Teen Voices at SVP Annual Conference

Faduma Warsame addressing the SVP audience
When Social Venture Partners (SVP), an international network of engaged philanthropists with affiliates in 25 cities in the US, Canada and Japan, held its annual conference in Minneapolis in mid-October and wanted its partners to learn from a few non-profits making a difference in the Twin Cities community, planners didn't have far to turn to find Genesys Works.  The ties between SVP and Genesys Works run deep, with GW Executive Director, Jeff Tollefson, being an active SVP partner and member of the board of directors of Social Venture Partners International.  So when the request came in to create an interactive session with SVP partners as part of the conference agenda, Jeff knew just what to do - turn it over to a few Genesys Works students and have them develop and deliver the program themselves.  And deliver, they did.

The resulting session was called "Teen Voices - Finding Success Amidst Adversity" and involved 12 Genesys Works students who not only shared personal experiences, but led roundtable discussions with SVP partners from around the country in four separate discussion groups.  The four discussion themes, each facilitated by three GW young professionals, were:

1)  Immigrants in America: What helps an immigrant to be successful in this country?
2)  Education: How can our education system be improved?
3)  Higher Education and the Workforce: How can we lead more urban students to
     college and build a more diverse professional workforce?
4)  Poverty: How do students overcome poverty to achieve success?

The roundtable discussions were engaging, educational and impactful for all involved.  SVP partners not only learned a great deal from our students, but were eager to put this knowledge to work in their own communities as they returned home.  For the 12 amazing young men and women of Genesys Works that led these discussions (Faduma Warsame, Ali Ibrahim, Pa-Loo Lor, Tha Da Loo, Xai Ly, Muluka Omar, PaNa Vang, Michael Xiong, Cheng Xiong, Jennifer Vang, Justin Mitchell, and Raymond Perez-Rivera), this provided a great opportunity to further develop and polish their leadership and professional communication skills.  And for the Genesys Works staff members in attendance, it provided yet another moment where they could look back in awe at the incredible capabilities and accomplishments of our students.  Bravo!

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