Why We Exist +
Impact Goals & Assessment
From the very beginning, we have strived to keep the big vision at heart. It is what guides us in our listening, learning, and creating.
We think deeply about our impact — inputs, activities, outputs, and short/mid term outcomes — as we think about how to make the most effective change possible.
We strive to live by our values, and learn from the experiences where we can improve as people.
To date, we’ve focused on gathering qualitative data through observations, interviews, and focus groups with teachers and students. It is heart-joying and mind-opening to hear students and educators share such raw, powerful things.
“This is the first time in my life I feel like I’ve been asked to truly think for myself.”
“Now when I walk around, I can’t help but wonder about everyone I walk by. I feel what curiosity really means now.”
“The student in my class who is most scared to answer math problems was the first to figure out all the math today in our lesson. It was real world. He wasn’t scared of the math anymore.”
“As an educator, we often feel like we’re supposed to be the knowers. The magic of this content is it helps us all get on the same playing field. Students and educators are learning about the world together. It’s magic.”
Sometimes we create videos like this to show this, too. Or lessons in action like these to share the learnings and experiences with educators around the world. The list of quotes from experiences goes on and on.
Beyond teachers, students, and school leaders, we’ve also spent a lot of time with education researchers, thought leaders (example video with Tony Wagner), impact measurement humans, and practitioners in these past years. Here is a Research Report we’ve compiled to share some of these learnings.
This has all been to inform product and culture iteration in an effort to help teachers bring the love for learning about self, others, and our world into their classrooms in the most effective way possible.
To help teachers and students lead the way forward in exploring how we can all Be WE. How we can all create the kind of collective impact we dream of, with empathy and compassion at the foundation of our daily thoughts, words, and actions. How we can all reweave the incredible fabric of our communities and our home (Earth).
If you are still reading, you clearly care. Now take a deep breath, smile, take another deep breath, and scroll down!
Assessment Approach as we Grow
Impact assessment in this next phase will become more resource intensive. Impact assessment, done well and with fidelity, is resource intensive.. period. As we raise further funding, we’re focusing a lot on where and how that money comes in so that we don’t ever find ourselves focused on vanity metrics and can instead really deeply stay focused on growing our collective impact.
One of our key priorities is to integrate surveys, quizzes, and other assessment tools right into our platform experience. Educators are incredibly busy, and we have to design ways that make the assessment journey smooth, intuitive, and even fun for and with them.
We also seek to bring two team members on board who will focus entirely on qualitative and quantitative impact measurement alongside our teachers and school partners, and likely alongside a third party evaluation partner over time.
Impact assessment is imperative. We believe effective, transparent, meaningful assessment of our work matters, and we care a lot about designing effective strategies for measurement. We don’t want to accidentally have our bias impact results/findings, and we don’t want to mislead ourselves or you as we assess our work and improve.
We also don’t want to end up settling on super easy to measure things to raise more funding or get more press. We’re just really not about any of that. We want scale through depth. SEL and this kind of learning is super complex, and we want to work towards really assessing this stuff effectively.
We also want to publish not the stuff that makes us look great (we will do this too), but things we’re learning that help us iterate and improve. We want you to be able to see the journey of how we strive to be more effective together — not just make it sound like everything is peachy. (Example of that writing style, in another context. Aaand another context.)
Design of impact assessment strategies matters a whole lot. Which is part of why we’re eager to bring on more resources and humans to make this possible. With teachers signing up from around the world — teachers with students that all have different needs and strengths — it’s critical that we design a strategy that’s adaptive and inclusive across geographies, schools, and students.
We don’t want to end up with another standardized test that doesn’t holistically strive to understand a student and their learning experiences, and we don’t want to end up with studies that are more for marketing than actual understanding of our impact against our theory of change.
Yes. This will be hard to pull off as we go. If you’re eager to help, reach out!
Theory of Change
If (and when) every student grows up loving learning about self, others, and our world,
Then together we will reweave a more empathetic, understanding, compassionate, and peaceful world.
Together we will learn to love self, others, and our world.
A world where we address all of our huge challenges together.
A world where we co-imagine and then co-create the just, equitable, peaceful future that is within all of us right here and right now.
A world where we rediscover WE
and come back together.
A world rewoven.
Our Activities: Develop, Research, and Iterate Multimedia Content
Create stories specifically designed to open our hearts and minds to new perspectives, cultures, worlds, and mindsets. Videos, stories, and lesson plans about real humans from all over the world. Content that can be used in K-12 classrooms to teach academic goals.
Partner with schools, teachers, and organizations to reach and engage with youth so that these stories are brought into everyone’s life early in life, every day, and everywhere.
The Output: Broad Exposure & Access
More students learn and teach about new people, cultures, mindsets, and perspectives every day, while learning academics with love.
At home or in school. Alone or with others. Over time, in more types of learning spaces and more age groups.
Early in life, every day, and everywhere!
The Outcome: Hearts & Minds Opened
More students become more empathetic, globally aware and literate, academically motivated, and civically engaged critical thinkers. More students become storychangers. Become humans with open minds and hearts, ready to work together to address our challenges and reweave a beautiful future. More students are practicing compassion and deep wonder for self, others, and our world. More students love learning.
Imagine all youth learning math, reading, writing, and about our world — all at once, every day, and at the edge of their seats. In a way that weaves in the practices of compassion, and of cognitive and emotional empathy.
Now think about big challenges we face. Climate change. Water scarcity. Poor nutrition in schools. Food deserts. Income inequality and every kind of inequity. Access to clean energy for all. Gender-based violence. Bullying in schools and at work. Radical extremism being taught to too many children early in life.
The seemingly infinite list feels overwhelming sometimes, no?
