Geri Stengel

 
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Room by Room: Making a Social Impact Meets Reality Show

You never know where and when you’ll meet a kindred spirit. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I met one on the online. After all, making connections with like-minded people is what the Internet is all about.

social entrepreneur Sami NerenbergAt 24, Sami Nerenberg is the youngest adjunct faculty at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) teaching Design for Social Entrepreneurship. We both teach about the triple bottom line – money, people and the environment so we had a lot to talk about when we connected by phone.
 
We’re both fans of the author of Good to Great, Jim Collins, who came up with the concept of Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG).Teaching at RISD was a BHAG for Sami, which she achieved in pretty short order. Sami says she achieves her BHAG with luck, but then quotes Oprah’s definition “luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. It was clear from our conversation that Sami is gutsy, resourceful and creative.
 
Now she’s on to the next BHAG – developing a pilot eco-home redecorating show with inner-city teens. Room by Room has ten urban teens competing over 6 weeks to earn a healthy home makeover.
 
I bet you never thought of your home as being environmentally hazardous to your health. While any home can have problems, low income homes are even more likely to have lead paint, mold, pests and toxic cleaning products. These products can lead to learning disabilities, asthma, and even cancer. At-risk youths will learn about health issues and solutions and design principles which they will apply to projects.
 
Sami’s got some extraordinary help on the project: Majora Carter Group as their media consultant (Marora founded Sustainable South Bronx - where she pioneered green-collar job training and placement systems in one of the most environmentally and economically challenged parts of the US), Timberland as their publicity outlet, RISD and Brown University as their cohorts and Rhode Island state government as a funder. But she could use your help. If you’re reading this before May 31, 2009, please vote for Room by Room in the ideablob.com contest to win $10,000.
 
I'm in the process of redecorating my apartment so I know I'll be watching Room by Room. How bout you?