Pets for Colonials

By: Sofia Durrani

According to studies, suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students behind alcohol-related unintentional injuries.  The number one cause of suicide for college student suicides is untreated depression. Taking the steps to seeking help for depression, anxiety or general academic stress would be a positive step in improving student life. My commitment focuses on student mental health at GW.   As a graduate student at GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health I recognize that student life can be stressful at times. The semester ebbs and flows with finals and midterms usually being more stressful times of the years than others. Having someone to talk to can help a lot or a little, but it certainly can’t hurt.

I noticed that the GW Colonial Health Center is a busy place during the week especially during walk in hours (Mon-Thursday from 10-3PM. There’s usually a wait time of at least 15-20 minutes for mental health walk in appointments. Since more students use the counseling services when they are stressed out already I thought up the idea of Pets for Colonials. This service would be a way for college students to interact with pets (cats or dogs) on campus during the week. I wanted these therapy pets to be situated in or near the student health center waiting area. Student would be able to hang out with them while they wait for their medical or counseling. I wanted to focus on decreasing the negative stigma surrounding visiting college counseling services. I hope to work with the Colonial Health Center staff to see logistically how to make this feasible. After talking with several students, I have only received positive feedback. The barriers to making this service a reality would be working around potential pet allergies and any fears students may have of pets. I hope to collect feedback from students through a survey to see if this is a service they would want continue or enhanced.

During my weekend at CGI U I met a number of amazing students with much more ambitious ideas. Not only was I able to get feedback about my commitment but also network with students from other schools about potential practicum projects. It was also a great way to meet other current GWU students who I hadn’t met on campus. I even made a good friend, Ibrahima Kane, who is an online MPH student. Most likely we never would have crossed paths if it wasn’t for CGI U. I was fortunate enough to be speaking with the winner of the Resolution Project, Tomas Otoniel from Guatemala when he found out his “Gimme 5, Let’s Do More” project won! It was such a pleasure to witness him jump up for joy when he received the email. His project focuses on special education needs of the youth of Sumpango, Guatemala. Overall, the weekend wasn’t long enough. A day and a half wasn’t enough time to meet everyone I wanted while attending the workshops and seminars. I am still so grateful for the opportunity to attend CGI U and hope to return next year.


Helping Homeless Youth

By: Nancy Mannebach

When I was sixteen, I left home and I found myself in a position where I had no resources; no resources to learn and no resources to achieve opportunities that I once had. I came from a decently well-off family, vacations to the time-shares and summer homes almost periodically through the year, new phones and laptops every time they debuted. I lost track of the nannies I had growing up. I cried on my eighth birthday for having 18 presents instead of breaking the solid 20.

Amidst all this childhood spoiling, my parents were divorcing by the time I graduated middle school; my father was slowly slipping from sobriety, and my mother, with the help of the financial crisis in 2008, suffered from bipolar disorder that ripped my family apart. The home I knew once started turning into a dangerous place of abuse, neglect, and violence. There are now times I remember blocking out from childhood like a broken rib at age 9 when I got hit with a wooden bat for leaving the sink faucet on , an oven burn on my hand when I let my younger brother fall and scrape his knee. My mother broke my nose when I was fourteen for forgetting to turn off the light upstairs. To this day, all I can remember was how much blood there was…everywhere. Some days were fine, others not so much. When my mom changed the locks on the doors one night as I was coming back home from work, it was a tragedy and a blessing in disguise. As hard as being a child in my home was, I’m not ungrateful for it. I received many opportunities that many few in the world had and for that I can truly credit my circumstances.

When I left home, I couldn’t afford to go to school; I transferred out of Catholic school where my parents paid the tuition into the public school system. But even then I couldn’t afford to go simply because time in school meant time not getting paid, and not getting paid didn’t mean I couldn’t afford the newest clothing line anymore, it meant I didn’t eat. Suddenly the people I once knew wanted nothing to do with me.

I worked hard, some days skipping the not required classes and working 18 hours a day, 100+ hours a week some weeks. Minimum wage, paid internships, local temp jobs, anything I could do I did. Working for a car to get around in, working for money to pay college fees, working for something as little as paying for cap and gown. All of these experiences have defined me.

