Fossil Foundation celebrates young people who are charting their own course to a brighter future. Audacious Under 24 takes you into their world—in their words.
Jahnnai knows the importance of grit.
The 19-year-old student from the Luapula province of Zambia has overcome her share of obstacles to get to where she is today. When Jahnnai finished school, she joined Camfed’s alumnae network, CAMA, which connects and empowers 100,000 young women across Africa to use their education, curiosity and leadership skills to inspire others. Now, she runs her own business and hopes to study physiotherapy in college.
Jahnnai credits CAMA’s Shaping My Future program for instilling confidence and teaching her the right skills to achieve her goals. Her experiences have even sparked a close family member to start her own journey to independence.
Tell us about your day-to-day life prior to joining the CAMA program.
I lost my father at the age of 11. When I passed seventh grade, the teachers in my school saw that my mother was struggling to pay for my school fees. She was a widow with six children. When Camfed came to my school, the teachers submitted my name to receive support, and in eighth grade, I became a Camfed scholar.
What’s the most significant thing you’ve learned through the program?
Through CAMA’s Shaping My Future program I learned how to run a business and all about the importance of banking, along with communication and leadership skills.
Tell us about a moment or experience that has been the most meaningful?
After the Shaping My Future program, we were given grants, which I used to set up my business. I manage that business with the skills I was taught. Now I am able to pay for myself to take short courses in ICT (Information and Computer Technology) at a youth resource center.
What do you imagine for your future now that you’ve finished the program?
Now that I am finished with the program I imagine my future to be very bright. I want to be independent. I don’t want to be dependent on others, but for others to be able to depend on me.
I imagine my future to be very bright. I want to be independent. I don’t want to be dependent on others, but for others to be able to depend on me.
My role model is my paternal uncle. He is the most educated person in my entire family and has the courage to speak up for what he thinks is right. I want to be like him—educated and strong.
Describe a situation where you were able to inspire or help another youth on their personal journey?
I’ve inspired my sister, who is entering twelfth grade this year. When Camfed chose me, I became very serious about my life and passed twelfth grade. After that, I began the Shaping My Future program and have been putting what I learned to use. I started my own business and am able to take short courses. My sister was really inspired by my experience and says she too will work very hard to become independent.
We’re proud to partner with Roadtrip Nation to unleash the power of youth. Over the past 15 years, they have traveled more than 500,0000 miles, interviewed more than 1,000 interesting people from all walks of life and distributed content to over 7,000 schools all with one goal in mind: to help youth pursue fulfilling careers.
Founded by three guys in a green RV, the team has now grown to 70 people creating content, products and experiences to prove that anyone can pursue what they love. Recently, Roadtrip Nation made its way to a Fossil store in Costa Mesa, CA, and to corporate headquarters in Richardson, TX, where high school students interviewed leaders from different parts of the company to learn more about their careers. Enjoy these snapshots from their experience below!
H.R. Sr. Director
Retail, Sr. Director
Retail, Regional Manager and V.P.
Fossil Foundation celebrates young people who are charting their own course to a brighter future. Audacious Under 24 takes you into their world—in their words.
Meet Suhani*. She’s a 13-year-old student from Jalore, Rajasthan and a student of Educate Girls.
Before joining this program, Suhani didn’t dream of much success beyond school. However, as she began learning and becoming more curious, she realized her education was a gateway for a larger life. The program has taught her powerful life skills like grit and leadership while inspiring her personal transformation and growth.
Hear from Suhani in her own words:
What was your day-to-day life like prior to knowing anything about Educate Girls?
When I was initially enrolled in school, I wasn’t doing as well with my studies. I didn’t enjoy school. Since my parents are uneducated themselves, they had no problem with me dropping out of school. After leaving school, I was confined to cooking, cleaning, fetching water, taking care of the cattle and watching over my younger siblings at home.
What did success mean to you then?
Like every girl in the village is told from a young age, I too had the same idea of what my life should be–I had to be a good wife and mother, handling chores and being able to keep everyone at my marital home happy. I thought being a good cook was admirable for girls.
What’s the most significant thing you’ve learned since you were brought back to school?
Girls can achieve so much if given a chance. They need not be confined to home. Manju didi tells us about all the successful girls and women who are making India proud in the sphere of sports, medicine, corporate, science and technology and even about women who have been to the moon!
