• Race to a Cure Authors

November Student Success Box #4

Welcome back to our Student Success Box Series—where we will be answering questions submitted by YOU and share our knowledge and insights to help you succeed. This week we’ll be diving into businesses/nonprofits, important skills to develop as youth, and how we learn effectively.

1) What do you suggest about starting and running your own business/nonprofit?

Thomas: This is a great question, and I have had experiences that let me give a realistic answer. My name is Thomas, I’m the finance officer for Race to a Cure, and since March 2020, I’ve been running my own grocery delivery business.

I think that the most important thing when starting a business or a nonprofit is that you are pursuing something you are passionate about. Ventures like these require countless hours to get running and constant maintenance. Simply put, if you are starting a business or a nonprofit, you are going to be working tirelessly. If the field your organization is operating in doesn’t interest you, chances are you will not stay motivated long enough to see it through. Another piece of advice I would give is to start with an original idea. Many businesses and nonprofits out there may have the same specialization as you; you’ll need to find your own brand, or else you might find yourself pitted against giants!

The trick to overcoming this hurdle is to find something unique, at least in your local area. Take an idea that someone else had somewhere else, for example, and implement it in your neighbourhood if no one else has. Unless you come up with something that is original on a larger scale (in which case, congratulations because that is not an easy thing to do), this is an easier way to fuel your entrepreneurial initiative.

Katrina: Hello everyone, I’m Katrina, and I’m a Social Researcher at Race to a Cure and the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Vancouver Storybook.

This may sound obvious, but my advice for anyone founding a business or nonprofit is to be very clear with what your business/nonprofit offers to people and its purpose to consumers. I think as young people, we are often tempted to create goods/services for the fun of creating things, but it’s also important to remember that there is a purpose or problem that you are addressing. Before you hit the ground running, I highly recommend brainstorming several things:

  1. What problem you are addressing

  2. Who your target audience is

  3. Your vision, mission, and goals as a business/nonprofit

Your identity as a business/nonprofit is super crucial. Similar to what Thomas mentioned, your identity and purpose as a business can help determine whether you have something new to offer.

2) What are some skills that you think will become important as youth grow up?

Debbie: Hi! My name is Debbie, and I’m a grade 11 student from Ottawa, Ontario. I work as an officer of external affairs and outreach here at Race To A Cure, and I am so grateful to be a part of such an inspirational team of young people.

Personally, I believe that effective communication, collaboration, and connection with others is among the many skills that will only become more relevant to our lives as youth as we grow up. For one, networking, making new connections, and learning from others gives us the opportunity to get to know ourselves a little bit better as people. More often than less, it leads to experiences that we would have never imagined if we hadn’t reached out. As we begin to carry more responsibility in our lives, effective collaboration and clear communication with our peers naturally becomes a crucial part of that responsibility as well. Communicating our own ideas and feelings is the key to building healthy relationships with our peers not only in a work setting, but in our social lives too—I truly believe that the closest relationships and the most creative ideas are born when we have an understanding of one another’s’ thoughts and perspectives.

3) How do you learn effectively?

Megan: One of the most effective ways for me to learn is using the Cornell Method. I really like the efficiency of Cornell note-taking, as it encourages you to use your own words to reflect and summarize your points. During class, I write down all my general text, points, and examples on the right-hand side of the page. When taking Cornell notes, you only put down high yield information; keep it concise and avoid copying everything your teacher says or puts on their notes/slides. After class, I simplify my points into main ideas and keywords on the left side, then write a short summary of the entire lesson at the bottom of the page. Another important thing to consider is using colour. I personally use my pencil for general text and then highlight keywords. If I feel extra ambitious, I rewrite my notes with different coloured pens and use a colour code system. Taking Cornell notes is especially useful in senior courses when there is a lot more detailed and comprehensive information to learn.

Final Note

We hope that our Student Success Box edition #4 provided you with helpful advice on businesses/nonprofits, important skills to have as youth, and more tips on learning. If you have any other questions related to school, mental health, or extracurriculars, the Race to a Cure Social Department Team is more than willing to let you have a glimpse at our insights. Feel free to submit questions to our Q&A on our Instagram stories, and we’ll try to answer them next time!

Take care everyone,

~ Race to a Cure Social Department

Article Contributors : Katrina Artes, Thomas Cwintal, Debbie Zhao, Megan Ong

Article Editors : Edie Whittington, Victoria Huang