My commitment is to provide homeless youth with the opportunities necessary to learn the skills they need to move forward; not to go to college, not to find a job, but to simply move forward. The problem was no that I wasn’t capable of doing great things, I just was too preoccupied for making daily ends meet, that by the time it was one-o-clock in the morning and I was pulling into the drive way after closing out the pub, I couldn’t think about a future. Only the five am alarm I had set in the morning to pull a shift at the local grocery store before school.

I started my 501 (c) non-profit organization in 2013, a year and a half after I moved out of my home. Along with friends from a conference I attended, a first year law-student, and a social worker out in Utah, we combined teams and started fundraising for the first time. Our profit generating service was conducting lectures in high schools and on college campuses for a mere couple hundred dollars from PTA donations. I transferred my nonprofit over to a Board of Trustees in the Youth Development Sector of the UN last August. In conjunction with UN Women, I now work with them as a youth activist and a youth NGO consultant, where hundreds of youth around the world Skype in and we talk about initiatives and steps to continue their ideas.

I was invited to CGIU in 2013 to speak on behalf of the Initiative (TARI) and I am so humbled to have been invited back every year since. Last year I encountered financial difficulty with GW, but I have been very grateful since then, including the opportunity this year to network and meet potential global-commitment makers. Already, I travel to so many cities across the U.S. to share my vision of opportunity and I am so happy to have shared this moment with fellow GW students.

As for the conference itself…I was disappointed. This is the 38th conference I have gone to in my life, not repeating organizations-and I have audited many before. In this way, I have learned about different ways of thinking and work ethic. CGIU’s first problem is that there’s too many of us. Not that there can ever be too many commitment makers, but there are too many options available at the conference. It should not be labeled as a conference because it is not, it is more of a gathering, and is more so experienced as a publicity stunt. Many break out session were relevant, none touched into the deeper expertise of what financial modeling for your commitment should look like, what long term sustainable factors should be incorporated to make sure your cause exists five, ten years from now, or much less networking sessions to find others. The entire program is very built off a “you gain from what you put in” type of mentality and for that, only the persistent win. I have made many connections to which now I have a couple boosted numbers on LinkedIn, and a couple more friends on Facebook but altogether, the skills that I felt those around me learned were not enough to boost some of the amazing ideas these kids offered. In the future, I would love to look into the Clinton Foundation as an organization and perhaps be a part of their team.

My favorite moment will have had to be a late night at the hotel talking with some of the most intelligent people I have talked to in a while about future goals and plans and ideas, and its not so much what they say but how they say it. No matter which issue the cause addresses, it will never cease to amaze me the way people light up and speed up their pronunciation when they get excited about an idea. So for me, there is no “aha” moment or one particular speakers that stood out. But from the Freshman at Duke inventing the Cloud to Cancer to the boy who just a year ago started to Kickstarter his idea of an exercise machine under a desk, I was inspired by the passion everyone had to make the world better.

Family Night at the Perry School

By: Max Grossman

Three months into running Family Night at the Perry School, myself, my awesome team members Megan and Kristen, and our partner organization Little Friends for Peace have put on three very special events for the Perry School afterschool program’s students and parents. So far, the experience has proven both promising and challenging. The promise lay in family night’s cooperative activities and communal meals ability cultivated what I’ve seen as a culture of peace and engagement with one another within the program’s families. However family night has manifested a glaring challenge, that despite our best efforts, a number of our peace students’ families have not yet joined us for our monthly gatherings. Engaging these family members might be beyond the scope of family nights, or the events’ timing, or activities might be the most engaging for those who have yet to come. Nevertheless, the Family Night team and I will continue to use a combination of flyers, group text messages out to parents/guardians, and most importantly consideration of the feedback we receive from families about the events to try and make the gathering as welcoming, available, and attractive for our families.

In other Family night related news, Megan and I both had the awesome opportunity to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University gathering at the University of Miami! CGIU was a wonderful experience – we both had the opportunity to work on our 30 second pitches (always a useful exercise), build close relationships with our fellow GW commitment makers, make connections with commitment makers from around the country and world, and, most importantly learn from experienced social entrepreneurs and world leaders like the one and only Bill Clinton. Nonetheless, I took away two key lessons from CGIU: First being that before attending a conference like CGIU that attracts so many capable social innovators – those both new to and quite experienced in the field – it is best to make an action plan of who it is you want to meet and come up with strategies of what it is you want to learn from them. Otherwise, CGIU can become a bit overwhelming, and you may not leave the feeling like you met a whole bunch of awesome people, but are not totally sure what it is that you learned. The second bit of wisdom I took away came from Roger Horne – Director of Environmental Programming atTACOLCY Center, a community youth center in Liberty City, and Director of Community Health Initiatives for Urban Green Works, an organization the provides food security programs in South Florida’s low income communities.  During the session during a breakout session about revitalizing cities with Green Space, Roger told the audience that community-engagement projects, like family night, need to be so well planned and effective in achieving goals – those of which also need to actually address the issues important to the community – that the programs eventually are self sustaining to a degree that commitment makers’ are no longer necessary, and communities are able to address issues themselves. I found that to be extremely powerful, and certainly a bit of knowledge that I will carry with me as move forward in planning future Family Nights, and quite frankly, forever.