What is your greatest ambition, looking into the future? What would you like to be able to accomplish?
My family has never traveled outside of the village where we live. Once I start earning, I want to take my family to see the Taj Mahal because I read in my textbook that it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I also dream of traveling in an airplane.
What are you proud of overcoming through the program (both in your life situation and within yourself)?
I was very shy before. Now I have many friends at school, my parents ask me things and trust my opinion. I am more confident today.
Do you think you have the power to chart your own path now?
Yes, now I can try to achieve new things. I am now aware about my rights. I also know that being a girl is not a limitation.
“I am now aware about my rights. I also know that being a girl is not a limitation.”Suhani
*name changed to protect identity of minor
On the Same Page is a special column by Janiece Evans-Page, head of the Fossil Foundation. Here, she shares the insights and strategies behind our global impact.
As we head into 2017, Fossil Foundation continues to work with organizations that are driving transformative change in the lives of young people around the world. We have supported our partners’ efforts to improve the lives of more than 250,000 underserved youth.
Looking forward, we are optimistic that this impact will grow. This growth requires continually fine tuning our strategy to leverage what is working and to figure out “what’s next”.
When we began our journey in 2013, we went broad with our efforts. We partnered with innovators to unleash the potential of as many underserved young people as we could – with no restrictions in regards to age.
What we’ve found, however, is that we can enable a bigger and deeper impact by doubling down and focusing our efforts on a more specific age range. To this end, we are now mindfully targeting young people, ages 12 and older—youth who can knowingly make choices towards a brighter future.
The Math is Simple
Why 12? By age 12, some young people have developed a personal sense of agency: They start to realize that they have the ability to take ownership of their own actions and choices, driving real change in their lives. Some are more curious. Some start to develop grit and how to masterfully use it to overcome obstacles. Others have a newfound appetite for leadership, whether it be charting their own path or guiding their peers into action.
To take advantage of this pivotal age window, we selectively invest in programs that uniquely put youth in control. Programs that help young people be a part of the solution by charting their own path in their communities—at school or at work—and create systemic change that will brighten their futures.
Our Youth-Focused Partners
One of our partners, LRNG, is taking an innovative approach to youth agency by focusing on empowerment in the connected age. They’re working with schools, businesses and communities to create a self-guided learning experience where young people earn digital badges throughout their journey, collecting confidence and credentials as they go. It’s built for each young person’s unique interests and goals, connecting their passions with their path.
Then there’s WE. WE puts youth in the driver’s seat by opening young minds up to the power they have to make an impact in the world. Their programs challenge young people to identify what local and global causes they’re passionate about, and then to step up and take action. WE is service and leadership learning at its best, teaching students how to live and work with purpose.
We’re also proud to partner with College Summit, an organization that puts youth in control by leveraging the power of peers. To get more high schoolers to attend college, the program works with influential students to step into leadership roles while influencing positive change, peer-to-peer.
And the list doesn’t stop there. Partners like WAVE, Camfed and Friends International also take one-of-a-kind approaches to help youth chart their own path—all with the same goal of transforming young lives today and in the future.
A simple-known fact has inspired much of our journey so far: Those who lead now, lead later. We are continuing to find ways to unlock the power of our youth, and we’re nowhere near done. There’s nothing our world depends on more than the next generation.
Head of Fossil Foundation
Fossil Foundation’s partnership with College Summit has been focused on supporting the launch and mission of the PeerForward program. Only ten percent of students in low-income communities graduate from college, while almost all of them once aspired to get there. College Summit’s belief, and the essence of PeerForward, is in the power of peers to level the playing field and give all students the opportunity to attend college.
College Summit has already helped more than 250,000 students across 500 high schools chart their own learning path. They’re opening doors for underserved students by identifying Peer Leaders to participate in their PeerForward program and inspire those around them. These powerful students then increase the counseling capacity and change the college-going culture within their schools, inspiring their peers to apply to and attend college.
The proof: The most influential person to a high school student, is another high school student.
What’s In a Name
As part of our partnership, we shared our branding and design expertise to help College Summit create the look and feel of the program with fresh branding and logo designs.
Before we could dive into the design, however, we needed a name that would truly convey the mission and potential of the program. It needed to encourage young people to take action, and portray these peer mentors as role models, leading the way to a brighter future for all students.
After a two-day session with College Summit to soak up all we could about the project goals, our creative team got brainstorming. We generated many different name options and—after College Summit tested different options with the youth they serve—PeerForward was born.
