Blog Topic #2: Clover Youth
Clover Youth was initiated by the high school graduates, who are dedicated to create learning opportunities via practice and social environment led by youth peers, cultivating youth with love, ideas and action. It is located in Guangzhou city.
What does affect your long term development and sustainability?
As 2014 comes to a close, I would like to share the research project I conducted for my graduate program in the populous country of Yunnan. There, I am trying to coordinate the number of obstacles that Clover Youth, the public service organization that I am working for, will encounter during the project in Guangzhou. In the county, I will be educating the students of the low working class by teaching them how to read, while trying to promote students' interest in reading and electronic culture . Transparent Fish Fund’s November theme to share features the difficulties of public service, in addition to institutional sponsoring of the local organization. By holding several in-depth conversations, as a I look back on this experience as a young adult participating in public service, found that throughout this process of development, there are varying differences throughout the duration of this process. Additionally, by being a young person that participates in public service events as well as an active member of the Clover Youth organization, I witness various aspects of the developing process, but also the phenomenon of the social environment in Guangzhou.
Before I partook in Clover Youth, which was approximately February 2012, Clover Youth was only an insignificant public service organization sponsored by a group of high school graduates. The primary demographic of people that participated in Clover Youth was comprised of college freshmen and sophomores. At that time, Clover Youth was facing several difficult challenges simultaneously. The question was: How do we continue with Clover Youth’s project? Are we going to become an organization? And with the capabilities that we possess, what kind of organization will it turn out to be? At the very beginning, we wanted to organize a summer camp for Clover Youth. By relying on the experiences and relationships between the high school students that participated in Clover Youth, we decided to partner with an institution in order to establish this summer camp. We were debating between three foundations-- a high school public service group, the official volunteer organization of Guangzhou in addition to an independently registered corporation. Coincidentally, during this time of debate, Guangzhou’s civil society organization implemented new policies in order to simplify the registration procedures for public service institutions. This rule proclaimed that newly established organizations did not necessitate in approval from authorities, which in our case was probably by the Department of Education or the director of the Women’s Federation. Nine people gathered together at a 30,000 yen registered capital, and commenced the registration process. Two co-founders decided to take turns in order to manage the Clover Youth organization full-time. In order to acquire more funding for the increased cost in order to operate an official institution, Clover Youth decided to contact a separate foundation, which helped us create a planning handbook, comprised of dozens of pages that surrounded around our vision and mission. In order to learn from the experience of the parties, we also used Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and the United States as our three resources. We tried to contact these organizations through welfare and social innovation circles, as we updated them with the progress of our project. We wanted to figure out the position of the Clover Youth organization in such a competitive environment. Today, looking back on the registration of the Clover Youth institution, that event had nothing to do with our self-confidence. What was important was the acquiring of our general direction, in addition to the clarity as to how heavily we wanted young people to participate in the way of action to live in the society, and what we have to pursue in education beyond the examination. I believe the future of our education will resound our cause.
To register and join the team on a full-time interval in August 2013 is committing to adapt to a "social organization " status period. The original "project operations " into agency operations, taxation, legal and administrative affairs occupied part of our energy, and energy is invested in another part of the team building. Through the co-founder of two years, a full- time interval lasts only two years, but during this time the need to implement the most basic human sustainability was our biggest challenge. We have not yet graduated from college but it was still necessary for us in order to consider the salaries and social benefits. Recruitment channels were still everywhere to explore, in addition to the financing of our cause. The first round of resumes consisted of more than 30 applicants came in, both for our encouragement and a challenge. Especially when we were interviewing a 31-year-old applicant, we had to consider whether she could integrate into this team comprised of mostly young people. After three trials, there was only one man standing, and ultimately because the conditions were not appropriate at the time for him, he decided not to register. At that time, we deeply felt the hiring of social entrepreneurship was extremely risky and difficult, and did not know whether it could be done that year, or even the year after that. The poor conditions and low wages did not provide room for air not to mention a board membership. The fact that we offered no bonuses and dividends blocked us on our objective to achieve the basic financial freedom in Guangzhou. It was especially difficult for the need of work from project operations, team management, public relations, and fundraising in addition to the fact that the work required relatively high creativity. Faced with this challenge, and gradually approaching the deadline, we chose two other joint recruitment and public institutions, and mobilized around personal contact Eventually, we locked in a provincial college student who desired for a senior internship, the perfect invitation for him to embark on the Clover Youth cause, and also a time for us to breathe through our current crisis. Other challenges in this phase also included the contradiction at the project level and gradual highlights, such as the positing of our core service groups (wives and children) in addition to our multiple core (middle school, high school, and college students), as well as Suiqian children who do not completely comprehend and understand the purpose behind a public service group. Beginning in 2010, the people of the Clover Youth public service organization decided to conduct research, because it was not possible for them to get the information for use in previous studies, and they were also limited to professional competence. Learning that just a few members of the social science learning by doing and exploring, this experience genuinely changed my opinions, perspectives and viewpoints on education. Why do groups like Clover Youth create value, and how do they create value? This problem has been extended to the developmental phase of the Clover Youth institution.
As we moved into the second batch of full-time staff, and later gradually stabilized a short-term (1-3 years) source of funding, in 2014 we considered just a foothold, a little more time to precipitate and plan. Toward the end of 2013, we decided discuss the beginning of the three-year plan, so that the founding team (mostly in what is now Council) rediscovered in recent years what we have traveled down the road in the past, and more truly experience the team now, and want the ability to make unequal things equal. In this round of discussions, what registered in my mind about the difference in the overall atmosphere, climate and environment was that now we were able to be confident that we can go to the identity of young people, the way of action to participate in public life of the community, but also to carry out the project design, organizational operations and management. At the same time, we also knew more about our how freely our current could move and ultimately, in the end how much public space, including the government's attitude towards civil society organizations, people (especially parents of students) attitude toward non-traditional education, the school administration for teachers third-party educational institutions attitudes and so on. And due to some unexpected opportunity, we came into contact with streets and other local governments, as well as social organizations who we partnered with and began to explore how these social roles played into subjects like consultation and cooperation. So now that my organization is at this this stage, the biggest challenge facing the Clover Youth institution is a long-term (5-10 years) strategic plan, the strategic plan is not purely about the vision and mission, but also with other parties about how to contact the community dialogue, how the various interest schools, communities, government, parents, students, donors and other stakeholders were linked, how to make the grass roots in reality while pulling from the reality of a role. We are also working to face this challenge, now plans to continue operation of the project, other than to enhance the research capabilities, as well as through institutional forms of high-level exchanges of visits, and accumulated more ideas on strategic planning and conception. Over the term of office this coming session of the Council, we expect construction to proceed Council, the top level in the body by adding different voices, the introduction of different social experiences and perspectives to make the grass from student groups to complete community metamorphosis organizations. This is a very crucial step that is not easy, but I believe with the love from the Clover Youth organization, thoughts and actions, we are able to continue our journey, but also hope that with the growth of my public service cause, that our relationship with the Transparent Fish Fund can continue to develop.
Original article written by Xiang Wang, translated by EV Intern Emily Cao
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