Wildfire Fall 2016
I took a social entrepreneurship class called Designing Ventures to Change the World in which my group addressed the summer acheivement gap for low income students in urban areas. We crafted a pitch for a summer program called Wildfire for low income middle school girls in Chicago. During the program, the girls would participate in project based learning to the betterment of their own communities. We wrestled with challenges in financial sustainability, institutional education, and disadvantaged populations. I worked with two other women on a rather self-directed team and learned to be comfortable in ambiguity as we spent a long time in the brainstorming stage.
We spent a lot of time ideating, trying to find a solution for our target audience. By defining and visualizing the people we wanted to serve, we were better able to design a program that they would actually want to be a part of. We played around with ideas like making a community-building app for girls with a theme of revolution in order to access the girls through a medium that was familiar to them without requiring too much financial commitment from them.
I went to Philadelphia to visit students at a project-based learning high school, hoping to gain a better understanding of what drives these girls and what kinds of experiences they would be interested in. I also interviewed girls in the homeschool co-op I teach at, and these conversations were vital to the development of Wildfire. Watch clips from my interviews in the video below!
The "Matchbook": A Prototype
In addition to our video pitch (shown below), I made a prototype of a workbook to explain the curriculum of the program. Girls would receive the "Matchbook" in the beginning of the program to help them follow along with the themes and record their thoughts.
The "Matchbook": The Curriculum
Using language of fire, I divided the 4 week program into themes: Ignite, Burn, Blaze, and Illuminate. These relate to the progress and impact of the ideas the girls would develop collaboratively during the program. For example, the Ignite stage would be the first week, where girls tackled local issues and brainstormed solutions, igniting a spark of an idea. This loosely follows the methodology of design thinking and encourages entrepreneurial leadership in young women.
The "Matchbook": Activities
Within each theme/tab, there is space for planned exercises and free writing. One such activity is to storyboard your concept, helping the girls to visualize, develop and ultimately communicate their ideas.