Young Entrepreneur Changes Lives One Story at a Time
Trevor, Teach Twice
Vanderbilt University student and entreprenuer Trevor is the co-founder and CEO of Teach Twice, a social venture that educates children and their communities through stories and the exchange of culture.
Why this Student Spoke Out
Trevor is interested in empowering developing communities to become profitable and sustainable in order to improve quality of life and access to opportunities.
1.Explain how Teach Twice works?
Teach Twice empowers and educates individuals around the world through stories and the exchange of culture. In our model, a single book, which is written by authors from a developing country, provides consumers with a story that shares the diversity and culture of that country. As a result, the revenues from each story are then cycled back into educational development through a community-focused approach in the country from which the story has come.
One Teach Twice book educates two individuals -- worlds apart.
2. What motivated you to start Teach Twice?
The Teach Twice model puts value on individuals and the stories they share. This has been a huge motivation for me in getting to know more people, along with getting to hear their story. It excites me to know that through Teach Twice we are able to turn each story into both a cultural education for the consumer and also a source of revenue that we can then use for educational development in the community from which the story came. Each relationship we build really inspires me in moving forward and turning this idea into a reality.
3. Why did you decide to partner with schools in Haiti and Uganda?
Jason, my co-founder, has close ties to friends in Haiti, and due to the devastation from the earthquake in January of 2010, we found it natural to place part of efforts there.
During my travel to Uganda in high school I made a friend, Paul Kabanda. Since then we have continued to grow our friendship and he has even returned a visit by coming to see me in the U.S. this year. Currently, he is our East Africa Region Director and has played a crucial role in building our network on the ground in Uganda. This has allowed us to make Uganda our source for our first stories.
4. What other areas in the world are you looking to expand Teach Twice? Currently we are making connections with Colombia, South Africa and Kenya. Our hope is to be everywhere to share culture from around the world.
5. How has Teach Twice evolved over the last year?
Our organization has transformed our nonprofit into running like a business and has also placed emphasis on relationships. While we are doing good things for education and developing communities, it is crucial to treat your organization like a business. The more structured and professional you are in moving forward, the easier it is to gain supporters and be more efficient with your resources. We have also spent much of the last year working to define who we really are and what we hope to accomplish; knowing your purpose is crucial.
6. Any words of inspiration for other young people?
All I can remind people to do is follow your heart and do not be dissuaded. When you find something you are passionate about then begin building a plan and dedicate yourself to turning it into reality. It is crucial to learn that you will face hurdles and to work on how you will respond to those obstacles. It is through our failures that we have been able to improve the Teach Twice model, and it is in moving past those failures that we have proven the importance in turning this into a reality. Even if your project does not work out in the end, the experience will be helpful in moving on to try on new and even better things.
Trevor is a student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.