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On the Same Page

Charting a Brighter Future

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.


Sincerely Janiece Evans-Page

Janiece Evans-Page
Head of Fossil Foundation

Unstoppable: College Summit Branding

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:

  1. We researched: We looked at similar programs and how their logos were used, and we focused on marks that were strong, clear and bold.
  2. 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.
  3. We reviewed: Once the favorite sketches were recreated digitally, a document full of options was passed around internally for input, revisions and approvals.
  4. 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.

My Life Unbound: Jahquar Williams

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.

Skoll World Forum 2016

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.

I can still feel the reverberations from another inspiring week at The Skoll World Forum, a gathering of the world’s top innovators in social change.

Events like the Skoll World Forum are so essential to our work. Tackling the challenges facing today’s youth is incredibly rewarding—but there’s always more to learn. The energy, ingenuity and inspiration from the Skoll Forum help us deepen our understanding of the space.

We had an opportunity to catch up with leaders from our tireless partner organizations, including Educate Girls, Camfed and College Summit. It was gratifying to hear that young people—the very beneficiaries we aim to empower—are taking the reins and driving innovation. College Summit shared the progress they’ve made with their re-energized Peer Leader model, which is empowering a growing number of high school students to help their peers get to and through college. Camfed also reported that they are continuing to scale the number of young people who are returning to their community as leaders through their powerful alumnae network, Cama.  These disruptive changes will impact generations to come.

This brings me to another topic that kept coming up during our week at the Skoll World Forum: sustainability. We spent a good deal of time with sustainability leaders, particularly within the corporate community. Our discussions went beyond transparency in the supply chain or the welfare of factory workers. We examined corporate engagement with NGOs and social innovators to identify best practices and create new opportunities.

After meeting with senior leaders from several major corporations, we’re pleased to report that we’re in good company. The private sector is more engaged in social change than ever! We left Oxford feeling even more motivated to bring high-impact change to young people around the world.


Sincerely Janiece Evans-Page

Janiece Evans-Page
Head of Fossil Foundation

Janiece Evans-Page

LRNG Opportunity Gap

LRNG Partners with Business to Close Opportunity Gap

How can the private sector help underserved youth succeed in today’s workforce? Businesses have a lot more to offer than they might realize. Connie Yowell, CEO of Collective Shift, and Fossil Foundation’s Janiece Evans-Page discuss the role companies can play in innovative education and workforce development.

There is a litany of statistics that show our country is facing a sharp and growing divide between young people who have access to 21st century learning opportunities and those who do not. Read more on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation blog.


My Life Unbound: Esther

Esther is a student from Chinsali District, Zambia. It’s not unusual for many young women like her to end her education after 7th grade. But, with the support of Fossil Foundation through our partner, Camfed, Esther is able to continue her education and is now looking ahead to fulfilling her dream of bringing healthcare and sanitation to the communities in Zambia that need it most. We reached out to Esther to learn more about her journey.

Can you tell us about your home life?

I am the second born in a family of six. I live with my mother—I call her my mother, but she is my stepmother. My (biological) mother is dead. My father is around, but he does not do anything to support me in terms of education. My mother does some small businesses, like selling kapenta (dried sardines) at the market to get at least some money for food. We all live (in a) one bedroom house. I sometimes sleep on a mattress on the ground, but there are not enough for all of us. Now that I am here at school, my sleep is much different.

What do you like about school?

I love being in school because I’m learning how to be knowledgeable enough to be successful. I want to be successful in the future. I have so many big dreams. I want to become a medical doctor when I grow up. I love dealing with sick people because I encourage them that, “it is not the end of the world,” and I can give them some medicine, if I am able.

Tell us about the day you found out you were going to receive a Camfed bursary.

I was very happy. I went for the holiday with my auntie, and when I was there the results came out and I was told, “You’re going to grade 8.” I was so happy—my mother and I celebrated. We jumped and hugged a lot.


What have you learned about yourself?

I’ve learned that I’m a very courageous person. That is not only me saying that, it is what I am told from other people.

Why do you think people say that?

I love standing in front of a lot of people and speaking. I am a public speaker.

What message do you have for other girls in your village?

I have many friends who are married. I would encourage them to go back to school.

Why is it important to invest in your future?

Getting educated is how you become someone in life. When you get educated, it’s not only about being a doctor, being an accountant. You also do other things through that education you have acquired. For example, I take home management, so I know how to cook—we learn all about food and nutrition—so I can apply that to my life.

How do you want to change the world?

I want to see a healthier community here in Zambia. For example, there is this global disease which is HIV and AIDS. I want to form cooperatives, or at least a club, to educate people about the dangers of HIV and AIDS and to encourage the people who have HIV and AIDS to lead a positive life. I want to make sure there is good sanitation in the community.

Fossil Foundation is proud to support Esther and other inspiring girls like her through our partnership with Camfed.