Sept. 29, 2010
6AM lifts followed by running sessions, class, practice, homework, managing an NPO... something doesn't seem to fit. Except in the case of Brooks Dyroff, a sophomore on the defending National Champions Boston College Men's Hockey team. Who has helped run a non-profit organization, CEO4 Teens (Create Educational Opportunities 4 Teens) for more than four years.
Dyroff started small in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado by doing service work in high school. "It was something I kind of enjoyed," Dyroff explain. "Learn to skate programs, bagging lunches at homeless shelters, little things really."
But he felt he could do more. "My friends and I just thought that we weren't really helping many people. We thought we could help on a larger scale."
So in the summer of 2007, Dyroff along with friend Kenny Haisfield, a student at North Carolina, founded CEO4 Teens. After meeting with CPAs and traveling to Indonesia to do some background research, they targeted a program of Campuhan College located outside of Bali. Their goal? To help Indonesian students receive a higher level of education in the English language as well as in professional computer skills, things that students in the United States often take for granted.
"It boiled down to we live in a world where we can get a good education... but a lot of people around the world can't," he asserts. "These basic skills can really help improve the lives of these students, help them go out and make money to support their families, which is something they wouldn't be able to do without this education."
Cost of tuition and books is $1,000, and CEO4 Teens sponsored ten students each of the past three years. Even with the recent economic downturn, Dyroff is excited that the program has sufficient excess funds to sponsor a fourth class.
"It's very exciting and pretty cool that even in the tough economy we can keep up."
But what about the time commitment and all the details? "When I look back, there were a lot of little things that made it hard, but a lot of things fell into place." Though Dyroff has not been to Indonesia since 2007, he and Haisfield regularly Skype with the program director, Wayan Rustiasa, who is very active in helping to choose candidates for the program.
"We've come so far since the beginning and going to Bali with a translator, meeting with our CPA, all the hard work," Dyroff said. "But the program is in great hands, we couldn't have asked for a more genuine guy to be running things down there."
In addition to the CEO4 Teens program that Dyroff started in high school, he has a similar program geared towards Boston-area students. This past spring, CEO4 Teens launched a GED (General Equivalency Diploma) program through Roxbury Community College to raise the approximate $600 in fees (between classes, resources, and testing) to earn a GED. Similar to Indonesia, Dyroff hopes that the GED program will help broaden the students' otherwise limited educational and career prospects. In its first run, the CEO 4 Teens raised enough money to sponsor three students through a full GED program, and these students currently await their exam scores.
Dyroff is excited to bring CEO4 Teens to the United States and helping local students gain the educational necessities for success, an idea no better obviated than through the catch phrase on the organization's website:
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will be full for a lifetime."