Peer Health Education Network

By: Kirsten Dimovitz & Brooke Staveland

My team’s trip began at 3am on Friday March 6th when we walked out into the freezing cold dressed for the Miami weather. My best friend and team partner, Brooke Staveland, ordered us a super shuttle to make the long trek to BWI, something we were initially annoyed about, but later became very grateful for our decision. Other Spring Breakers from GW accompanied us in the shuttle and we drove off.

Upon arriving at BWI, we met up with a fellow commitment maker. We pushed through our exhaustion and commiserated about the earliness, lack of sleep, and terrible coffee. Our flight left at 6:45, and two hours later I could see the ocean. Once we got off the plane, we had the task of navigating our way to the Miami airport because we landed in Fort Lauderdale. As we were trying to find the shuttle to take us the Tri-Train, our third team member Ryan called, and relayed the news. Flights from Reagan were all delayed, and he didn’t know when he would be able to get to Miami.

Three shuttle rides and a train ride later, we arrived at our hotel, exhausted from our brief one hour of sleep, we passed out. We awoke to get ready for the student networking reception, and soon we were on the CGI U bus headed for the University of Miami.

After the networking session, we went to the opening event. I was excited to see Bill again, but while he was inspiring, this anticipation paled against what we were able to take away from the event. So much of our anxiety about our commitment was focused on raising money for the required trip to India. We had applied for every scholarship possible, but thus far, we had only secured $455 out of the cost of four team members’ plane tickets. The opening session reinforced the importance of completing our commitments. Brooke and I realized that no matter if we could get to India in person or not, we could complete our own commitment. So, we decided to get out of our own way and innovate around the travel problem. The whole bus ride back to our hotel we brainstormed ways to complete our commitment. Finally, arriving at the hotel, we decided if we could not obtain the money to India, we would bring our commitment online, and harness the power of technology to educate students in northern India.

The next day, Brooke and I attended the Big Data opening seminar and the public health break out events. At the first event, we were blown away by the work of the young student who founded Cloud4Cancer. At first we felt a tad bit small and inadequate, but as we reflected on the event we began thinking of ways to capitalize on big data. These pre-concept ponderings followed us to the Globalization of Non Communicable Disease seminar, where we met the CEO and co-founder of Novo Nordisk, Phil Southerland. From him and his fellow panelists, we learned about the rising importance of non-communicable diseases. Brooke traveled to our pilot location before and saw the issues of sanitation and feminine hygiene. But after talking, with Phil and others, we were thinking about harnessing both big data for our analysis of disease and specifically including more information on diabetes and indoor air pollution.

At the second public health event, we met Dina Borzekowsk, a biostatistician, professor, and world traveler. Her thoughts on education, especially that of youth in developing countries, became an integral part of our commitment’s plan moving forward. Her work on evaluating public health, and child’s learning motivated us to develop some kind of metric for our commitment, where we discover if and how much our students are learning and changing their behaviors.

That night Brooke and I were able to sit in the front row, to see Hillary and Chelsea discuss the No Ceilings Project. We were so close, we thought we could run up to the stage and shake her hand, but for some odd reason, security didn’t seem to approve of that plan. However, the next day, during our service, I was able to snag a picture with Bill Clinton, through persistence, perseverance, and maybe some annoyance. That day was especially beneficial, because I met two girls I plan to learn from, collaborate with, and become closer friends with. One was from Haiti and is working on empowering women financially, the other from India and working on sexual violence. Both girls communicated the hardships they faced pursuing their commitments. People in their commitment communities and their local areas consistently told them they were not good enough, shouldn’t be doing their projects, and would never succeed.  I also met a future partner for another CGI U commitment; as a student at AS and an electrical engineer, we both share a passion for biomedical technology and the developing world. I’m excited to see where our passions take us.

