When students discover their potential and strengths, they make more positive life choices and a positive impact in our community. Loveworks Leadership is based on this belief. Learn more in our Q&A with Michael Hirsch, the nonprofit's executive director.
Can you share a brief history of your organization?
Founded in 2011, Loveworks Leadership is a youth leadership organization, as well as the governing and advisory boards of dedicated professionals from the community who are committed to helping students discover their potential and pursue their BIG dreams with programs that focus on building character, leadership development and entrepreneurialism. Through mentorship and experiential learning, students are equipped to make positive life choices, be empowered to solve problems and explore career paths.
How have you grown and expanded over the years?
We’ve reached 14,000-plus students since 2011, worked with students in all 24 schools in the Norman Public School district, and helped middle school students start two for-profit businesses: Real Kitchen and Wrist World. Since May of 2021, our newest kids' business program, Business Boot Up, has successfully helped launch 32 new kid businesses by bringing their products into the marketplace.
Who do you serve?
We work with students of all grades, ethnicities and socio-economic levels. Loveworks is based in Norman, with plans for future programming expansion into other cities as well.
What is your mission?
Our mission is to help students develop personal character, instill leadership and learn entrepreneurship skills to equip them for real life. We do this through a variety of programs that empower them to become leaders by giving every student an opportunity to lead.
Loveworks Leadership is leaning heavily into youth entrepreneurialism. On March 26, Loveworks officially launches Business Boot Up program statewide. Through collaboration with school districts, nonprofits, library systems, business leaders and governmental organizations, BBU will help kids across Oklahoma learn how to start their own businesses. But that’s not all they’ll learn. Through the program, kids get first-hand experience with problem-solving, creative thinking, teamwork, budgeting, sales, marketing, public speaking, ethics and, at the end of the day, how to build a better mousetrap.
Can you tell us about your Student Business Expo?
The student business expo, held this year on March 26, is one of many opportunities Loveworks provides for participants of the Business Boot Up program. For the past year, BBU students have also sold at the Norman Farmer’s Market, OU Innovation Hub and local school events among others. This July, BBU students will have an opportunity to market and sell their products at the largest youth entrepreneurialism event in Oklahoma history, a statewide business pitch event at the Criterion Theater in Oklahoma City. The event will offer kids from all corners of the state a venue to sell products and pitch their businesses for a chance to gain financial support and direct mentorship.
How can readers support your organization?
Give: Invest in the lives of the next generation of leaders by donating to Loveworks Leadership at givebutter.com/loveworksgift. Volunteer: You have the ability to mentor a student and see them reach their potential! Loveworks is fueled by hundreds of volunteers and mentor leaders who connect personally with our students and help facilitate our programs. We promise you’ll have a blast inspiring dreams and shaping the next generation of young leaders.