STS Support

Why I Support STS – Katherine Young, STS Board Member

kids with whom sts worksm - Version 2As part of our end of year campaign, we will be featuring posts from STS supporters.  Some are board members, some are staff members, some are long-time STS supporters.  Check back to learn about why and how people get involved with STS.

Below is a post from STS Board Member Katherine Young.

I am proud to be a new board member with STS. As a graduate student in UC San Diego’s Masters in International Affairs program, I studied the vast global network of nonprofits, NGO’s, private companies and government agencies that all work together to alleviate global poverty and reduce inequality.  These different groups all have their own worthy goals, but I believe that education is one of the most important missions to support, because it is through education that people become empowered to manage their own futures, both as individuals and as a community.

The challenges in promoting education are many, and no one idea or intervention can solve them all. A new school building means nothing if there isn’t a pool of qualified teachers to work in it; teachers can’t teach if young people are compelled to work to support their families rather than attend school; and no one will receive a job or education if a community is overtaken by sickness. STS’s Whole Child Model uses a number of elements in concert to ensure students will actually get and benefit from an education, including teacher training, food provisions given to students’ families, and work with local communities to design and manage projects  such as latrines, wells and first aid kits. STS also focuses specifically on girls’ education, conducting workshops to sensitize the community to the importance of girls’ education and ensuring that the learning infrastructure our funding helps create will be taken advantage of by all. Simply donating bricks and books for schools does little over in the long run, but programs such as the STS Whole Child Model allow individual development efforts to be worth more than the sum of their parts and create lasting impact.

Being a board member with STS allows me to apply the theories of international development that I learned in the classroom to a real organization helping real people. There are critical questions that must be asked of any nonprofit relating to accountability, funding, program outcomes, and impact on the community it serves. Our efforts in the US are supported by over 8 staff members in West Africa, who are better aware of the realities of political and social barriers and can provide guidance that makes sure our programs make sense not just on paper, but in a community. I am proud to be part of the team that helps steer the mission of STS and ensure that its programs are an appropriate use of resources. I look forward to my continued involvement with this organization and giving young women an education that will help prepare them to take advantage of a wider range of opportunities in both their professional and family lives.