The Next Big Idea From Pencils of Promise Founder Adam Braun
Posted Aug 02, 2012 by Alejandro De La Cruz
Pencils of Promise founder Adam Braun is full of big ideas. His nonprofit has built 56 schools in rural communities in Laos, Nicaragua and Guatemala since 2009. Beginning this year, PoP made it a goal to hit 100 schools in these countries because education in rural areas is vitally important to the stability and growth of these communities. Last week, we were fortunate enough to chat with Adam for a few minutes and he talked to us about the value of teamwork, building community, and what his next big idea will be.
Adam believes his hardworking and talented team look for innovative ways to create community, build partnerships, and raise funds to build great schools. Yet, it was one spark and one simple beginning that kicked off success. “It was May of 2010 and I was working out of an apartment and didn’t have a staff or anything. I had just come back from opening up my third, fourth, and fifth schools. I went to a conference to meet other people and I generated buzz and people really wanted to learn more. It’s at that point I thought, ‘Wow, this is really starting to catch on.’”
Since then, Pencils of Promise has provided free education to more than 4,000 students while creating impact for 38,000 individuals across their three countries. With an army of teachers and volunteers, PoP’s team has worked tirelessly to create the most successful curriculum and programs for kids in need.
One big investment toward instituting the best curriculum is Pencils of Promise’s SHINE program, which monitors students and educates the community’s residents. As Adam explained to us, once a school opens up, SHINE — which stands for Sanitation, Hygiene, Identity, and Environment — is led by coordinators who begin educating the area’s residents about community ownership and real sustainability through education. “The SHINE program is really to help building the units for community development, tracking student performance and we’re starting to invest heavily in future training. The big idea for us is in teacher training and scholarships.”
Last month, Adam filled us in on his next great idea.
The program would provide 100 scholarships of $1,000 to individuals that would like to build a school classroom for a community in need. $500 per scholarship would go into trainings, and $500 would cover their flight to Central America to visit the exact community they’re going to be fundraising for. The end result will be 100 people who become dedicated to helping others.
That’s an idea we can all rally for. Good luck, Adam!