Tag Archives: Common ground

Dons NetCafe: Students give back to the people

Dons NetCafe: Students give back to the people

Talent is out there in the universities. We can see them going to class with their amazing ideas and with their academic spirit. The potential students have is amazing and is something that should be harvested.

And yes, in Santa Barbara California they came up with an idea to make talent within universities a thing that everybody knows. The people are called Dons Net Café and they are the ones responsible for creating programs and entrepreneurships that come directly from the mind of university students.

Dons Net Café defines itself as a Regional Occupational Program of the County Education Office and it is composed of 11 students that represent the 20-year-old idea of inspiring students to create positive social and environmental change. The Dons Net Café headquarters are located on the historic campus of Santa Barbara High School.  They have two pillars in order to achieve this:  ethical commerce and service-learning. They have many programs are aimed at student participation in the community.

Let’s take a look at their programs and how they are helping the students and the community with their approach to entrepreneurship and by “Doin’ Some Good in the World.

Don Nets Café principal activity is to inspire students to create positive social and environmental change through the aforementioned pillars which are ethical commerce and service-learning. The idea Dons Net Café’s has is to educate and empower students and community to so they can propose new ideas and create new ventures that benefit society and the environment. DNC also teaches their students to run profitable social entrepreneurial businesses.

Here are some of their ventures and programs to help community with the participation of students

Common Ground:

Common Ground  is a partnership between two high schools. The first high school is obviously located in Santa Barbara, California. The other high school is in  Asunción, Paraguay. Their idea is to produce and sell the beautiful handcrafted jewelry made by the Toba Tribe of Paraguay and within the United States. The indigenous Toba Tribe of Paraguay remain faithful to their tradition and they use the “old ways” to create their jewelry. This helps the tribe get food and water.  The profits of this venture go to three different organizations; the students of Dons Net Cafe and Escuela Agricola, the Toba Tribe, and a local elephant organization. The name common ground comes from the view that students from different countries can get along and create products that will take them to have a profitable business and to make amazing friends and relationships on the way.  

V.I.T.A. (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance):

This is one of the most amazing services that Dons Net Café offers to the community. The idea is to offer a free tax service called VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) to people when the time is right. Everybody can use a little extra income but in order to get it, people need to do their taxes. It is a daunting task, and many business offers this service for a price, but DNC offers this service for free. They have been giving this service to the community for  21 years now and they are the first high school in the nation to be awarded an EFIN, which gives the school the possibility to e-file directly to Ogden, Utah.  

The Ethical Coffee Addiction:

This one is a little local venture the students have in order to finance their trips and ventures. Their coffee is 100% organic, and in fact, it is roasted locally to produce arabica beans. They sell each bag of 9oz for $10.

Do Ubuntu:

It is a non-profit organization that helps families who are infected with the HIV virus. Women in Africa also make bracelets which are sold by $15 and $12. This venture is called “one bracelet at a time”.

Dons NetCafe: Students give back to the people
Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbert at flickr.com

SBici-Bike Shop:

This is a club that meets every Thursday from 3-4:30. The idea came from BiciCentro and it is a program that is aimed at 3rd-year students of the Dons Net Cafe. In this course, students receive classes on the functions of bikes and how to repair them and then they can be certified to help in cycling events. With this group, DNC is helping create the culture of bicycles in Santa Barbara and motivating people to use more the bicycle instead of the car.

The XSProject Foundation

The XSProject Foundation is located in Cilandak Barat, Jakarta, Indonesia. What they do is to purchase waste from trash pickers so they can have an income and support their families. They then convert the trash into fashionable bags and sell them. Dons Net Cafe calls helps this foundation sell their products locally in Santa Barbara. This venture is called Fashion with Passion.  

Be sure to also check this amazing post on charities that are supporting patients with cancer.