The weekend overall was eye opening on so many levels. We reinvented ourselves numerous times, and learned countless ways to improve our project as well as ways to make sure we follow through with it in any form.

Project Phoenix

By: Soizic Hagege

Our commitment is about providing a holistic model for transitional housing for ex-con youth. The goal is to create a social venture, a café, where ex-cons will work and live in the building, while the profits are used to finance various types of training and assistance programs for them.

CGI U was a great opportunity to network with students from all over the world that were doing something to change the world. The event was exciting since we knew we’d not only get to see the Clintons but also peace noble price awardees, the Pussy Riot and Larry Wilmore. Working and skills sessions were well-designed and allowed each student to focus on what they wanted to. I had the chance to discuss the specific role and potential of women in peace-building and to meet Abigail E. Disney, the producer of ‘Pray the devil back to hell’.

No Woman Left Behind

By: Ibrahima Kane

My commitment: Every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and 99% of these maternal deaths occur in developing countries. Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is the leading cause of this high maternal mortality. In Senegal the maternal mortality rate is 329 per 100000 women. Home delivery and delivery at maternity hubs in villages are the main cause of hemorrhage of post-partum and maternal mortality. In order to address this issue in developing countries, No Woman Left Behind will train traditional and auxiliary midwives to use misoprostol (a cheap, thermo-stable, effective, easy to use (orally or rectally) synthetic prostaglandin that causes the contraction of the uterus and prevent it from bleeding after delivery). The NWLB trainees will go through a daylong program using PPT, dummies, and brochures (in the local languages) and provide them with samples of misoprostol so they can use it when they help pregnant women to delivery at home. I will train trainers who will be essentially medical student volunteers. These trainers will train other traditional and auxiliary midwives on an ongoing manner from the rural community of Diender (19 villages) to the rest of Senegal and eventually to the rest of the developing countries. With a budget of less than $6100 I will train every year more than 2000 women who will delivery vital and needed health care to their community. This care is really needed. For example, in the rural community of Diender, they have only three midwives for 19 villages. These women (trainees) will use the competences for all the rest of their lifetime and will transmit it to the younger generation.’ In Africa whenever “an elder dies, a library burns down’’ because knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation. With the same budget I will train a traditional midwife to use misoprostol and provide her 6  samples of misoprostol for only $3.05.

What motivated me? I was born and grew up in a small village (Diender) in Senegal. In my village, women give birth at home with the help of elderly women or traditional midwifes. My own mother gave birth at home to all her twelve children. As a young man I thought it was normal for women to give birth at home because I didn’t know anyone else that gave birth in a hospital.  After my primary school years, I move to the capital city Dakar to continue my education because Diender didn’t have a middle school. Moving to the city I started to realize that it was not normal. After my high school, I went to Morocco to study medicine and I realized that these women are risking their life every time when they give birth at home. Finally, after my second year of medical school, I came back home for vacation to visit my parents. My mother asked if I remembered one young woman who lived near our house, and I said yes. She told she passed away after she gave birth because she was bleeding a lot. She added: “Anyway, it is the God’s desire”. In my country and in most parts of the developing world, people attribute almost everything to God, especially when they are not able to do something about it. Since I was in medical school, I realized that that young healthy woman certainly died from a hemorrhage of postpartum because she gave birth at home without any medical. I told myself that if the hemorrhage of postpartum could be easily avoided or handled when it happens, then something needs to be done. That is why I decided to use my knowledge, my energy, and my resources to save more than thousands of women lives.

Next steps? My next step is to look for funds in order to implement my project. I have the opportunity to write the whole project from the beginning to the end. I have already done my interviews with potential stakeholders in Senegal. The project is still in competition for the D-Prize that may fund it.

Experience at CGI U: I was thrilled to be highlighted among the 1,100 students participating. About a dozen projects were highlighted in the plenary sessions, in total: I was mentioned at 00:40 (40 seconds into video). I had a chance to share my experience with the GW today reporter and she summarized my experience in these words.

Ibrahima Kane, a graduate student in the Milken Institute School of Public Health, was another student to be highlighted in the plenary and one such inspiring peer. In Dr. Kane’s home country of Senegal, more than 40 percent of women give birth at home with the help of traditional midwives. Postpartum bleeding is a major cause of maternal mortality. With his project, No Woman Left Behind, Dr. Kane plans to create a structure of education and distribution that will teach these midwives to use misoprostol—a cheap, effective and durable medication classified as “essential” by the World Health Organization—to help save their charges’ lives.

