This post is also available in: Spanish

Sometimes the best stories remain untold. For this reason, this week’s post opens a new section that will go far beyond this blog (you’ll hear more news soon :). In Stories that Spark, Luis de la Riva and myself will share inspiring stories of organizations and individuals who are contributing to society while using creative and innovative approaches. Because talent is only talent when it improves someone else’s life… And talent is only talent when it is shared with others…

Learning from other disciplines different from ours will help us connect ideas and hopefully spark innovative actions into our existing projects or personal careers.

Here is the first list of #storiesthatspark:

  1. The White Card instills values in young players. Since the 2010-11 season, the Real Madrid Foundation has developed the Tarjeta Blanca (White Card) project, which is based on giving credit to those children who demonstrate a positive attitude and behavior during the competition. Can you imagine a better way to instill educational values? Players are incentivized to behave properly, while coaches have it very easy to motivate their players to act properly. Encouraging positive actions is a good way of avoiding future negative actions.You can also check out other similar initiatives, such as the tarjeta verde used by Fútbolmás Foundation in Chile. This article includes information about a recent event organized by Real Madrid Foundation, in which a Tarjeta Blanca was granted: https://www.realmadrid.com/noticias/2018/06/jornada-de-convivencia-de-las-escuelas-sociodeportivas-de-futbol-de-la-fundacion
  1. Manchester United wants your child to eat well.  With more than 2 million “likes” in its Facebook page, the ManU Foundation is running multiple projects. One of the most relevant one is Eat Well with Manchester United, an amazing initiative for children that combines cooking sessions (using healthy food) with physical activity (fitness, football and controlling body movement). Sometimes when we mix two different concepts, amazing things happen. You can learn more about the Manchester Foundation Project here: http://www.mufoundation.org/en/Projects
  1. District Sports and DC SCORES promote soccer and values in the USA’s capital. Our contributor Luis de la Riva had the opportunity to volunteer in two non-profits located in Washington DC: District Sports (https://districtsportssoccer.org/) organizes soccer leagues all over the city, using public soccer facilities and promoting equal participation of men and women. On the other side, DC SCORES (https://www.dcscores.org/) conducts, among other things, soccer and poetry programs for kids from underserved neighborhoods. Their work is admirable and necessary, because those kids would have a very limited access to extracurricular activities otherwise.
  2. An elite university wants to encourage an open education. Can you imagine having free access to the educational material uploaded by one of the best universities in the world? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been doing this for years by offering the MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) platform, which includes all the academic material available for every course. These materials include the topics covered by the course, video lectures, past exams (including solved exams) and additional reading material. This platform has been so relevant that it has given birth to a community of “self-learners” who take full advantage of the contents uploaded to the OCW. We recommend you to read the story of Scott H. Young, a young man who decided to learn the entire 4-year MIT curriculum for computer science over 12 months and without taking any classes. Here is his website: https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/myprojects/mit-challenge-2/  Its principle relies on the fact that any person, regardless of his/her origin, socioeconomic status or interests, should have access to a high-quality education. https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm
  3. MOOCs are trending. In spite of the OCW potential, it is not necessary to search abroad to find initiatives that offer an accessible and open education. The journal El País published an interesting article (https://elpais.com/economia/2018/07/26/actualidad/1532614252_534760.html) in which the importance of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) was described, considering these courses useful tools that allow universities to make their courses known, while making education accessible. Among Spanish universities, prestigious institutions, such as Carlos III, Pompeu Fabra, Autónoma de Madrid and Universidad Europea offer MOOCs via platforms like edX, Coursera and Miríadax.
  1. IBM seeks impactful social projects. The well-known and long-standing company IBM bases its corporate social responsibility on a project called Citizen IBM. Among other initiatives, the IBM Impact Grants offer hundreds of grants each year  and they provide consulting expertise and technologies to interesting projects, such as a new model for autism screening in Turkey or a predictive model prototype to help young job-seekers in Belgium.
  2. A young man is changing the world with a printer. It is not necessary to be part of a big corporation to improve the world. Guillermo Martínez has grabbed the headlines because of his amazing story. Guillermo prints 3D arms for underprivileged people. If you want to know more about his story, this is his website: http://ayudame3d.org/
  3. Xaley wants to promote women’s leadership. Xaley (https://xaley.org/) has just launched the initiative Educalab, aimed at offering 20 leadership scholarships for young Senegalese women. Together with local female entrepreneurs, Xaley is identifying impactful projects and raising awareness on those projects. The powerful mix? Social innovation to achieve gender equality through education.

We hope that these stories inspire you when working on your own projects and/or creating new ones. After all, our professional sector does not matter when it comes to creating a better community around us. Stay tuned and Stories that Matter will soon bring more insightful stories.

Improving the world one story at a time…