social capital noun. the value of our social networks & relationships

Meet the Team: Harvest Hope Foundation

Published by Leah Mulrenan on

Meet the 2024 YGPC Harvest Hope Foundation team and their two volunteer coaches, Anil Persaud and Ezana Dawit!

The Harvest Hope Foundation Youth Team wants to create a supportive environment that empowers youth to overcome challenges related to food scarcity. They aim to establish community fridges stocked with fresh produce and essential food items in key locations throughout Lynn, such as popular gathering spots. They also hope to allocate funds towards awareness campaigns, promoting the availability of these resources and educating the community on the importance of nutrition.

Their coach, Anil Persaud, is an Enterprise Applications & Automation Leader with 13+ years of experience partnering with business leaders to execute technology-driven strategies that enable margin growth and drive cost reduction at Fortune 100 companies (Deloitte, Raytheon, United Technologies). He is a program management professional with experience leading multi-disciplinary teams and fostering a collaborative environment with business leaders and technology organizations.

Anil feels that the YGPC pushes students to think beyond academics and into social entrepreneurship. “I believe entrepreneurship skills will be much needed going forward and mentoring these students is a way to foster that.”

Harvest Hope Foundation’s coach Ezana Dawit is an analyst at DraftKings Inc. where he uses programming and data visualization to analyze and forecast player engagement. These findings are presented to middle and senior management. Ezana graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a degree in mathematics.

The goal of SCI’s Pitch Contest is to provide youth with the opportunity to decide how to strengthen their community while practicing valuable professional skills such as public speaking, project management, and community organizing. With the guidance and support of multiple professional volunteer coaches, each youth team will develop their project ideas and be in the driver’s seat of positive change. The youth teams will also have the opportunity to participate in skill-building workshops related to team collaboration, public speaking, and pitch development.

The Pitch program will culminate on April 6th, when SCI will host the in-person Pitch Event at the Microsoft NERD Center where $14,000 of grant funds will be awarded to at least 7 of our participating youth groups. Media are invited to attend the Pitch Event. Funded youth teams will have until November 2024 to complete their respective projects and submit a project impact report.

This project is supported by Kick It for a Cause, Winning Home, Inc., Social Equity Access Fund, Gail O’Rourke, founder, Benefact4, Enterprise Bank, the AmeriCorps Agency, Massachusetts Service Alliance, and a Massachusetts state budget line item, thanks to the advocacy of State Senator Cindy Friedman. Major support for SCI Woburn is provided by Cummings Properties.