From Dane . . .

My initial response to this question was that the description sounded
intriguing, and that it would probably be a good opportunity to be
with some like-minded kids that are filled with BYU zeal to engage in
social innovation. But, then I had to step back to think of why I am
really taking the class.

For some reason, from a young age I was always interested in serving
the very disadvantaged as well as experiencing the rest of the world.
When I was 17 I was able to fundraise enough to be able to travel with
an organization to serve the people living in the slums of Nairobi,
Kenya. It was here that I met some of the most amazing people I had
ever met in my life. They were a testament to the resilience of the
human spirit as they were often so kind and happy despite the dismal
circumstances they were living in. But, there was also needless
suffering happening, and a severe lack of opportunity for these
wonderful people to more fully realize their potentials. It was this
experience that set me on a path determined to work towards greater
social equality for those living in poverty.

Since this event, I have had a little more experience and learned
enough to know that solving intractable social issues is a complex and
sensitive process. It seems that there is far too much development
work that has produced failure and mediocre impact. Despite this, I
also know that there are ideas, solutions, and individuals that have
made huge impacts on the lives of many.

At this point, I’m just trying to understand the process of being able
to really make a difference and what works. I know some of my skills
and interests, but I’m not totally sure what my niche will be. So, I
took this class as another step in helping me work towards realizing
my desire of making real, positive impact for those living in poverty.