• Amit Banerjee

My PAVE Road: From Student to Teacher


PAVE stands for Philanthropy and Volunteerism in Entrepreneurship. The program was founded by Bob Hopkins and teaches kids the basics of philanthropy, communication and presentation skills, and what it takes to be a leader. I had my first taste of the PAVE program way back in 2007 when I was in the 4th grade. Through PAVE, I learnt about philanthropy and how vital our small helpful acts are to the society. It was my first major fundraising experience. Our class got to pick a non-profit organization of our choice (we picked Texas Scottish Rite Hospital) and raise money to help kids needing special treatment of an orthopedic condition.

Now fast forward to June 2013. Mr. Hopkins calls me and asks if I would like to get involved with PAVE but this time as an instructor! I thought “How cool is that!” I was being asked if I could change the lives of kids through a program which had changed mine. Over the course of the next few weeks, Allison Johnson, an experienced PAVE instructor, and I planned out a “Summer” PAVE program for kids in the Collin County area.

The sessions were held at the Frisco Public Library. We had a bunch of super motivated kids from 6-12 years of age. Session one involved teaching the kids the meaning of philanthropy and how we can incorporate it in our everyday lives. Session two was about goals – setting and following through with them. During session three, we taught the students about entrepreneurship and how to approach and fix a problem through creative ideas and a plan of action. In the fourth session, the kids learned about many non-profit organizations, their mission statements, logos and famous philanthropists and their work in the community. Throughout the four weeks, students learned the importance of good communication skills, poise and posture, and techniques to make a great first impression. We ended the PAVE Summer program with a bang – An Award Ceremony to recognize the students who worked hard to learn about philanthropy, volunteerism and entrepreneurship and pledged to make a difference in their community through acts of kindness.

It was an incredible experience for me when I was in 4th grade, and now, even more so. I loved teaching the kids how to be a philanthropist and be a great leader.

I think the kids walked away with a better understanding of how little acts can make a big impact. I hope that PAVE kindled a desire in them to do something for their community and some day one or more of these kids will take the flame forward as a teacher of the PAVE program.


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