The Dignity Institute envisions a world in which every underserved youth feels safe, respected, and worthy of dignity, and has the skills to create a meaningful life and career. As the Co-founder and Executive Director, Michele Simos is on a journey to create systemic change. This #GivingTuesday, she turned to Taproot volunteer talent and support to further elevate her organization’s impact.
Disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline
The Dignity Institute’s mission is to save lives by keeping youth in school, supporting them to graduation, and connecting them to college or a career. We engage teens and children through hip-hop supported by an empowerment tool called SMART Conversations®, so they can heal, make better decisions, and build productive relationships.
To do this, we partner with afterschool programs, the Boys and Girls Clubs, homeless shelters, and community health programs and engage youth through spoken-word and dance. We empower them with social-emotional skill building to build their ability to self-advocate, understand what drives them, and make positive decisions. Time spent with our youth never fails to inspire me; they embody the values of resilience and self-reliance.
Using pro bono to scale
We learned of Taproot’s pro bono work about a year after our founding. Since that point, we have worked with several professional and talented Taproot volunteers whose help has enabled us to build our infrastructure in a short period of time. Projects include a website and two re-designs; a CRM system; logo and brand development; social media plan and messaging; client story development; and the creation of marketing-related materials.
Our three-year-old nonprofit has been on the fast-track to growth with the help of the professionals found through Taproot. We have saved thousands of dollars, eliminated the social media learning curve, and created a passionate virtual team, all while building fabulous relationships with many generous, creative, and smart people. We feel grateful to be a part of the Taproot community. I would highly recommend Taproot professionals to any nonprofit who needs to build their capacity.
This year for #GivingTuesday, we wanted to take our fundraising campaign to the next level. We enlisted several Taproot+ volunteers to help us prepare for the day, tackling challenges such as website updates, coding, creative copywriting, and social media messaging. Each one of our volunteers worked with such dedication and flair. They have been an invaluable source of ideas, deliverables, and inspiration for our organization.
Working with our Taproot+ skilled volunteers for #GivingTuesday has been an incredibly satisfying learning experience. I am eternally grateful for the support, enthusiasm, professionalism, and great ideas that they provided to my organization. Your volunteerism inspires me. Because of you, we can now attract more funding and the resources needed to help our youth stay in school, graduate, and live a productive life.