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Saturday, 24 March 2012

Launching ITSA's Student Mentoring Program!

Independent Thought & Social Action in India is an education reform organization that creates socially responsible youth leaders through critical thinking and social action. We help students convert their ideas into action helping them implement their own community-based projects. “Like” us for updates:

Mentoring 9th grade to college age students in Ahmedabad, India to:

-       Develop a close information sharing relationship between mentor and mentee
-       Improve student communication and articulation skills
-       Keep tabs on the student’s social action project and aid in its progression

Communication will be virtual through video chatting and email. 

Riya is an ITSA India student who implemented a waste segregation model in a slum in Ahmedabad collaborating with government officials whom we connected her to. Since then she has expanded to working in two different slums and has been able to raise awareness on hygiene, reducing disease in the slums.

“Why should I become a mentor?”
Because you will be:

- Creating cross-cultural connections
- Providing friendship and guidance to an enthusiastic and motivated young adult
- Improving your own communication and mentoring skills, especially on an international level

Submission form: To help us match mentors to mentees, here is the submission form due by Saturday, April 6th, 2012.

Time Commitment: 5 Hours/Month, 8 months - July 25th, 2012 - April 25th, 2013.

Write to us with any questions you have at

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Social Change through Ninjas & Valentine's day love!

Hey there everyone!

This is Phil Chodrow, a senior at Swarthmore College. For the last three years, I’ve served as the director of NinjaGram, the world’s only ninja-powered Valentine’s Day card-delivery service / improv comedy group. Each year, NinjaGram delivers hundreds of sneaky cards, and raises over $1,300 for a charitable cause. You can learn more about NinjaGram at our Swarthmore College info page, in this photo-essay with Swat’s Daily Gazette, and in this recent Gazette interview. Also check out some videos of us in action!

What is NinjaGram doing on ITSA’s blog? The answer is exciting! This year, I was pleased to team up with ITSA India by sending all our proceeds to ITSA’s programs.  You can see the teamwork in action at our card-selling table this year (check out the ITSA poster in the back!):

After we sold all those cards, it was up to us to deliver them (video). And here’s the result!

$1,360 for ITSA’s expanding efforts in Ahmedabad, India. Sweet!

So, what ties NinjaGram to ITSA? If you ask me, a lot! NinjaGram is all about taking a creative idea for an unorthodox service project (ninjas? With cards?) and making it the biggest and best it possibly can be. I see exactly this spirit in ITSA’s mentoring program: ITSA mentors are helping students all over Ahmedabad to find their voice through innovative social action initiatives. I’m proud to have used my unorthodox service project to help students across the globe realize theirs.

I’m even more proud to announce that NinjaGram’s involvement with ITSA isn’t over! In the next few months, I’m going to be working closely with ITSA to help bring NinjaGram’s success as an organization, as a messaging campaign, and as a charity drive, to student entrepreneurship projects through ITSA’s mentoring program. I hope to see ITSA students driving social action projects that are even more successful than we’ve been, and I’m going share all the lessons I’ve learned from running NinjaGram in order to help make it happen. My major project is going to see me working with some of the most committed members of my NinjaGram team, as well as some of Swarthmore’s coolest videographers, to create a video about NinjaGram and how it works. We’re hoping to communicate just what goes in to running a campaign like this: how to organize teams, how to motivate volunteers, how to create strong branding, and how to make complicated decisions on the fly. My ninjas are pretty revved up, and we’re looking forward to bringing our skills to a whole new field. As I do that, I’ll also be helping out with ITSA’s own messaging and content-generation, so you just might be hearing from me again.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting ITSA!

Peace all,