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This week I’ve been reading The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun (the Founder of Pencils of Promise). This book has been on my reading list since it came out last year. While the book is certainly a memoir type story of Adam’s journey both before and during Pencil’s of Promise, I found this to be the perfect blend of both story and concrete advice.
If you’re not familiar with Adam, he actually had a near death experience as a college student while he was participating in SAS (Semester at Sea). While I won’t give away all of the details, it’s evident that this particular event significantly altered the trajectory of Adam’s life.
During Adam’s travels around the world, he decided to ask 1 child in each country that he visited what they most wanted in the world. He assumed that their answers would be an IPod or new toys. However, he was not prepared to hear the children tell him that they most wanted a pencil. For many children around the world, an education is the greatest opportunity that their families or countries could ever afford them. An education can break the bonds of poverty and can transform entire communities.
Global Education & Opportunity
Through Pencils of Promise, this is exactly what Adam is doing through building hundreds of schools around the world. I think that one of the reasons why the Pencils of Promise model has been so effective is that instead of simply entering a community and providing funds, they also require the community to be heavily invested. Parents, grandparents, and members of the community provide raw materials and labor to build the schools. By doing this, each community member is personally invested in their school.
Whether you are an avid traveler, a biz person, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a reader, a storyteller, or someone who wants to see sustainable solutions to the problems in our world, this is a book you should certainly read.
I also loved that each chapter begins with a mantra. A few of my favorites were:
- Why be normal
- Embrace the lightning moments
- Read the signs along the path
- Stay guided by your values, not your necessities
To learn more about Adam and Pencils of Promise, check out their website here.
P.S. For the rest of the summer I will be attempting to read a book a week. Up next on my list are…
- Longbourn by Jo Baker
- The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
- Simple Rules by Donald Sull
- 52 Cups of Coffee by Megan Gebhart