After breakfast this morning we were split into different groups to visit various educational organization sites. Me and three others got to visit Practice Makes Perfect (PMP), a nonprofit started by a Rising Leader’s alumn, Karim Abouelnaga.
PMP provides an alternative summer school structure that’s much more cost-effective and just as – if not more – educationally effective than already existing summer schools. By matching students with other students 4 years their senior who tutor and mentor them, PMP overcomes the losses in math and reading ability that students typically exhibit, instead helping them to make significant gains.
Karim started off by presenting his journey to us from his personal background all the way to where he is now, giving us tips like “create a flawless business model,” “create something that makes financial sense and which is sustainable,” and “don’t make a specific ask, but rather tell your story and ask what help they can offer.” It was all extremely beneficial and I shamelessly wrote down everything.
At the end, we opened for questions and discussion and eventually, it turned to our personal stories. One of the other girls with us opened up and shared her very personal and deeply moving story. Although she herself stated that this kind of story was no where near unique in this country, it was what was motivating her and driving her throughout the fellowship as well as to dedicate her life to addressing the problems in education. All of us connected to what she said and it was a truly inspiring start to the day. I am still very grateful she was brave enough to share her story with us.
Finally though, Karim asked us what we could take away from all of this. Although I answered him in a more practical way, it was definitely not the best time for that question. These experiences need to sit within us for some time before we can genuinely turn them into the life lessons we need to move forward. So I figured I’d answer it later on my way once everything I was experiencing these few days began to come together and make better sense.