Hello, Pals across the inter-webs!

As we kick off summer, we are also kicking off our charity partnership series with a great organization you may not know about — Design for Change! This July through September, we are giving a % of our socks sales to help them achieve their goals of inspiring kids to make our world a better place. And of course help them to help kids “defeet the norm” everyday. You may see their name on our product pages, and thought you were perhaps curious as to who you are helping to support!

So, you may ask yourself, what is Design for Change all about?

We asked Sanjli Gidwaney, director of Design for Change USA. We love her vibe and you will too.

In her own words:

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The Beginning

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Students using the Design for Change process: Feel, Imagine, Do, Share to understand what they care about and the problems they want to tackle.

Since college, I’ve been intrigued by the world of design thinking, the way products and services are designed, tested, and iterated upon. I was also interested in understanding why and how the American education system was essentially educating creativity and problem solving skills right out of our children. Design for Change seamlessly married my two passions in ways I never thought were possible.

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Kiran Sethi (middle), Sanjli Gidwaney (left) at the Be The Change Conference 2014 (India)

Design for Change (based in India) was essentially tasking young change makers to take on a problem in their OWN school/community, work through a design thinking methodology and than share their work to inspire others. The share component of DFC was essential – as young people completed their projects, they were entered into a competition.

The winning team would be awarded a trip to the annual DFC conference, held in a different country every year. This conference would bring together young people from over 35 countries to share their stories of change. To date, DFC has received over 8000 projects of change from around the world!

After a great meeting, I naively agreed to bring the movement to the USA. With no background in education or running a nonprofit, with no experience in the American education system – I felt utterly out of my league.

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Be The Change 2014 (India)– Design for Change Global Conference

Fast-forward

A couple of my own children later, and master’s in education, Design for Change USA has become a growing movement on national scale. Young people from across the country have used the Design for Change process to transform their own communities and their lives. While some of our change makers have focused their efforts on addressing high school drop out rates, others work tirelessly to address the obesity and drug epidemic plaguing their communities.

To date, over 20 American students have traveled to the Design for Change global conference in India, and Mexico. The winning team this year is a group of 5th graders from the Exploris School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Their project, to support the Refugee Community living in Raleigh assimilate to North American life, by providing them with access to fresh fruits and vegetables in a food dessert, has made them stand outs this year!

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Students from Design for Change Dallas student creating posters to end violence in their community.

Design For Change, Changing the World Today!

This year, Design for Change is honored to partner with Pals Socks, a company that strives to build and encourage unity between “unlikely friends.” At its core, design thinking is about building empathy, sometimes between people who come from different backgrounds and perspectives.

A feeling of compassion that can largely be inspired by the way we represent ourselves e.g., what we wear. That’s why we are so excited about the collaboration between Pals Socks and DFC USA – together, we hope to excite a new generation of change makers.

When I first started this journey, I had no idea how my life would twist and turn on along the way. I found so much comfort in knowing that students across the nation are finding their voice and feeling empowered through DFC. I continue to learn each and every day one what it means to do good and be good  – a journey I suspect will continue for a lifetime.

Students from New York work on their Design for Change project to reduce negative media exposure with their project “Positive Messages for Positive Change”

Students from New York work on their Design for Change project to reduce negative media exposure with their project “Positive Messages for Positive Change”

 

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