Non-profit

Celebrating Skill Diversity with The Dignity Institute- A Nonprofit Engaging Vulnerable Youth in Enrichment Programs

The Dignity Institute conducts skills enrichment programs for youth

The most crucial diversity for business performance is skill diversity. Individuals, teams, and organizations can all benefit from a diverse skill set. Skill diversity prepares us for some of today’s most pressing business challenges. Diversity skills are the abilities required to be adaptable and accommodating to various lifestyles and needs, as well as to accept the perspectives and expertise that different people bring to the workplace.

We talked with Michele Simos, co-founder of The Dignity Institute. The Dignity Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth by combining the world-renowned SMART Conversations® workforce readiness curriculum with the healing power of the arts to shift their mindset and accelerate personal development. Each person we have the privilege of influencing creates a ripple effect felt within their community and has the e potential to reverberate throughout the world. They engage vulnerable youth in enrichment programs that foster leadership and self-sufficiency.

Q
Tell us a little about your nonprofit.

Michele Simos: It is critical to emphasize the importance of providing youth with the personal leadership skills they need to succeed. Our young BIPOC youth often live at the edge of food and housing insecurity due to circumstances out of their control. We believe that by teaching them interpersonal skills, communication skills, and decision-making skills, they will be able to overcome these limitations and chart their course, one fueled by passion.

Q
In today’s competitive world, how important are skills?

Michele Simos: Skill development is significant considering the current situation. This is why we emphasize communication and interpersonal skills. They are the most in-demand skills among employers today. In the past, there has been a focus on hard skills or technical skills. But things have changed since then. Soft skills are now being identified and labeled as power skills. Although technical skills are easier to teach, if a person lacks soft skills, it will be difficult – if not impossible – to work in a team and succeed in an organization.

Q
How does “The Dignity Institute” provide skill development?

Michele Simos: Through our nonprofit, we offer training programs that give youth guidelines for productive conversations and engage youth in peer conversations about important topics. We partner with youth-serving organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs to design, develop and deliver – or train others to deliver – specialized curricula. Our academic enrichment programming occurs as part of afterschool programs. However, we would like to partner with schools, as we believe that these skills should start being taught in schools at a very young age, as they foster a passion for learning, which begins with curiosity. We’d also like to share that we’re building an entire online leadership curriculum through our Youth Leadership Academy, which will allow us to reach a global audience.

Q
What will be your message to our readers?

Michele Simos: To our youth, I would encourage them to identify what is most important to them. Learn about yourself, have an open mind, and pay attention to what inspires you. Don’t be concerned with what others are saying; instead, explore your area(s) of interest. If you’re interested in space, find a program and keep exploring. Discover your core values, the things most important to you, and apply them to everything. That will keep you focused and be your North Star. Be a person who is curious and eager to learn. Finally, have fun, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and dream big.

Take ideas and spread the word. Gain access to the world of corporate volunteers. Get in touch with our team and share your Impact Story on our platform.

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