This is a post by Deputy Director, Julia Perelman.
So much to share, such limited space. Quite the conundrum we are in! But here at CLI we LOVE challenges, so let’s see if we can make it work.
First and foremost, all of us here at CLI want to recognize one of our awesome team members who is retiring from CLI, Jason Ricciardi. We would like to extend our gratitude to him for all his hard work! CLI’s success over the past three years is a true testament to both the power of teamwork and the amazing difference that a motivated individual can make. For the past ten months, CLI has been fortunate to have one of the rare people talented enough to make a difference alone and humble enough to be a part of the team on board. Though he will be leaving us for new opportunities this week, we would like to take a moment to appreciate the efforts of Jason Ricciardi.
When he first came to us and described how interested he was to volunteer in Kinshasa with our team, we were nearly as surprised as we were excited. Nevertheless, by mid-summer, Jason was in Congo working side-by-side with CLI’s facilitators. It would have been amazing enough for him to do so with a full salary, but when you consider that his efforts were entirely on a volunteer basis, Jason’s character truly shines through. His tangible accomplishments include the compilation of CLI’s curriculum as well as the enduring success of the young leaders he has inspired in Kinshasa.
We are proud to have worked with Jason and wish him all the best in his endeavors moving forward!
Moving forward, we have lots of exciting news to share from on the ground in the DRC. Our young leaders are working as hard as ever to hone in on their leadership skills and CLI has a number of workshops coming up to help them do it. Last week, many of our young leaders met in Baraka for a unified conference (Check out our Facebook page for inside pictures and stories from the event). Next week there will be a leadership workshop in Uvira, followed by another workshop in Goma on February 16th, and another in Kinshasa on the 23rd. Stay on the lookout for pictures and news from all our workshops as they happen. On a similar note, CLI is launching an exclusively female workshop in Kinshasa at the beginning of April. We are very excited for its potential and will update you on how it goes.
For those who like to read into the future (literally), we have some crazy updates that we think you’ll enjoy. Since it’s founding, CLI has promoted its curriculum with a limited number of students in the DRC. To ensure that our model was effective, we tried to keep our participants at around 100 students. After extensive data collection, analyzation, and many many tests, we are proud to share that the curriculum is more effective than we could have dreamed. Since this confirmation, we have been working to readily increase our presence and size in the DRC. Now, we get to go ballistic! By the end 2013, we plan have at least 500 young leaders in our institutes. We know it’s a crazy challenge, but we are already rolling and won’t stop until we hit the top!
But wait! We can’t do this alone! We need your help to make this the best experience possible for our hard-working young leaders. How, you might ask? Well, it’s super easy! If you have been staying connected to us via social media, you’ll know that we recently launched our #RethinkCharity campaign. We want to trash the notion of ‘donating’, crush the concept of ‘charity’, and blow your minds with the simple and effective vision of ‘investing’ because that’s what you are really doing when you support CLI’s young leaders in the DRC. You are investing in them and in their futures. And right now, it’s more important than ever to make an investment as we continue to expand quickly! And, it probably doesn’t hurt that you can do it right now! Honestly, you don’t even have to move. No seriously, don’t get up. Just go to www.congoleaders.org to invest in a young leader right now! Also, don’t forget to continue staying with us for the next few weeks by sharing your impact stories and engaging in conversations with other’s about the DRC through our Facebook page and Twitter!
Well, that’s all for now pals!