The Design Process
Once we had our name ideas, our designers got busy, well, designing. First and foremost, they made sure they fully understood the essence of the program—that its mission is spread by these peer leaders inspiring those around them. “We wanted the design to make these students excited about the program and be proud to wear the logo,” says Evalyn German, lead designer on the project.
Here’s what happened next:
- We researched: We looked at similar programs and how their logos were used, and we focused on marks that were strong, clear and bold.
- We sketched: And erased, improved and finessed. All sketches were inspired by the idea of impact spreading—a spark ignited—just like the influence of the PeerForward students.
- We reviewed: Once the favorite sketches were recreated digitally, a document full of options was passed around internally for input, revisions and approvals.
- We collaborated: In the end, we shared our work on logos and type treatments, and College Summit took the ideas a step further to brand the program.
Then, of course, the new designs were put to work: “This wonderful branding is now infused into everything College Summit touches—from our website and social media platforms, to our Peer Leader backpacks, school materials and swag,” says Keith Frome, CEO of College Summit.
Unleashing Potential Together
This is our favorite kind of project. Jill Elliott, Fossil Group’s Chief Creative Officer, says, “Our creative team was thrilled to share their talent in ways that would help more young people unlock opportunity. We love any chance to make the world a little better through our work.”
We set out to build brand recognition. But ultimately, it was about helping to build a new generation of leaders who will create ongoing change: Getting more students to college, and thus giving more young people the chance to reach their potential.
As Keith Frome puts it, “Fossil Group and Fossil Foundation have been a key part of the success of College Summit’s launch of the PeerForward program in both financial support and hands-on development.” We are proud to have helped in any way.
While most Americans are afraid of giving speeches, 17-year-old Jahquar Williams is at home in front of an audience. Fossil Foundation partner, College Summit, has awakened a dynamic orator in Jahquar. As a College Summit Peer Leader, he uses his gift for public speaking to advance the college-going mentality in his school and community and spread optimism to fellow students. A string of personal tragedies could have easily thwarted Jahquar’s future, but today, his prospects are limitless. People like Jahquar are the life-force of Fossil Foundation, and we wanted to know more about this remarkable young man.
My name is Jahquar Williams
I’m from Brooklyn, NY
When I was 8 years old I wanted to become a firefighter.
A piece of advice I would give my 8-year-old self would be: it’s okay to cry and feel the pain I had because that has made a fire within myself to make me the young man I am.
I have many ideas of what I’d like to become but becoming a motivational speaker is a great idea at this moment in my life.
I am really comfortable speaking in front of people and getting my message to them in a way that they will never forget. I also feel comfortable expressing my dreams and ambitions because there may be someone who wants to do the same.
Words that I live by are: “A hand that is willing to help is willing to share.” To me, this means that there is somebody to help everyone.
I got involved in College Summit by doing a peer-led workshop this past summer at Amherst College. Being a part of College Summit gives me a great feeling to be in more leadership roles. All kids in my school come to me and ask how can they find a school or how can they get to the S.A.T., etc. That is another way to keep me going in school.
I would tell kids who were in my place before I got involved with College Summit just keep working hard for what you want because you never know when you may get a shot to do something that may come only once.
Being a leader is not something you just do, it’s being that person people need to cry to, talk to or hang with. I use the strength and leadership skills I have acquired to keep on doing the work I do to push things to the next level. I take my lessons with me through every new experience.
The most important thing that I have learned from my peers would be if you need help don’t be afraid to ask someone for it.
One thing I still need to work on is keeping the right mindset when a lot of things are happening and not lose control of what my dream is.
The best thing for me to recharge is to get my headphones and listen to music. After I play my music I close my eyes and go into my own space.
My great grandmother is my backbone and the family backbone as well. She showed me how to cook, clean, and keep my head in my books.
A person who I look up to [Motivational speaker] Eric Thomas because he has inspired me to do all that I can do with my head up high.
Eric Thomas says “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe then you’ll be successful.”
I say, “Strength is not just a word. It’s also an act of power and willing to push to make it to the end.”
I want to change the world by helping people to understand that the only way to get to your dreams is by working for it, to show them the energy they put into buying all the things, clothes and shoes—put some of that to school work or hobbies that can help them get to the next level.
I have discovered that my voice is bigger than I thought.