CGI U, he said, “was incredible.”

I am disABLE

By: Nicole Miller

Conversations with my sister were the driving force behind my commitment to action. As a pediatric physical therapist, she knows first hand the struggles her children’s families face. Battles with insurance companies, school systems and public transportation are daily challenges for her patients. I was appalled by the lack of resources, the fight for necessary assistance and even with my own lack of understanding towards people with disabilities. The necessity of empathy and understanding, along with a conversation with Melanie Fedri, Coordinator of GWupstart Social Innovation Lab, compelled me to lead I AMdisABLE.

I AM disABLE is a weeklong tolerance awareness campaign for students and faculty with disabilities at The George Washington University. I AM disABLE seeks to educate the university family on proper etiquette and terminology to use while cohabitating with persons with disabilities. The campaign will participate in the Inside Out Project, a global participatory art project. Through sizeable portraits displayed on campus, I will highlight students and faculty’s personality over their diagnosis. In addition, there will be a week-long rally where students can pledge to cease the use of derogatory terms, such as retarded, and a DSS Speaker Bureau forum, where students can hear first hand the daily struggles of students and faculty’s work, school and social lives.

Ironically, my greatest challenge, right now, is finding students and faculty with disabilities to participate. I am a graduate student, who works a full-time job and attends classes at the Alexandria Graduate Education Center in Virginia. Being that the university, understandably, cannot directly give me the necessary information, I am using my creatively driven detective skills to find participants. Thankfully, I am not alone in this quest, as I have received support from GW Disability Support Services. Searching for participants allows me to create a personable relationship with the students and faculty I meet, which will make this campaign even more valuable.

Being completely transparent, while I AM disABLE allows me to combine all of my superpowers, advertising, publishing and non-profit style social awareness, I was overwhelmed and doubtful of my ability to pull something of this magnitude off. Even my travels to CGI U were rocky and bleak, thanks to Mother Nature’s unexpected snowy fury. Once I finally arrived in Miami, my fears seem to dissipate, just like the icicles attached to my luggage. CGI U was more than I could have ever expected. The kindness and obvious zeal each student had towards creating a better world was infectious and inspiring. My rocky travels caused me to miss most of the conference, but the sessions I was fortunate enough to attend, definitely changed my life.

At the Women at the Negotiating Table session, I was blessed to walk away with a golden nugget from a table visit with Mirsad “Miki” Jacevic. “We create culture! Inclusion creates a new culture!” Such a simple statement, but it holds such a strong presence in many aspects of my life. Aside from my commitment being driven by the shear factor, I am also a living example of inclusion, being an African American woman in search of social change. My absolute highlight of CGI U, and the confirmation of the necessity of I AM disABLE, was meeting Ria Gasaway, a junior at Iowa State University.

I traveled to CGI U solo and missed the opportunities to meet the fellow GDubb CGI U’ers, due to night classes. I was standing at a table devouring my first meal of the day, at 7 p.m., when Ria walked over and began to chat. Answering the infamous questions of the day, I shared my commitment with Ria. Unbeknownst to me, Ria was disabled. Physically, she was a beautiful young “normal” African American woman. Mentally, her ability to learn was quite “different.”

She shared her story with me of living with Visual Motor Deficiency.  Visual Motor Deficiency affects the understanding of information that a person sees, or the ability to draw or copy. She shared her educational struggles and her fight of being tested during her adolescent years. In our culture, disabilities are often ignored or cited as ignorance or acting out. Her struggles of making people understand that her ability to miss subtle differences in shapes or printed letters would cause her to lose her place frequently. Thus, making her ability to retain information, that much harder. Her daily schedule certainly put all of my poorest days to shame. Her story and attending CGI U were the confirmation to me, that it is time for these stories to be heard.  I just so happen to be the lucky gal who gets to deliver them.

