By Emily Randolph, owner of Happy Lady Books and an award-winning author of children’s books for luxury hotels and resorts, as well as the author of the ‘It’s a King’s Life‘ series about very special, dog-friendly places.
As storytellers, my husband, photographer/photo illustrator Dan Merchant, and I are always looking to be inspired in our work with hotels and resorts. The origin of Happy Lady Books is in philanthropy, so we are particularly inspired by civic-minded organizations. Recently, we came across an open-source program, called Succeed Through Service, created by the Ritz-Carlton Company for at-risk children. It’s extremely impressive and an award-winning blueprint for young people across the United States and around the world.
Through Succeed Through Service, Ritz-Carlton employees mentor students in low income communities to follow their passions, imagine futures not previously envisioned, understand the value of giving back to their community, and learn valuable life skills that will help them forge a path of success. Developed in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance, The Ritz-Carlton formulated a core curriculum which leveraged the company’s embedded focus on training excellence and created Succeed Through Service which, since launching in 2009, has benefited over 15,000 students. To expand the program’s reach and impact, The Ritz-Carlton is making the curriculum available to the private sector, non-profits and educators on an open source, non-proprietary basis.
The Succeed Through Service Open Source Toolkit is a practical resource for establishing a comprehensive youth engagement program. It provides a road map on how to successfully partner with a school; engage and prepare employee trainers and mentors; set the stage and inspire the students; implement the curriculum and evaluate its impact. The curriculum includes modules on the value of social skills (eye-contact, a great smile and a firm handshake); healthy eating habits and how to safely handle food; group presentation skills; and the importance of teamwork and collaboration. The Toolkit also provides lesson plans and supporting PowerPoint presentations enabling volunteers to easily deliver the content in an informed, compelling manner, leveraging their own skills and competencies.
On January 30th, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and the Corporation for National and Community Service, recognized The Ritz-Carlton for outstanding contributions to advancing quality mentoring opportunities for the nation’s youth through the Succeed Through Service program. Honored during an awards ceremony at the 2014 National Mentoring Summit for the “Most Robust and Comprehensive National Youth Mentoring Program,” The Ritz-Carlton was also recognized for participation in the Corporate Mentoring Challenge.
“We are committed to enhancing the lives, well-being and career prospects for young people in communities in which we operate hotels, and our Succeed Through Service program provides a platform for us to deliver on that promise,” said Hervé Humler, president and chief operations officer. “It is our hope that by sharing the Succeed Through Service toolkit on an open source basis, others will be inspired to help young students flourish, complete their education and have a successful and productive life.”
Please share this program with any group you feel might benefit from it.