Now think about this:
When millions of youth are learning empathy, curiosity, and compassion from the age of 3 and every single day, what might our world look like? Might we address these massive challenges? Might youth inspire political leaders, business leaders, everyday humans, and basically everyone on the planet to make more informed, mindful, equitable, and compassionate decisions in day to day life in big and small ways?
We’re betting all our marbles on it. We believe youth can and will enable humanity to effectively and efficiently address these challenges as an interdependent unit, in a world where this kind of “social change training” starts so early in life.
Imagine a world of youth that grow up with a passion for humble curiosity, critical thinking, compassion, and math. With hearts at peace, loving across difference. Youth on the journey from their heads to their hearts. A journey they help us all lead together.
Mission & Vision
Help you(th) love learning about self, others, and our world. And the deep interconnection between all three. To practice empathy, compassion, curiosity, and consistent awe for all life forms and our environment. To co-create a more peaceful, compassionate, beautiful world that we know is possible deep down in our hearts and souls.
You(th) learning to love self, others, and our world. As this happens, youth can lead us to a world rewoven. A world where humanity comes together to address our massive challenges. Where we recognize our interconnectedness and live as WE — caring for self, others, and our world with curiosity, empathy, compassion, and consistent awe.
More About Why We Exist
WE face deeply interconnected global challenges.
Challenges that affect every last life form here on Earth — our current home.
We need youth growing up learning to address these challenges in a way no previous generation has.
And how could we possibly learn to address these challenges effectively
without understanding the people and the planet these challenges impact?
We’ve got to practice acting on our desire for understanding one another
and seeing creative new ways we can move forward. Together.
We’ve got to raise authentic, empathetic, collaborative leaders
that recognize our interdependence and interconnectedness.
That live and breathe ubuntu.
That Be WE.
Addressing our challenges at their deepest roots
Too often, when working to address challenges we face in our world, we work to address symptoms. We provide aid or support, though we often (and by “we” we mean humanity) don’t get to the deeper ways to sustainably address challenges long term.
This is changing for the better now: through what people often term social entrepreneurship or sustainable development, the conversation and work is evolving to focus on finding ways to address challenges more systemically.
Though still, too often, the work we do to “address challenges we face as a species” isn’t actually getting to the root systemic issues. We pave better roads or create new access to medicines. Better school facilities or access to new technologies. New lending systems and cleaner sources of energy. Tangible, material changes. These things are incredibly important. Unbelievably important. Though we believe there is a next level to the change we wish to create in our world, and it is within all of us. Beyond “a hand up, not a hand out” is “an open heart and mind toward one another”. We believe this is the real deep root of the challenges we face.
Too many humans grow up without support to practice understanding diverse people, cultures, mindsets & perspectives. When we don’t use our empathy and critical thinking muscles, our ability to see one another as unique amazing humans starts to wither away. That leads to knots in our chests, bullying, inequity, injustice, intolerance, family fights, and violence. Bias. Judgment. Separation. Hate.
When we raise all children with open hearts and minds — with a lifelong commitment to mindful observation and to inner transformation — they will lead us to this dream world.
Youth will help us change the story.
Trying to address our global challenges with wit and new ideas can feel good, but only for so long. We can innovate to re-distribute all of our food and all of our funds, but how long will this last and what peace will it bring if we still hold on to judgment, prejudice, hate, or misunderstanding deep in our hearts and minds?
This is the impact we believe is possible if and when we work together to reweave our learning environments and the fabric of our communities.
Youth have big questions.
Youth have BIG questions. Youth want to understand the world. Youth want to understand why we’re here. Youth wonder how to make our world better.
And from an early age, this curiosity is often ignored, squashed, or put to the side “for when you’re older”.
Too often, youth are left to figure out what’s going on in the world on their own.
Alone. Without engaging ways to learn about our world.
There is a huge gap.
We believe we need this learning to be happening all. the. time.
That’s why we’re focused on classrooms first.
That’s exactly where a huge challenge exists:
Integrating social/emotional learning with our day to day lives
beyond infrequent after school programs and one-off class projects.
It’s hard to do in such a complex education system.
Sometimes people suggest there’s simply no way to change that.
We see things differently.
There IS hope.
There IS a way forward.
Tons of awesome programs already exist.
Plenty of people are working on this challenge.
And we’re not here to reinvent wheels.
That’s the magic of our content.
It can fit into any system: after school programs, class projects, and even your fractions unit in math class. Any community organization or school can find ways to enhance their work through using these kinds of stories.
As teachers and students say, “it’s a way to build math, reading, and writing skills while learning about the world in a real world way”.
Earth Needs Storychangers.
Humans that co-lead evidence-based action to untangle our world’s greatest challenges with our heart, head, and hands — to reweave the fabric of our communities and the world we live in.
We need humans who won’t let fear or inward mindset get in our way. Humans who believe in the magic of ubuntu. Humans who grow up learning how to Be WE (and that we are indeed interconnected) despite all of the pulls and pushes to live in any other way. Humans who don’t get caught up in comparing who’s doing good better or who’s being a better person, and instead focus on being better individually and together. Always.
Math need not be scary.
Practicing empathy can’t simply be a classroom’s “extra credit”.
We’ve got to weave it right into the heart of every kind of class. Even the one that often feels hardest to crack for many.
“How would you ever teach compassion and empathy in math class!?”
It’s a beautiful thing. Introducing our stories directly into math class, we have seen students more excited about learning about the world, and about learning math. Seeing is believing?
Math is a universal language. It can help us all practice empathy, ecosystem understanding, creativity, and collaboration. Anywhere in the world.
Imagine every child, educator, and parent using the BeWE story approach as their favorite way to learn math.
Close your eyes and imagine what that world will look like. A world where empathy, curiosity, compassion, and math learning blend together as one. When we crack that together, we can do anything.
Humans, WE got this.