My Name My Story

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My Name My Story: Inspiring Empathy in Young Leaders

United StatesWest Hills, United States
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

My Name My Story (MNMS) is a Social Leadership Organization that Inspires Empathy in Young Leaders.

Through Storytelling, Teamwork, Leadership & Service our goal is to develop Students as Empathetic Leaders in their Communities.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

We inspired middle and high school students to be empathetic leaders?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The "lack of empathy" is the root of most of the challenges of disconnectedness faced by students today. These include: peer harassment, suicide, drop-outs and substance abuse. This lack surfaces later in life when these same students cannot survive in the workplace because they lack the basic skills of empathy & teamwork. Current programs that try to solve the issue of disconnectedness are ineffective in their ability to engage students.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

My Name My Story, was developed to engage the entire student body, school & community to "Inspire Empathy in Young Leaders" through: Storytelling, Teamwork, Leadership and Service. MNMS School Club Leaders learn Empathetic Leadership Skills since they operate as micro social entrepreneurs by identifying problems in their school and community, finding solutions, leading teams and reporting their impact. Hence MNMS focuses its effort on the "cause" of the issues faced by the youth today which is the "lack of empathy." And, through a powerful, peer led program, including our Social Entrepreneurship Camps, we are preparing the youth of today for a connected world where Empathy, Teamwork, Leadership & Service are paramount for survival.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Ex 1: The "moment of obligation" came when we received and email from a MNMS Event Attendee: "when I heard Amit's story I began to question my decision of suicide. My story was't over...thank you for helping me find my purpose to live..." Ex 2: There is a MNMS School Club in a middle school that serves a very low income segment, troubled homes, financially stressed families, tense & rough campus. But, this school has lead MNMS Activities in their school. Today these same kids have have identified issues in their community that they want to solve. Focusing on solving someone else's issues has made them realize that even though they have problems - when they focus on serving others they forget their own and they are united!

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In 2013 we have about 400 students, from 11 to 18, engaged from 14 MNMS School Clubs impacting as student body of 13,000+ These leaders have been empowered to identify a problem, find solutions, form teams, execute the plan and even report their impact. To date, MNMS Stories have been read online from across the world, 25,000+ books donated, 750 toys donated, and Empathy Inspired in students, schools and communities. We invite you to go beyond the numbers and experience stories of these young changemakers doing incredible things to inspire empathy on their campuses and in their communities, by reading our 2013 Impact Report by visiting: http://mynamemystory.org/impact-report---2013.html As we scale the organization, the future impact will be felt in young leaders, schools, communities & governments.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We limited our growth in 2013 and reached out to 14 MNMS School Clubs with about 400 MNMS Leaders in the clubs, with a reach of approx 13,000 students in 3 states. In 2014 we will limit our growth to 50 school clubs in 5 states, including our first 2 MNMS Clubs on a College Campuses. We will additionally bring on 6 to 10 MNMS School Club Advisors to support the growth. By 2018 along with the growth of the organization in the US & International Markets - we want to see that States require Empathy & Social Entrepreneurship taught in middle and high schools through the MNMS Program.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

MNMS School Clubs: Free. MNMS Leadership Days: Pay Per Attendee. (Currently Active) MNMS Inspire Empathy Speaking Fees: Pay Per Event. (Currently Active) MNMS Social Entrepreneurship Summer Camp: Pay per Attendee. (Currently Active) MNMS Inspire Empathy Day: Pay Per Event (Starting September 2014) MNMS Curriculum through Education Partners: (Starting September 2015) MNMS Fiscal Sponsorship: (Currently Active.)

