Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Social Entrepreneurs Provide Free Book Covers for Baltimore Students

A social entrepreneur refers to someone who starts a business not just for the primary purpose of making a profit, but to benefit their community and the world. In other words, they find innovative solutions to a social problem by using entrepreneurial principles to create and manage their business, ultimately making social change.

Quann Massey and Vondeleah Watson both describe themselves as social entrepreneurs. The Baltimore business professionals recognized a need to inform students, parents and teachers about resources in their community on healthcare, post secondary education, cultural activities and more. And what better way to reach them? By using text book covers - see the photo above for an example.

Advertisers purchase space on the book covers, of which 500,000 are distributed to all 179 Baltimore public schools for free. The text book covers advertise colleges, home ownership initiatives, healthcare, mentoring and tutoring programs, business, philanthropy, career training, scholarships, retail outlets, clothing stores, and private schooling to help parents, teachers and students access resources. The free text book cover project has partnerships with the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office, The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum and the Baltimore City Public School System. Creative idea, isn't it?

The entrepreneurs also have created 'Safe Sex Boxers', an HIV/STD/AIDS education tool to help teens and families talk about STD prevention. Safe Sex Boxers are men’s boxer shorts and ladies ‘boy’ shorts with pockets that can be customized to display virtually any printable image. Empty pockets or pockets with HIV/STD/AIDS education information promote abstinence until marriage (clients may request contraceptives in the pockets). The boxers are currently used at Morgan State University in Baltimore and were distributed at Bowie State University for World AIDS Day.

For more information on Baltimore's free text book cover program and their 'Safe Sex Boxers', contact livinglegends40@hotmail.com or 410-563-7809 ext. 111.