I sat, somewhat stupefied, as student after student 20 years my junior took the stage and gave a powerpoint presentation about problems as diverse as Darfur and melting polar ice caps, and tangible solutions they could help enact in their own community. I couldn’t help but think that my own career in the green business community would have started 10 years earlier had I only had a FLI of my own where I grew up.
Now in its fourth year, FLI has enabled more than 350 high school students from Berkeley, Albany, Oakland, Alameda and San Francisco to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others through a curriculum titled “Passion to Action.” Founder/Executive Director Eve Cowen said FLI graduates and sends 100 percent of its students to college; 15 percent are the first in their family to attend college.
The Future Leaders Institute (FLI), the Oakland-based nonprofit through which the students devise these projects, goes beyond encouraging teens to perform community service. The yearlong leadership class uniquely involves participants in launching and managing social entrepreneurship ventures.
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