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Although there is no shortage of organizations working in the empathy sphere, we believe here is what makes us special: - Our goal is to create the Next Generation of Empathetic Leaders by Inspiring Empathy through Storytelling, Leadership, Teamwork and Service. - Our target market is Middle & High School Students. - We empower our MNMS Leaders to become "Micro Social Entrepreneurs" in their MNMS School Clubs by introducing them to the concepts of SE. - Finally, we even offer the Social Entrepreneurship Camp to empower these young changemakers with tools to be in control of their future.
Team

Founding Story

I am passionate about empathy because I grew up with a speech impediment till the age of 11. Those were some tough years in middle school: comments from students and teachers had eaten up on my self-image. Even though my school had a lot of programs to address issues of bullying, they were ineffective because they represented themselves as an "anti-this" or "anti-that" and students disconnect from such efforts if they are not directly affected by these issues. In my opinion the "lack of empathy" is the root of most of the challenges of disconnectedness faced by students today. These include: bullying, suicide, drop-outs, and substance abuse. So as we develop MNMS, the entire focus is to "inspire empathy" and focus on the "cause."

Team

Julie La Belle - School Club Advisor / Ra'idah Noohu - School Club Advisor / A host of Adult Advisors and Mentors that include: Social Entrepreneurs, Educators, Business Strategy, Marketing, Finance, Interfaith Studies & Social Media who choose to believe in the power of the youth!
About You
Organization:
My Name My Story
About You
First Name

Amit

Last Name

Dodani

LinkedIn URL
About Your Organization
Organization Name

My Name My Story

Organization Country

, CA, West Hills

Country where this project is creating social impact

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..

Impact
Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)

2014 our goal is to have a minumum of 50 school clubs impacting a student body of 75,000.
To empower our communities to develop empathetic leaders, we continue to host our leadership days. In fact, we are also hosting a Social Entrepreneurship Camp for Young Changemakers in the Summer of 2014.

Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

We have a great advisory board and a strong team. I really think that there are a lot of people that do not understand the word empathy well enough for them to embrace it as a program that really addresses the issue of peer harrasment.

Sustainability
Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

We have set strategic partnerships for content with Peace First & Ashoka for our Camps.
We also established relationships with KIPP & Teach For America as organizations we support.
Most importantly we have established connections with hundreds of other young social entrepreneurs to create a collaborative spirit.

Closing the Loop
How does your project primarily ensure that feedback delivers results?

Demonstrate how closed feedback loops can make a difference in people’s lives.

Please elaborate on your answer to the above question.

At MNMS our leaders know that when they report their feedback, they are able to inspire others with their stories. So, we have the following strategy to get feedback from the MNMS Community:
Monthly Survey Monkey Questionnaires. The leaders feel a sense of responsibility to do something every month before they report.
Group Conference Calls - Every 60 days. People feel heard & connected.
Annual 2013 Report - This impact shares the "numbers" but more importantly, it shares stories of young changemakers.
Please visit: http://mynamemystory.org/impact-report---2013.html

Languages: In what languages are you able to read and write fluently?

English.

2nd Round Questions
Thinking about your feedback loop; what information are you trying to get from whom, to whom, and to bring about what change?

The Goal of My Name My Story is to Inspire Empathy in the community. So, we are entrusted with the task of measuring “empathy” in our community and the effectiveness of our program. We have to:
• Measure the effectiveness of our program.
• Measure the quantitative impact of our work.
• Measure the emotional impact of our work.
• Ensure the engagement of the MNMS Community.

We had to get his information from everyone in the MNMS Community:
• Teachers, Faculty & Adults
• MNMS School Club Advisors (College Students)
• MNMS School Club Founding Leaders (High School Students)
• Attendees (Students, Faculty & Adults)

This information is to be fed back to:
• The MNMS Team (Founder, MNMS Advisors and Mentors)
• The MNMS community,
• Our Partners
• Our Supporters
• Competitions like this one
The goal of developing a robust and continuous feedback loop was to make sure that we were able to deliver and empowering program to the youth.
But as one of our advisors always says, “Emotional Decisions of Supporters will be made by the Stories we share, but the growth decisions have to be made on “data and analysis” so our feedback loop is being developed to measure both.

What is the purpose of your feedback loop?

Improve quality of programs

If other, please specify
What mediums or mechanisms do you use to collect feedback? (check all that apply)

Phone or voice, Website, Physical gathering.

