Kiva headquarters was buzzing with the voices of middle school students on a Friday in July. The students received a tour of the office and Kiva U’s Jessica Hansen gave students an introduction to Kiva. The students learned some of the ins and outs of the microfinance lending cycle and its importance in global development.
The group was part of Aim High, a summer program serving the greater San Francisco Bay Area with the goal of closing the opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income middle school students. They offer engaging, supportive, and tuition-free summer learning programs that foster critical thinking, instill good academic habits, and cultivate a love of learning. Their academic classes reinforce what students have learned in the previous school year, and prepare them to succeed in the school year ahead. Their visit to Kiva headquarters was a way for students to learn about career opportunities in the non-profit sector.
The students were grouped up with Kiva interns for a “life map” activity. Each intern described their paths and background that led them to Kiva. The students received career advice from interns and then shared what they learned to the larger group. The students enjoyed hearing that both interns and staff all have had different life paths and that there is no single formula for how they arrived at Kiva. However, students understood that everyone who works at Kiva has a Bachelor’s degree, showing them the importance of attending college. Aim High chooses to focus on middle school students because research has pointed to the time between elementary school and high school as a critical juncture for keeping at-risk students engaged in their education. It is a moment when a little intervention could go a long way to helping students graduate from high school and go on to college. The students witnessed and enjoyed Kiva’s collaborative, hard working and fun atmosphere
Kiva applauds programs such as Aim High, especially when their goal of supporting local, at risk youth populations so closely aligns with Kiva’s own mission of supporting at risk populations world wide.