Tag Archive for Leif Erickson

Youth Community Service: Leif Erickson’s presentation

Youth Community Service is a 22 year old Palo Alto-based organization that focuses on the transformational impact of service learning for youth. Leif Erickson has been its Executive Director for nearly 9 years. He spoke about the different programs they have depending on the relationship with the particular schools–in some cases as an extracurricular “club” offering, and other cases their class is part of the school day.

YCS also works with “Continuation” schools, of non-traditional students such as teens raising a family or returning from a period of incarceration. He cited a study that showed average grade improvement from a “D” to a “B” for continuation students (moms, specifically, I think) that were receiving YCS support as one of a number of programs. It was important, he said, for the students to not just engage in isolated service projects, but to incorporate them into the rest of the learning curriculum. Students also need to build up to helping others. Many of the students don’t see what they have to give when the program starts. Working first on identifying values, skills, improving self-esteem means that the students are more secure and ready to help others.

In addition to a small staff managing the operations, the bulk of the YCS employees are teachers who work directly with students. Leif noted that many of the teachers who come up with creative ideas and earn the respect of the students are from the communities served by YCS, offering both a staff familiar with the challenges of the environment, as well as a group of role models that share more in common with the students.

YCS funding used to come primarily from government support, but as that has dried up recently, they have found corporate and family foundations to replace the funding, with individual donors also an important part of the equation. If you’d like to join me in supporting YCS, their donor page is at: http://www.youthcommunityservice.org/article.php?story=donationsgeneral

I missed their program on Lytton Plaza in Palo Alto today in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Book launch: T-1 month

Bottom Line:  I think the book should be out within a month.  I’m really excited–initial readers have been very positive.  I could use your help with a few decisions on the cover, and also with promotion.  If you could introduce me to journalists or others who could help spread the word, I’d definitely appreciate it.  I’m also considering whether to do a book launch tour, and would welcome suggestions for cities (better still, venues) I should come visit.


Things are coming together!

I got word today that my submission for cataloging to the Library of Congress had been approved.  I’d mentioned I was excited about the cover, so here it is!  The awesome pictures were taken by Jason Koenig of  www.jkoephoto.com when he was on a trip with Construction for Change to visit their project in India building a Hospital for Hope, created by Stanford students and profiled in the book.  The picture of me was taken by my thesis advisor Hector Garcia Molina.

I have a few questions that I’d like your feedback on:

Title in Orange

Title in Blue

[polldaddy poll=6378084]
[polldaddy poll=6378088]

The quotes are still coming in, but so far:

Giving Back is exemplary in presenting solid how-to information that shows prospective volunteers and philanthropists how to chart a path that leads to personal satisfaction while doing good in the world.

— Bob Graham, Founder and CFO of Namaste Direct

Anyone who is serious about giving, or who wants to teach kids to be lifelong givers, should read Giving Back. I often find myself wanting to give, but I’m not always clear on how best to do it. Giving Back is a practical primer for moving from heart to hand. Not only does it provide great strategies and activities for effective giving; it also leads you through the process of creating a giving game plan. I came away from the book feeling both inspired and equipped to up my giving game.

— Paul Lamb, Nonprofit Consultant and Social Entrepreneur


Giving Back
starts families down the path of volunteering. The book is an invaluable guide for finding how you can contribute your time, unique skills, and money to effective organizations making a real difference. No matter what age your kids are, you’ll find excellent ideas for involving them in your giving or doing volunteering together. This book suggests ways to create great family experiences and memories by doing good together!

—Perla Ni, Founder and CEO, GreatNonprofits

Ketchpel’s Giving Back is the perfect guide for families who want to learn to volunteer and give together – with the details you’ll need to tailor expectations for any age level to engage in meaningful service. The magic of volunteering comes to life with captivating accounts of service and learning to inspire family conversations and plans. Giving Back models these Listening and Learning Conversations to help your family create the scaffolding for a family culture of reciprocity and connectedness – one that will nurture skill-building in children, and foster autonomy, responsibility and motivation in teens. Share this insightful book and change the world – one family at a time!

– Leif Erickson, Executive Director, Youth Community Service

Help with Promotion

After spending a year of my life writing it, I want to make sure that Giving Back doesn’t land with a thud, number 38,121,786 on the Amazon list.  So, yes, I’d love to get your help with promoting it.  A self-published work has an extra challenge (hard to get reviews published, e.g.) so I’d welcome your ideas and connections on how to break through.

  • Can you suggest / introduce journalists, bloggers, or other notable people who would be interested in learning about Giving Back and potentially sharing it with their audience?
  • What websites should I be sure to send the announcement to?
  • Both within and beyond the Bay Area, where should I go to do events (probably more like a 2 hour workshop/seminar than just a signing, but format still TBD)?  Do you know people who might like to help host/organize an event there?  Or have a suggestion for a venue I could contact?
  • How else should I prepare for the launch?
Add a comment or drop me an email to givingbackbook@gmail.com

Thank you!