3 Young Professionals Breaking the Cycle With buildOn

This week buildOn celebrated corporations Breaking the Cycle with buildOn. We want to highlight three young professionals who all involved in buildOn for different reasons. What they share in common is they’re building schools in developing countries (Nepal, Haiti and Malawi) next year!

buildOn San Francisco Young Professionals: Rebecca Phillips

Rebecca made the move to San Francisco from Boston four years ago. She was content working in public relations for Accuray Inc., a Bay Area healthcare company, but she wanted to use her professional skills to do good. “I secretly always wanted to be a teacher,” she explains, so she started looking for volunteer opportunities with children. She discovered buildOn after doing some research,and started using her professional skills to help promote the Bay Area’s annual buildOn Dinner to the media.

Fast-forward to last year: buildOn’s San Francisco Young Professionals Board came together in full effect, and it became the group Rebecca envisioned being a part of. “Four years ago, when I joined, not one person in San Francisco knew about buildOn,” Rebecca says. “Now all my friends know about it, and I have this group that reaches all different groups across the city.” Rebecca volunteered with buildOn students twice this summer, and participated in buildOn’s first Global Chapter Conference.

Now Rebecca is supporting buildOn in another capacity: she’s raising money to build a school in Nepal with a group of other professionals she hasn’t met. Her goal is to reach $5,000 – and at $4,300, she’s nearly there! Learn more about Rebecca’s campaign.

School in Memory of Jeannot campaign: Howard Jean-Denis

In 2009, Howard Jean-Denis’ father, Jeannot, passed way. Howard – a Haitian-American from Boston – went to Haiti after his father’s death to “obtain emotional closure,” and to experience the culture of his father’s country. He visited his aunt in Port-au-Prince who wasn’t able to attend Jeannot’s funeral. Unfortunately, Howard didn’t have enough time to visit his father’s hometown in Les Cayes. A few months later, the earthquake of 2010 hit Haiti. Tragically, Howard’s aunt was one of many who died from the wreckage.

“I have longed to return since then and come back in a way that will bring love and measurable impact to the people there,” wrote Howard in an email. These events prompted Howard, along with four others, to raise money to build a school in Les Cayes, a city in the southeast side of the island that his father referred to as paradise. “This is the next step in the journey.”

The group wants to raise $45,000, which covers the cost of the school and an 18-month long education program sponsored by buildOn. The team’s goal is to break ground on the school next fall. Learn more about the School in Memory of Jeannot campaign.

buildOn D.C. chapter: Alexis Nadin

Washington D.C. is filled with passionate young professionals working for nonprofits and advocacy organizations – an ideal location for a buildOn chapter. buildOn’s D.C. chapter is made up of eight young professionals who want to improve the city’s education system. The chapter’s objective is to identify high school students who want to build a school in a developing country with buildOn.

“D.C.’s population is one of he most economically disenfranchised: Only 58 percent of students graduate from high school,” says Alexis Nadin, Co-President of the group. She wants to spread awareness about the city’s low graduation rate, and the fact that many dropouts are struggling with teen pregnancy and poverty. By sending students to build schools overseas, the group believes youth will feel empowered to break the cycle of low expectations once they realize they have opportunities to do more.

The chapter volunteers at D.C.’s public schools and with the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project. Take a look at some of the group’s service photos on its Facebook page. Next year buildOn D.C. will establish partnerships with more schools, and will send six students to Malawi during summer 2013 with the $36,000 they’re raising. Learn more about the buildOn D.C. campaign.

Be the catalyst for change in people’s lives and their world. Help change the world by empowering children, parents and grandparents. Make a donation to our Breaking the Cycle campaign today and help us build a school in Malawi and fund an afterschool program for inner-city youth! Interested in joining or starting a chapter? Learn more about our buildOn Chapters here.