writing, and works to establish efficiency and effectiveness in our communication with each organization. Then we have Prof. Chris Slaten Phd (Purdue) is in charge of research and evaluation of our programs. He shares what is working and needs improvement. Lastly Andy Haugen MBA, is in charge of planning, investments, and plans for growth.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
We have built partnerships with people who run orgs. that many would qualify as our competition. Our perspective is that the need is so large, that we can't possibly meet it alone. We believe in collaboration, which requires knowing our strengths & our weaknesses. Using our strengths we have helped organizations to connect with youth more relevantly. We are open to also learning from others!