If other, please specify
Could you briefly describe the way you collect the feedback?

Currently we have established a system of “touching” and getting feedback through multiple channels:
• Survey Monkey (Monthly / Specific) – The surveys go out on a regular basis to connect with our Student Leaders. Specific surveys go out to attendees after events, for example we will send a survey to students and faculty after an Inspire Empathy event.
• Conference Calls (Every 2 months) – This allows us to connect the Founding Leaders from all our MNMS Clubs to hear each other. This platform becomes very effective because as we are gathering information about what the clubs are doing, the participants are able to learn and be inspired by hearing what other schools are doing.
• Personal Interviews (Annually - for our Annual Report) – Conducted by our School Club Advisor.
• Impact Reporting after Every MNMS Activity (for our Monthly Newsletters.) The MNMS Leaders report the impact of their activity, tangible (e.g. 500 books donated) and intangible (e.g. “one of our students, felt so moved and said ….”)

For the near future, we are evaluating and looking to establish a Emotional Intelligence / Empathy measurement through organizations like www.sixsecond.org

What mechanisms are in place to protect people from retribution?

Option to provide feedback anonymously

If other, please specify
What are the immediate benefits or incentives for people to provide feedback?

Confirmation of use of feedback

If other, please specify
How do you ensure new and marginalized voices are heard?

Other

If other, please specify

Our feedback plan connects a lot of our participants – but there is always those that will not respond, we are still evaluating

What are the incentives for the intended recipient to act on the feedback?

They understand that feedback is necessary

If other, please specify
How does the feedback mechanism close the loop with those who provided feedback in the first place?

Reports on collected information

If other, please specify
How is feedback published/transparent?

On a website

If other, please specify
Give two concrete examples of how feedback loops have brought a program or policy more in line with citizens’ desires.

Example 1 - Social Media & MNMS:
When we started our organization we had incorporated in the program that each High School MNMS Club would get a Facebook Page to share their activity and we would be able to connect all the clubs through their Facebook Pages.
It sounded like a great plan. We had good traction when the new School Clubs FB page launched but then it just fizzled out. The MNMS Leaders continued to do a lot of stuff but never shared their activity on FB.
We initiated a conference call to find out what is happening only to confirm our thoughts that depending on where the School was the Social Media popularity varied. Some were using Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook – but they were all using different Social Media sites. We realized from their feedback to try to enforce a controlled Facebook Strategy to connect the School Clubs is not what our community wanted – they wanted to use whatever Social Media platform they were used to and did not want to use FB only.
So based on that feedback we changed our strategy, allowed the schools to use their own choice of Social Media channel and report to us regularly through Survey Monkeys and Email for us to share on the main MNMS FB page. Although we are still re-evaluating our Social Media strategy our team is working on a alternative way to connect the School Clubs from across the country.

Example 2 – MNMS Events & Storytelling:
Most MNMS events are a combination of Activities, Group Play and Storytelling. At the end of the events we would hear the responses from the attendees and most of them would highlight the fun and the pleasure of the interactive games, but when we sent our the surveys a couple of days later to find out what really impacted them on a deeper level and stayed with them was hands down the story telling segment that impacted them the most!
If we had made decisions about our program not based on the feedback through surveys, but just based on face-to-face “exit” interviews of attendees we would have never realized that the storytelling portion of our events is having the greatest impact in our community.

If there was one thing you could change to increase the impact of your feedback loop, what would it be?

Since we want to collect information, images and videos. We believe the perfect feedback mechanism for youth would be a combination of Survey Monkey, You Tube and Instagram.

What are your biggest challenges or barriers in “closing the feedback loop”?

Lack of funding for feedback data collection

If other, please specify
Are you aware of The Feedback Store?

No, but I would like to be on it

What are the main uses you can envision for the Feedback Store?
What is the one thing you would most like to see changed to improve the competition process?
What are you doing to make sure that feedback providers know that they are empowered by the information they can give and that they know exactly what the information they are providing?
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