Caritas for Social Entrepreneurs

The Caritas Scholars Program and Social Entrepreneurship Lab aims to inspire the next generation of Christian social innovators who will understand the past, impact the present, and dream of what can be in the future.

In 2012, San Francisco based Veritas Institute launched the Caritas Scholars Program and Social Entrepreneurship Lab at Alma Heights Christian Schools as what is believed to be the nation’s first faith-based entrepreneurial leadership program designed to equip high school students to respond to social problems. Caritas Scholars develop a passion that drives their compassion for the world. They are encouraged to identify specific social issues and implement workable solutions for those issues.

“This class has shown me what a leader I really am - how ordinary kids with big dreams can make things come to life with hard work, time, effort, and a willingness to do whatever it takes.” Regina G, (’17), Project Ezra, an outreach to orphaned and abandoned children.

Caritas Scholars are addressing such problems as human trafficking, orphan care, literacy, and environmental concerns. By analyzing data and designing strategic responses, Caritas scholars are implementing business plans which are resulting in real impact. Project Release raised $7,000 to combat modern day slavery.

Coursework leads to practical application as students not only broaden their knowledge of social issues, but learn to communicate this information to a wider audience.

"The Caritas Scholars Program gave me experience in running my own organization, practice in communications, and opportunities to make connections with local and global organizations with similar goals." Soli, (’15), Project Release, an initiative to fight human trafficking.

The Caritas Scholars Program and Social Entrepreneurship Lab has been recognized by the city of Daly City and the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce. Caritas Scholars have also been featured on the Stanford University website. 










Project Ezra

Project Ezra's mission is to uplift orphans locally and globally through product innovation and participating in aid and relief efforts. This year, they raised over $1300 through a unique coffee blend as part of their new product line and donations. The proceeds enabled the group to send first aid supplies for disaster relief and funds for student sponsorship in the Philippines.





Project Release

Project Release is an initiative to fight human trafficking by providing educational opportunities underprivileged children in India. Through research and personal observation, this group identified that without education, the cycle of poverty continues. To respond to this need, they created a scholarship fund to support a child's education in Mauri, India through awareness events and a unique product line. Over the past two years they raised a total of $7000 and previously partnered with organizations Not For Sale and In Plain Sight to fight modern slavery.  This project receives the 2015 Joseph Gross Innovation Award, named for the Head of School Emeritus.





Past Initiative

GTGT

GTGT stands for Green Today, Greener Tomorrow. They are a student-led organization that provides an environmental care service to the cities of Pacifica, Daly City, and San Francisco. Their group collaborates with local businesses that share the goal of keeping our environment green.





Additional Initiatives

Project Restore is an initiative to prevent domestic and teen dating violence. The founder's intervention included selling handcrafted jewelry, knitted scarves and baked goods at the Pacifica Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and creating a unique tea line that brings awareness to the identified issue. Proceeds will be donated to Casa de las Madres.    

Paws for Pa's, an organization dedicated to combatting loneliness in the elderly, focused their mission on matching rescue pets with seniors who need companionship. This group made organic homemade dog cookies, handmade candles and fairy gardens. They will be partnering with Aegis in Daly City to provide a companion animal.

Aquam is creating awareness for the African water crisis. This organization is dedicated to providing clean water for children in Kenya by partnering with the Water Project. The founder has designed a BPA free water bottle to spread awareness and raise funds for his cause and also plans on traveling to Indonesia to study the water crisis.
 
Project Wordsworthan organization dedicated to fighting illiteracy implemented a unique model of collecting books by hand and delivery by hand while raising awareness through events with speakers to help change behavior in families. The founder's goal is to help under-resourced families value reading and feel equipped to teach their children. At a recent event, he collected 100+ books from bookstores around S.F. and distributed to over 70 families.
Each student was awarded for outstanding citizen leadership by city officials and Bay Area leaders including Pacifica Mayor, Karen Ervin, Mr. David Canepa, Former Daly City Mayor and candidate for San Mateo County Supervisor, Ms. Ana Valenzuela Canepa, U.S. Consul General and Mr. Chris Bennet of the Stanford University Peace Innovation Labs.

...Caritas Social Entrepreneurship Lab has enabled me to go beyond what I thought I could do...


"Caritas Social Entrepreneurship Lab has enabled me to go beyond what I thought I could do. Students in this class were recognized by city officials who provided us with great connections. In addition to being a world changer, I was able to exceed my college expectations. I would recommend this class to anyone that would like to get into the college of their choice, would like to meet and greet city officials, and who would like to change the world."
Alicia Lau, AHC Alumna '13, Recipient of the prestigious University of Berkeley Leadership Award 

...it’s refreshing to see high school students care so much about others, especially when they put their great minds and caring hearts together....


"As CEO of the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center, I was honored to be asked to judge the Caritas Leadership Program presentations. I was simply amazed at the in-depth preparation and strategic execution that each student group presented. I was also enthralled by the serious subject matters along with the level of detail and commitment that these high school students conveyed. Each was well-spoken and truly showed compassionate care and believed they could help make a difference in the people whose lives they touched. It speaks volumes of this leadership program as it is refreshing to see high school students care so much about others, especially when they put their great minds and caring hearts together. Our community and this world truly stands a chance of being a better place with such bright young minds committed to making a difference!"
Courtney Conlon, CEO, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce

...It has made me realize the importance of being a leader and serving the community....


"This course has opened the possibilities of serving my community through my organization and internships. It has made me realize the importance of being a leader and serving the community even after high school."
Ysabel Cubos, AHC Alumna '14

"It has shown me the kind of person I need to be to maximize my potential in life and to succeed in whichever career I choose. Leading others by example will not only help me help others, but also to show Christ to others through my actions."

David Durkin '14