Daniel, a 19 year old from San Francisco, is passionate about bicycles, filmmaking, teaching, and one other thing he’s recently learned about: feedback.
“To be a part of getting feedback and using it to make things better is not something I really knew about,” he says, “but now I think it’s really important for probably everything we do.”
Daniel is a member of New Door Ventures’ Alumni Leadership Council, a group of young adults who have graduated from the organization’s job-training internship program. The council was formed in 2017 after New Door started participating in Listen4Good and became inspired to work with alumni on an ongoing basis to help collect, interpret, and make program decisions based on students’ opinions and perspectives.
New Door trains council members, who get a quarterly stipend, to run focus groups, make board presentations, and act as ambassadors for the organization, such as by speaking at conferences or assisting with marketing ideas.
Daniel says the focus-group work has been eye-opening even to himself, a former intern who now works part-time at Pedal Revolution, the bicycle-shop social enterprise run by New Door. He was surprised to learn, for example, that many interns felt overwhelmed during the program’s two-week orientation. In response, New Door stretched orientation out, holding fewer sessions each week, and Daniel reports that interns are more satisfied with the new schedule.
“Coming every day for two weeks made sense for me, so I didn’t think it was a problem,’ he says, “but that’s what you find out, new things you might not see.”
And Daniel is watching closely. He says his experiences at the bike shop and with the alumni council are preparing him for maybe one day starting his own nonprofit, similar to New Door but geared towards younger kids.
“If I do eventually branch off,” he says, “I can start right away implementing a feedback program that gets everyone involved.”