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This fall, Skyline College Business 680 students were encouraged to translate their dreams into reality.

Students who joined the Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship course were mentored by Prof. Rachel Zabaneh as they learned to identify their unique gifts and talents and design a sustainable project to make a difference in the community.

As the students identified social problems and developed data driven solutions, their final goal was to present their business plans before a panel of judges who would decide the $1000 Dora Stoner Award for Social Entrepreneurs.

This prize was named after the instructor’s great-grandmother who saw the need for service learning among young people in the 1930’s and was later invited to the White House to share her ideas with Eleanor Roosevelt.

On Dec. 6, six outstanding projects were presented in Skyline College’s Multicultural Hosting Gallery as part of the 2013 Social Entrepreneurship Business Plan Pitch Day.

The first project was introduced by Miguel Perez, who designed the organization H.E.A.L. (Health Education Advocating Life-Longevity) whose mission is to provide community health awareness in the Latino community through educational events and product innovation.

Belinda Villahermosa submitted the A.C.T. (Artistic Community Team) Plan to encourage young people to find a passion in life through artistic mediums.

Jose Luis Sanchez Sosa developed “El Chan”, a project focused on developing new irrigation techniques to maximize the use of water and revolutionize the global crop growing industry.

Vehicles for Life was founded by Emmanuel Sibug to provide vehicles for low income families in the S.F. Bay Area through a car award program.

The Hope Project is inspired and directed by Nicole Harris who will use her experience as being legally blind to inspire others to choose hope over despair through seminars, events for college students and tangible acts of service.

The final project and recipient of the $1000 prize was The Torch Fund, founded and directed by mother and son team, Amy and Judah Darwin. Their goal is to provide opportunity for victims of human trafficking by providing private education. They will use the funds to pay for a year of tuition for one student in India.

Distinguished judges included Skyline College faculty, Prof. John Saenz from the Center for Student Life and Leadership Development; Prof. Jennifer Mair, Communication Studies Instructor, Consultant & Executive Director, Public Dialogue Consortium and Skyline College Sustainability Coordinator, Mr. Richard Hsu. Desserts were generously provided by the French Patisserie to celebrate the student’s hard work.

Truly, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  This spring, students are once again invited to enroll in Bus. 680 and turn their dreams into action.

Article and Photo by Rachel Zabaneh.