Innovative students and alumni from the UNC School of Social Work have launched social enterprises in their communities to address social problems by targeting workforce development, increasing advocacy supports, and providing opportunities for greater accessibility. Read more about these social entrepreneurs below.
If you are a UNC School of Social Work alum with a social enterprise that you would like showcased on this site, contact us with your information. Or, if you are an alum with a great idea for a social enterprise that you want to launch, but you aren’t sure where to start, contact us to learn more about the types of support and resources the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab can offer you!
Thrive Cheer and Dance Company: Empowering Young Women of Color
Kalyn Wilson, UNC MSW Candidate ’19 | Kalyn launched the THRIVE Cheer and Dance Company in order to merge her skills in instructing competitive cheerleading with her passion for helping young women of color gain skills, confidence, and resources which will help them enter and succeed in college and in life. Kalyn noticed the need to facilitate a school-to-college pipeline for youth in undeserved communities who opt for “the spirit sports,” who often are overlooked, underfunded, and under-supported in their collegiate spirit sport endeavors. Through events, fundraising, and community building, Kalyn hopes to help bridge the gaps of self-efficacy, social capital, and resources in aid of helping youth THRIVE.
Hope Renovations: Transforming the Lives of Women and Seniors
Nora Spencer, UNC MSW ’17 | Nora founded Hope Renovations in 2017 to transform lives and bring hope to women and senior citizens. Hope Renovations offers a completely free, 10-week training program to unemployed and underemployed women that teaches basic construction skills, job safety, soft skills like personal finance and effective communication, and job-readiness skills, like resume writing and how to interview. At the end of the program, Hope Renovations facilitates job applications and interviews or further education at local community colleges. Women in the program carry out their training and apprenticeship in the homes of aging adults, providing them with the repairs and renovations they need in order to safely age in their own homes.
Say It Solutions: Turning Recovery Progress into Life Progress
Karen Kranbuehl, JD, UNC MSW ’17 | Karen was training to become a substance use disorder counselor when she realized that people in counseling had an urgent need for self-advocacy skills. This realization led her to develop the SAY IT Program in 2015, to provide individuals with the self-advocacy skills to meet their needs and speak to others about their recovery in the most effective ways. Seeing the positive response that individuals, counselors, court personnel, and administrators have all had to in-person sessions of The SAY IT Program, Karen created SAY IT Solutions LLC in 2016. SAY IT Solutions launched its on-line program in 2018. Online learners use a dashboard to navigate 60+ videos of one to eight minutes in length. Each video contains colorful graphics, relevant content, resources, and guidance to create a personalized, goal oriented self-advocacy strategy.