Honestly, we did not know what the year was going to be like at MAPS. I (Maryam) was happy to be a part of it but I only knew that we were giving out small loans via Kiva to women around the world. This idea transformed as the year progressed. MAPS became one of the most active sites at MHS and we were doing more than giving loans. We not only were playing our part in changing the lives of women by giving these loans, but we also started promoting our mission locally, by using the internet and making videos to sell our cupcakes, which provided the profits to fund the loans. Later we decided to add to our mission that would help people at a local level. We created a micro-grant that not only provided a way for us to help local organizations that were in need of aid, but that also gave students at Miss Hall’s a chance to be active at their Horizon sites, by talking with their supervisors and identifying a need.
How was this site different from your last site?
Last year I (Maryam) worked at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center last year; I was working on making a database for a small library at the NOAH center. I enjoyed working independently and learning to work and come up with my own schedule. Lily worked at Western Mass Labor Action, a non-profit organization that provided aid to citizens of Berkshire County who were unemployed and were struggling to have enough funds to get by. This year with MAPS, we have learned a lot in different areas: using the internet as a tool to promote our mission, writing for the blog, reading articles about people who have done inspirational work in philanthropy, becoming more aware of the world around us, being able to work and come up with ideas to give back to our community, and making a difference in the lives of women and small businesses across the globe.
What did you learn about leadership this year?
We have learned to become more outspoken and let our voices be heard in our group works. We learned how important it is to step up and take the lead in projects, and make the most use of our past experiences. We both have our own talents that we bring to this group, and we are beginning to understand how important it is that we apply these talents to benefit the group. It has been a confidence boost for both of us.
What kind of tools has working with MAPS given you? What are you taking away from this experience?
We have learned to use technology and the internet as a beneficial and effective way to promote our mission at MAPS. We are more confident and comfortable using technology to advocate our cause and we have learned how effective of a tool it can be. We have become more active members within the school community, and we have become more aware citizens of the world by reading and writing about amazing leaders who have done so much to make this world a better place.
What do you see as the future of MAPS?
MAPS taught us a great deal about leadership skills this year, and we see a bright future for MAPS and its new members next year. We fully expect that what we have done this year with MAPS was just the beginning. And knowing how strong of a beginning this was, we both cannot wait to see what changes and developments occur in the future. MAPS is an amazing organization and we are both confident that MAPS will do great things both locally and globally in the future.