How to: Revitalize Your Community

by Alex in General / 03.09.09

Last week, a couple of us here at MindBites WHQ attended a few sessions at RISE Austin, a local entrepreneurial conference. It was great to see the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well. The speakers were fantastic, and generous enough to donate their time and energy (for FREE people!) to those of us out there just getting started. In addition, we met some interesting people with a wide variety of business ideas, models, and funding.

uplift-logoOne such company that caught our eye is a non profit called Uplift Austin. Founded by Gina LaMotte, Uplift Austin is dedicated to transforming low-income areas by using sustainable design to renovate area high schools, teaching students about design and empowering them to transform their own schools and spaces within their communities. Their mission states “UpLift Austin transforms public schools into sites of unexpected color and spirit by educating youth in the fundamentals of sustainable design through the real-life renovation of their own schools. Through hands-on projects led by local design professionals, students learn about promising ″green″ career fields and sustainable living practices.”

The project provides curriculum for area high schools, connections to the local sustainable design and renovation community, and funds and leadership for the student-initiated campus projects. And LaMotte has big plans for her green organization. Just a couple of the long-term goals for the project include a model that can be duplicated in school districts across the country and a for-profit design consulting firm that will hire Uplift Austin graduates and feed revenue back into the non-profit program.

Uplift Austin is a great example of a company that is based on the founder’s passions, inspired to do good things within the community, and that believes in itself enough to dream big dreams. This is a program that can make a huge difference within school communities in Austin and within the lives of the students in those schools. Ms. LaMotte is taking her knowlege and passion for beautiful, sustainable design, and passing it on. We should all take a lesson from her and share our knowledge and passions with those around us.

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