Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category

Tommy Belton, 2013

In 2007, Brooks Dyroff and friend Kenny Haisfield, both students from Boulder, Colorado, started CEO 4 Teens, a non-profit organization focused on global education. They raised enough money to sponsor an Integrated English and Computer Skills class of 10 students in Indonesia. The duo continued sponsoring classes, and by the time they graduated high-school, they had graduated two more classes of identical size.

Brooks Dyroff is now a sophomore on the Boston College hockey team. He has just returned from Minnesota, where he received the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award, an award given  annually to a collegiate hockey player who serves the community. Dyroff won the award not only for his work abroad, but also for his cooperative work with the local St. Columbkille Elementary School in Brighton. Dyroff has organized a “Race to Educate,” a 5K race around Boston College on April 16th at 10 a.m. Registration can take place on race day or at http://www.bcracetoeducate.com.  He and his teammates have also been selling hats and donating all profits to St. Columbkille. I sat down with Brooks and interviewed him on the recent success of CEO 4 Teens and its future.



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Suzannah Lutz, 2011

“People asked me if Anna hadn’t died, would I be in the same place, and I said, ‘No.’ It took her death to open my eyes.” Mary Lou Wallner shared her story last Thursday at an event sponsored by Allies, “Mary Lou Wallner: “Reconciling Religion and Homosexuality.” This was the first time she was invited to a Catholic university. Brought up in a fundamentalist household, Wallner was taught that homosexuality was a sin. When her daughter, Anna, finally came out to her, it was extremely hard for Wallner to accept Anna’s homosexuality. Their stormy relationship continued until Anna’s suicide in February of 1997.


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Analorena Zeledon, 2011

She peers at me, eyes intent on my every move, curious to understand the stranger before her. Smiling, I crouch down so that I am level with her. Angelica waddles over and puts her tiny arms around me in a make shift hug. My voice catches in my throat and I am overwhelmed to tears.

Four-year old Angelica is one of two hundred children residing at El Divino Nino, an orphanage located on the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua. Like most of the other orphans, Angelica was abandoned as a newborn at a dumpster nearby and will probably spend the next ten years there.  Once she reaches the age of thirteen, she will be classified as an adult and released to the streets where the cycle of poverty will commence once again.


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Jennifer Woo, 2011

In an attempt to grow and compete among many other highly prized colleges and universities, has higher education lost its core mission of challenging the minds of young people?

I must admit that I suffer from ambivalence.  I see college as a means to an end and that end is finding a well-paying career.  As an immigrant from South Korea, my mom has worked hard to help me pay for a $200,000+ education here at BC.  I feel tremendously grateful, yet also guilty for the financial sacrifices she has had to make.

That is why I am in the management school studying finance and accounting.  I need to secure a good job in order to pay off school debts and support my family.

Yet, college is a time for intellectual exploration and personal growth, an opportunity to find and explore something you may never have known you were interested in before.  It’s about putting yourself out there, but at a time when college costs are soaring, do I want to risk it all?  I can’t help but see college as something else I must excel at just to get to the next level.  I want to take classes that are stimulating and challenging, but I also don’t want to disparage my GPA and, ultimately, my chances of getting a good job.

In 2009, the overall cost of attendance at Boston College was $52,920 with a tuition cost of $39,130 and the numbers are only getting higher.  Last year, the administration announced a 3.2% raise in tuition.  This made me nervous.  How was my mom going to help me pay this time?  How much would I have to take out this year in private loans? (more…)

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Paulina Garcia, 2012

Campus School Student's Artwork

As Sam and I were happily heading to the Educational Resource Center, students looked at us, then looked away, or they simply ignored us. This is how most people react when they see us. Sam is a student at the Campus School. He is nine years old and he is severely disabled.

The Boston College Campus School is a private school for students with severe disabilities from ages 3 to 21. It is located inside Campion Hall, where hundreds of students take classes every day. Though in a highly-trafficked location, the school and its students too often meet with the kind of dismissals that Sam and I received that day.

I think fear of the unknown holds back many students. As a PULSE Council member, I see the same attitude towards other marginalized populations we serve. It is not that students do not want to help, but it is the hesitation due to the lack of experience in dealing with people who are different. Therefore, we ask ourselves, “How do I integrate myself with people who are different from me in so many ways?” (more…)

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Shoes For a Cause

Three years ago my best friend from home opened my eyes to a new way of “making a difference in the world.”  She did so rather unconventionally by giving me a pair of shoes for my birthday.  I was pleasantly surprised when the cool-looking shoes came in the mail.  But what really caught my eye, after lifting the lightweight, uniquely patterned, canvas shoes out of the box, was the enclosed card found inside.  On the outside of the card the pale blue and white striped flag of Argentina had the words “One for One” written in bold black ink across the middle.  Upon reading the inside of the card, I discovered that not only had this pair of shoes been sent to me, but also, as a part of my friends purchase a pair just like them had been sent to a child in need, likely in Argentina.

Since then, what was a little known business that attempted to merge the ideas of social responsibility, consumer impact and sustainable business, has become a much larger endeavor.  TOMS shoes now provides shoes for children in 21 countries.  These shoes allow children access to schools that previously had closed their doors.  Additionally, these shoes prevent them from getting cuts and sores on unsafe roads and contaminated soil.

For anyone perhaps still unfamiliar with TOMS shoes, the young company is unique in many ways.  In short, the basic idea is this: For every pair of TOMS shoes your purchase, the company will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.

This Monday, just before 7:00pm, students filled the Murray Room at the top floor of the Yawkee Center.  The room buzzed with excitement as more than one hundred fifty students made their way to their seats, enthusiastic and energetic in anticipation for the speaker of the evening, Blake Mycoski who is founder and CEO of TOMS shoes.

Throughout his presentation Blake told the story of the initial development and subsequent evolution of his idea.  Since its inception in 2006, the company has given over 400,000 pairs of shoes to children in need through the One for One model. Tracing the story of TOMS from his first visit to Argentina, to his first encounter with the severe poverty and social injustice in the region, to the early stages of what has grown to be an incredibly influential business, Blake kept the audience captivated for over an hour and left us all with a lot to think about.

TOMS “One for One” concept is a business model that a lot of other companies are starting to experiment with.  Other companies are beginning to realize that partnering with businesses that emphasize social responsibility can be very beneficial.  More and more consumers are becoming aware of the fact that their choices matter and that through the collective power of their purchases they can make a difference in the world.

While the message of Blake’s talk was serious, the stories he told brought much laughter and many smiles to the audience.  His engaging personality brought to life the idea that each of us is capable of making a real difference once we see a problem, as long as we decide to act.

There will be a number of events and ways to get involved in the “One for One” movement this semester.  Next Wednesday we will be holding a film screening of the TOMS documentary, For Tomorrow: The TOMS Shoes Story in Devlin 008 at 8pm.  On Friday, March 12th we will be holding a Style Your Sole event, providing anyone who is interested an opportunity to purchase and decorate a pair of TOMS to represent their own personal style.   And, perhaps more importantly, a chance to join the TOMS community in its fight for global social justice.

Lauren Lynch 2010

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