We are proud of all the students that come through our doors, from the first class of 1902 to our active learners today. We would love to hear from you! Please let us know what you are doing.
Sam is now a junior at Mount Saint Mary's University double majoring in Spanish and Environmental Science. (11/2017)
Zach is a senior at Archmere, planning to study nursing in college, and a top player in Delaware's Diamond State Conference and all-state Delaware soccer team! (11/2017)
David still lives in Lansdowne. He is the chairman of the annual Darby Creek Cleanup/Darby Creek Valley Association. He is a lifelong musician, singer, guitarist and enjoys country music and music with history. "I am grateful for the music education I received from LFS." 10/17
Nolan is Metro Fellow, Office of Extraordinary Innovation at Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Read about some of what he is up to here.
Denis and I retired from teaching at Westtown School in 2015. I am delighted to be a new member of the LFS School Committee, following in my father's footsteps from many decades ago when my 5 siblings and I were all attending LFS!
Congratulations to Zinzi Clemmons on the publication of her novel, What we Lose. Be sure to google Zinzi's interview with NPR.
Monica Bunch '13 visited LFS to volunteer for Field Day 2017. Monica is finishing her sophomore year at Abington High School. Thank you, Monica!
The LFS Class of 2011 and friends gathered at LFS on Saturday to visit and reconnect with each other, former classmates and former teachers. We were thrilled to see Kyra Stetler, Emma Miller, Kennedy Whitfield, Zuri Duckett, Miko Allen and Jack Mason. We wish them well as they head off to Tyler School of Art, University of Chicago, Centenary University, American University, and Penn State!
In 4/5/17 #HumansofWharton story for Social Impact Week, Renata Aráuz-DeStefano (LFS '01)(WG ‘17) discusses why opportunity must be made universal.
You could say social impact is in my blood. My mom was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the early 80s, and my dad has spent most of his adult life both as a family therapist in low-income, Spanish-speaking North Philly and as a volunteer with the Alternatives to Violence Project in prisons from Philadelphia to Bolivia.
Prior to business school, I spent my entire career in this space, concentrating on microfinance. As a college student, I was mesmerized by the empowering nature of this sector – it wasn’t a “hand-out,” it was a hand up.
As a Product Manager with a microfinance institution in Malawi, my role was to design and implement a new credit product to serve entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid. By definition, this meant that – on an almost daily basis – I interacted with struggling business owners, most of whom were women, who aspired for more.
I’ll never forget seeing this young woman, maybe 13 or 14 years old, sitting in the sandy dirt outside the home in which her mother was meeting with me and my colleague. She sat there for hours, while our meeting went on, fidgeting with an empty water bottle: she filled it with dirt, emptied it, and refilled it.
This moment, among all others during my four years in the field, struck me. I thought of what I was doing at 14 – playing soccer, getting paid to babysit, reading The Catcher in the Rye. I thought of the opportunities that I had, that my sister had, that she didn’t. That my cousins and god-brothers and sisters in Ecuador didn’t have. This unequal distribution of opportunity, the belief that talent is universal, but opportunity is not, was what had originally led me to microfinance.
Seeing this young woman spending her afternoon in this way, I made several assumptions. One of which was that she lacked stimulating, enriching activities to occupy her time. For me, this was an illustration of some facts: first, female youth (15-24) unemployment stands at 14.8% in Malawi (over 3x the overall US rate); and second, over 70% of Malawians live on less than $2/day. The scene also reminded me that microfinance was not a panacea. Social impact, which has been defined as “a significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge,” requires combined and coordinated efforts by governments, non-profits, and for-profits. Microfinance, albeit reaching further than commercial banks, still leaves many behind. To get a loan, applicants needed to have a business. To start a business, one needs capital and a marketable skillset. This is what this young woman lacked.
That was when I knew I had to build a sustainable social enterprise in Malawi. I had to bridge this gap between potential and opportunity, between unskilled workers and microfinance clients. The question that remained was how…
Throughout the rest of my stay in Malawi, I became enchanted by the fabrics of the region. I loved their bold, bright patterns. I found a tailor who would soon become my trusted go-to seamstress. Once back in the US, I noticed that strangers would approach me to compliment me on my handmade Malawian clothing.
Finally, during a summer project in Ghana with Wharton’s Global Impact Consulting Club, the pieces started to come together. Through my experience consulting for a social enterprise, surrounded by like-minded and inspiringly passionate people, my path began to become clearer. An idea began to take shape over the summer, and I returned to campus in September determined to launch a venture that would match unskilled labor in Malawi with an unmet market need in the US for handmade, made-to-measure African print apparel.
I named my company Mwayi - the word for “opportunity” in the Malawian language of Chichewa - because I believe more than anything else that opportunity must be made universal. To me, Mwayi represents that opportunity - for young women like the one in this story to empower themselves, and for consumers like you and me to be a part of the solution.
I graduated with my MS in Nursing from University of California and am licensed as a family nurse practitioner. I'm excited to continue advocating for reproductive justice and expanding access to healthcare for underserved populations.
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