Words Unlimited

By: Liana Sherman

I will begin first by implementing a program at my university in order to provide international students attending The George Washington University with the opportunity to benefit from earning money while living in a foreign country. This would help them find the means to afford attending school as well as offer the chance to obtain impressive work experience and be published as a translator and/or editor. By beginning with students that are studying in the United States, I will be able to demonstrate to the authors that there is a legitimate base of students that are easily accessible to communicate with. Then, when the international students graduate and return to their native countries, I will offer them the opportunity to continue working for Words Unlimited. Additionally, I will ask that the former students establish a branch of my venture at the universities of his or her nation. This will enable me to not only be able to achieve my goal of helping international students in their own distinct countries but also develop a strong foundation for the growth of my venture abroad by having an ‘alumni’ or experienced student head or start the branch. Moreover, this will expand my access to international students and add to the number of students that will benefit and be able to assist in the translating and editing of literary works. It will work because the international students that return to their native countries will have already had training by me in the United States. Strengths and unique aspects of my proposed solution include that it will enable my social venture to grow and have someone to train those in foreign countries. Also, the larger the number of individuals who are trained and able to translate and edit, the faster and more efficient works can be finished. Additionally, having a base in the foreign nation that is familiar with the writing will provide individuals who can promote the sales to the new market. This gives the original authors free publicity and additional exposure.

Potential risks that will affect my social venture’s success include if the translated literary work does not generate as much revenue as desired. I will work to prevent this from happening by utilizing the international connections to promote and advertise as much as possible the writings. Another challenge my venture will need to overcome is the question of whether to publish the translated editions on paper as well as electronically, because having the works printed poses the additional concerns on where to print them, ship them and distribute them. My venture will overcome this by first publishing the literary works electronically. By measuring the market demand for the works, Words Unlimited will assess whether or not it will be economically productive to offer the works on print. Treating each work as an individual assessment will increase my venture’s credibility and success rate as well as provide more likelihood for success. An additional risk that will affect my social venture’s success is the chance that self-published writers will be apprehensive about having their works translated by university-level students. I will attempt to prevent this situation by ensuring that the international students who will be doing the actual translating and editing are properly trained and that each initial translation undergoes significant review and editing in order to ensure a high quality of the finished product.

With regards to my experience at Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), it was an extraordinary experience that I found valuable and memorable. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to present my project at the CGI U Exchange Networking Event. This forum provided me the chance to share my venture idea, practice my pitch, and engage in discussion my commitment and answer thought-provoking questions. Two specific “aha” moments include my office hours with Donnel Baird and with Loretta Mayer. They were inspirational individuals within their specific fields and I gained insight into what success requires. Overall, this experience was worthwhile and I look forward to fully launching my commitment within the next two years!

I love oatmeal–specifically steel cut oats, my nutritious, delicious, low-cost breakfast. One Friday night on my way home, I remembered I needed more for tomorrow’s breakfast and I deviated from my usual shopping venue (the Whole Foods conveniently located next to GWU’s Foggy Bottom Campus) and instead, ventured into a different, large grocery chain, in a different part of the city. To my dismay, the store did carry steel cut oats—only instant oats, or rolled oats varieties. This wouldn’t do—and got me thinking—where do people in this part of DC go to get their steel cut oats?! Maybe they don’t eat steel cut oats? Do they not eat steel cut oats because they don’t like them? Because they can’t find them? Because they can’t afford them?

Serving Low-income Families in the DC area

By: Victoria Gosalvez

My Clinton Global Initiative commitment to action falls under the category of poverty alleviation. The goal is to provide beauty products and services to lower income families in lower income communities. My philosophy is that these products and services which sometimes can not be afforded by families in the DC area are essential to providing confidence and creating happiness. This increased confidence can then stretch to improve socioeconomic standing through the job market. The first part of my plan is creating a drive to gain these products and services for distribution and use. Then I hope to partner with a nearby community organization and possibly beauty or vocational school to provide a day or two of free and open services for the community. Thus far I am mostly in the planning stages but I have been volunteering with the Transitional Housing Corps. I am trying to build a relationship with this group so that in the long run I may be able to partner with them. The challenge I had been facing at first was simply finding partners and getting started. As a lone commitment maker the task can seem very intimidating. However, through CGI U I was fortunate to meet with other group of commitment makes I may be able to partner with. The group were two girls who are working with a nonprofit they already established called “A Fresh Start” which partners with business like hotels and stores to get unused beauty products to donate to homeless shelters and community center. This group was very interested in partnering with me and expanding their vision to DC and to include some of my own ideas and goals. I am working to reach out to them and hopefully build a connection and start working together in the coming weeks. I am so fortunate to have been able to go to the CGI U conference in Miami and meet so many great people and driven commitment makers such as the group I hope to work with.