Becker event focuses on “Creating A Better World”

Becker event focuses on “Creating A Better World”

Published on: March 29, 2019


 Debra Pallatto-Fontaine, executive director of Global Initiatives at Becker College, welcomes attendees to “Creating A Better World: A Local Entrepreneurial Showcase/Marketplace” which was held at the Colleen C. Barrett Center.


Debra Pallatto-Fontaine, executive director of Global Initiatives at Becker College, welcomes attendees to “Creating A Better World: A Local Entrepreneurial Showcase/Marketplace” which was held at the Colleen C. Barrett Center.

A crowd of more than 60 local entrepreneurs, advocates, students and area residents gathered together recently at Becker College for a program on “Creating A Better World: A Local Entrepreneurial Showcase/Marketplace.”

“Our entrepreneurial showcase has the wonderful vision and mission to enhance the lives of people in Worcester,” said Debra Pallatto-Fontaine, executive director of Global Initiatives at Becker College.

The event was sponsored by the Yunus Social Business Centre @ Becker College, Worcester Roots, and the Center for Women and Enterprise and held at Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship, on Becker’s Worcester Campus.

Attendees were offered advice on how to turn their passions into a business or a non-profit to make the world a better place. Highlights included speakers, a marketplace and demonstrations including free henna designs and skateboarding, as well as tours of the Barrett Center.

Professor Francisco Vivoni, of Worcester State University’s Sociology Department, spoke about “Skateboarding and the Right to the City.”  He spoke about how the social practice of skateboarding transforms the meaning of space and noted the sport will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Addison Turner, of the Worcester Youth Co-op, spoke about building a new economic system and the actions we can take to achieve that goal. He highlighted a number of issues including addressing climate change and the power of microloans. Turner noted that there are new groups in Worcester forming broad coalitions.

Laurie Kalil, Assistant Director of Admissions at Becker College, has a henna design drawn on her hand by Roshida Goryawola during the entrepreneurial showcase at the Barrett Center.

Laurie Kalil, Assistant Director of Admissions at Becker College, has a henna design drawn on her hand by Roshida Goryawola during the entrepreneurial showcase at the Barrett Center.

The third speaker was Racquel Knight, a Becker College alumna and the founder of the For One Child Foundation. Knight, who graduated from Becker in 2018, grew up in a rural part of Jamaica where there were not enough chairs in classrooms for everyone to sit and learn.

“At Becker, Dr. Pallatto-Fontaine introduced me to the idea of service learning,” Knight said. After taking a service learning trip to her native Jamaica, and discovering that many students still did not have enough desks and chairs, she started on the road to her For One Child Foundation, which recently received nonprofit status.

Members of Racquel Knight’s For One Child team pose for a photo in front of their booth during the program. Pictured, from left to right, are Monica Benoit, assistant executive director; Alissa Quaratiello, secretary and social media coordinator, Racquel Knight, founder and executive director, Hayley Barrett, volunteer, and Noah Dartt, volunteer.

Members of Racquel Knight’s For One Child team pose for a photo in front of their booth during the program. Pictured, from left to right, are Monica Benoit, assistant executive director; Alissa Quaratiello, secretary and social media coordinator, Racquel Knight, founder and executive director, Hayley Barrett, volunteer, and Noah Dartt, volunteer.

 

“I took a course at Becker where I had to create a project proposal to address a social problem,” Knight recalled, “and I decided to make it more than an assignment.”

To date, Knight has been able to help provide desks and chairs for five schools in Jamaica.

“We aim to create a comfortable learning environment for children who attend schools in rural and remote Jamaica, where kids routinely struggle on a daily basis to find adequate seating,” she said.  “We envision a world where children can excel in classrooms without hindrance, pursue their passions, and find new opportunities for a bright future.”

Following the speeches, local skateboarders showed off their talent outside the Barrett Center and local entrepreneurs showcased their projects and companies in a marketplace format.  They included the Worcester Community Skate Shop, Worcester Roots, HVK Children’s Foundation, Worcester Youth Co-op, Ahnansi, Black Seed Farmers Market, Woo Rides, Future Focus Media Co-op, Greenvitalize Urban Growers, Worcester Intercollegiate Outdoors Initiative, and others.

For more information about the work the Yunus Social Business Centre @ Becker College does, go to:  https://www.becker.edu/academic/clinics-centers-institutes/yunus-centre/