We are excited to announced the first round of CommonBond members who will be coming with us to Ghana this year to see our Social Promise in action!
A big thanks to everyone who submitted a two-minute video answering this question: How has education affected your life?
We were overwhelmed by your responses. Your videos inspired us, delighted us and made the selection process extremely difficult. For those who didn't make this round or didn't get a chance apply, don't worry, there will be another opportunity to win the chance to go to Ghana this year. We'll be opening up the final round of applications this summer. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram for updates on when you can apply.
Congratulations to the CommonBond members who will be joining us in Ghana this fall: Jasmine Knowles and Erica Swallow!
Jasmine is a former 6th grade teacher in Philadelphia who now works as a management consultant committed to innovation in education.
She understood the importance of education at an early age as her dad worked two jobs to put her mom, a teacher turned principal, through college. (Her father is currently completing his college degree in accounting.) Jasmine worked hard to pay for her undergraduate education at Washington University in St. Louis with scholarships and part-time jobs. "One of my great achievements was looking at my parents as an example and creating my own way to go to school," Jasmine says. When she went on to get her master's degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania, she took out student loans, which she refinanced with CommonBond to a lower interest rate.
During the trip to Ghana, Jasmine wants to learn more about the country's culture from the community and international development from Pencils of Promise, CommonBond's Social Promise partner. "What stood out to me about this opportunity was the ability to go into a school and meet the students, teachers and people," she says.
Erica helps the nonprofit Noble Impact develop the next generation of digital curriculum for schools in Arkansas.
"Rural areas of Arkansas and Ghana both rely mainly on manufacturing and agriculture," Erica says. "When I look at the 21st century and what skills students are going to need coming out of school, right now Arkansas and Ghana have very similar questions they are asking about how to prepare students: How do we actually get technology when we don't have access to WiFi? Or what do we do when the majority of students in our classes don't have technology in their homes? I thought [the trip to Ghana] has a really interesting way to look at some of these questions on a global scale."
Erica was the first person in her family to attend college. She has always been intrigued by the power of education. At MIT's Sloan School of Management, she studied how technology and the rise of the freelance economy are changing the educational needs of society. Erica used CommonBond to finance her MBA education "I was excited that because I borrowed money from CommonBond, there is a student somewhere obtaining an education through the program," she says.
We're thrilled that Jasmine and Erica will get to see the impact we're having, collectively, on access to education through our Social Promise. We believe business can and should be a positive force for change. It's why for every degree we fully fund on our student loan refinancing platform, we fund the education of a student in need for a full year in Ghana. We look forward to sharing more of the impact our Social Promise is having with the entire CommonBond community.