Social impact is the effect an organization’s actions have on the well being of the community. Social Impact Projects are intended to foster more cross-disciplinary collaboration, encourage students to work within the community, and leverage their ability to benefit communities. A Social Enterprise exists to solve a social issue by combining commercial and social goals, but with an emphasis on a social mission. (From Colorado Institute for Social Impact) Monumental Impact’s goal is to enable and support high school students with an interest and passion for engineering, technology and entrepreneurship with experiences. These experiences will provided through products, services and events that benefit their student community, business community, residential community and themselves via self-improvement.
How did Monumental Impact get its Spark?
In the Fall of 2018, the Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance (PPBEA) introduced their program to Lewis Palmer School District’s (D38) Business Advisory Council. The program entails connecting businesses, schools and students with industry presentations, tours, job shadows, apprenticeships and internships. After providing a technology project internship to two D38 students in the Spring of 2019, it became clearer what was needed to provide this internship. As a home-based business and a small business, it became even more clear that my business would not be able to provide any additional internships until some enabling and supporting capabilities (Figure 1) was available from our local community, the district or PPBEA.
In the Figure above I’ve identified many of the key management and capabilities that are needed to enable my business and others in providing engineering and technology internships or projects to high schoolers. If a small business or home-based business is unable to provide these enablers, the business is less likely to take the leap. I’ll even expand on this that…if a student does not have the ability to travel the distance to the businesses with these enablers or an environment that provides these enablers, then with their current school schedules THEY will not take the leap. They will probably default to taking on a close fast food or local job that can provide them one of the other drivers in their life…money.
From a Spark to Monumental Impact
From an internship with two high schoolers interested in technology the spark turned into a WHY statement for Monumental Impact:
To enable and support high school students interested in technology, engineering and entrepreneurship with experiences and community.
But knowing how busy high school students are there would need to be a reason for them of WHY be a part of Monumental Impact? As parents and adults we know it is good for them, but their platters are full with things we know is good for them. Then the realization that if we could combine some of their desires into one, it would connect with some students and empower them to take control of their learning. A key element to Monumental Impact is providing an environment where students are empowered to make decisions as a team and follow through with projects that BOTH provide experiences AND raise funds in their combined areas of interests. A key step in providing this empowerment is giving them the space to make decisions and work on projects together (Figure 2) .
In order to work on projects together they need a physical, dedicated space. A place they can call home and that they have a choice in its direction and projects. A place that would have the capabilities mentioned earlier for engineering and technology projects. A place that they could find mentors and community partners willing to enable and support them on project team demands, technology project demands and engineering project demands. Not that the mentors are doing the work, but enabling and supporting them on how to make decisions and how to determine ways to overcome barriers in a project. Having a place for students with mentors to work together is one enabler, but unless you have a mission things will flounder and any money put into it could lose focus. This is where the Entrepreneurship Model of Monumental Impact comes into play (Figure 3).
The intent is that products, services and events provided by Monumental Impact to the community will:
- Leverage the growing technology, engineering and entrepreneurship skill sets of D38 students,
- Raise funds for afterschool programs and the capabilities of their space that enable their technology, engineering and entrepreneurial community and
- Increase awareness of the technical capabilities and contributions of students in D38.
For Students by Students
In the center of Monumental Impact are the students. The activities are defined and led by a student Business Team and student Product Development Managers collaborating with Engineering & Technology students as project teams. Projects will be scoped around products, services and / or events they want to provide under Monumental Impact.
All of these positions will be posted in the Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance (PPBEA) Marketplace as opportunities in which students apply and go through an interview process. Monumental Impact will be looking for students wanting to gain experience in leading, managing, delivering and mentoring technology and engineering projects. The first set of internships will be posted by February 7th, 2020.
Evolution of Our Home
We will be meeting in public spaces until we have a dedicated space. We are currently looking for 3,000 SF for 2020 and 10,000 SF as a long-term home. Once a dedicated space has been found, the space will evolve dependent on funding, sponsorships, grants and donations. We will be working to fill the space with office equipment, technology equipment and a fabrication environment with a broad range of tools and equipment such as CNC machines, mills and 3D printers .
Become a Mentor or Sponsor
We are building a community of individuals and organizations to fill roles as a Board of Directors, mentors, sponsors and community project partners that enable and support students for their project deliveries and their compliance with business and safety regulations. If you or your business would like to be a key role into the efforts of Monumental Impact, THANK YOU for your interest! Please contact us. We look forward to connecting with you and get you engaged with our efforts.
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We look forward to the journey as we get our first efforts underway and begin building our community partnerships!
Jeanette Breton, Founder of Monumental Impact