ACCESS Innovation

Reflecting on 10 Years of ACCESS

ACCESS Innovation
Reflecting on 10 Years of ACCESS

Taking a Non-Profit to 10 Years

Founder Daniel Francavilla shares the story of ACCESS

The introduction is posted below, but Find the Full Story Here.

Exactly 10 years ago, I was put in front of an audience of thousands of people at a church in Brampton, where I was asked to present my experience in the Dominican Republic. I had just returned from an exposure trip through school to see what life was like in the developing world. We did not stay at resorts or have any all-inclusive vacation experiences. For this trip, we stayed with middle-class families, and as a result of living in that situation on the trip for a week, as a grade 10 high school student, I was impacted by my exposure to what life was really like in a developing country, outside of the resort gates.

I was reminded how most of the world lives, with substantially less income and daily spending than Toronto, or even smaller cities throughout North America. It was a big culture shock to see the living conditions, especially in the rural areas and the urban areas within the country Dominican Republic, which everyone sees so much as a resort destination.

Daniel with children in the Dominican Republic in January 2006

From meeting people there especially students or people that should have been in school that were my age, what we learned was that they really wanted to go to school, they wanted education, they wanted to get out of the current situation they’re in, the cycle of poverty, lack of job opportunities, lack of an education. Several of the kids asked us to help them to learn English, because if they knew English it opens them up to a world of other opportunities (whether its locally in tourism or in business or beyond). We know that education is the key to a better future in any society, whether that standard education (grade 1 through high school) or education in the form of learning about entrepreneurship, how to make things, learning how to produce something new — there’s much more that education includes.

Back from that trip, during that presentation, I stood up there and asked for money for school uniforms — because that was the simplest thing that I could think of to bring back (I found out that they could not go to school without a uniform including shoes and proper uniform attire). I thought that was ridiculous and unfair, so the first collection after my first presentation that weekend (March 4th and 5th 2006), my request was to give enough money to purchase uniform for 1 student. We predicted that the freshly named ACCESS would be receiving small change donations, as people tend to give in the collection basket. (The name ACCESS was established the night before as an acronym, “Allowing Children a Chance at Education with School Supplies”, pretty lengthy but it had to be done, as the church said we couldn’t collect anything without a defined cause and confirmed name). I sat outside in the hallway with a basic sign, a few pictures from my trip. I ended up collecting over $8000 that day, which was a huge sign to go ahead with this project.

From a Collection to a Team, Speaking and School Supplies
The Story Continues Here

Educate. Empower. Inspire.