Our Story 2018-06-05T21:18:40+00:00

The Birth of the Idea

Lionel Sosa, Co-Founder

In 2001, while a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University in Cambridge, I was asked to lead a one semester study to uncover the answer to this question:

“Why are some Latinos who come from very poor families succeeding at Harvard while many of their siblings, friends and relatives are on welfare or in jail?”

Luckily, our research was made easy by the fact that we had the perfect laboratory right in front of us:18 first-generation Latino students from poor families attending and succeeding at one of the toughest institutions in the world–all while their families and friends were living in conditions under which their life had little hope of improving.

By semester’s end we had the answer:
In every case, someone had intervened in the child’s life and planted a foreign thought, and thus, a new expectation: “You are going to college.” All the Harvard students credited either a teacher or a parent with setting that expectation – one that became real in their minds. And real in their life.

The way to solve the problem became obvious:

  • Make every teacher that intervener; the one who changes expectations

  • Give him or her the tools to make intervening easy

  • Don’t give the teacher “one more thing to do,” but rather, make the offering so effective, that it gives them three or four fewer things to do

  • Engage the parent frequently

In designing YOKC, we have taken that learning, packaged it, tested it, and refined it. So that now, that new expectation with full curriculum can be delivered daily in classrooms and in the home three times a week.

Of course, not every child will go to Harvard. Not every child will or should attend traditional college. Still every child should be motivated to pursue whatever education they choose beyond high school. Let’s begin by having every student and every parent set higher educational expectations. For themselves. And for the their family. It can change the world.

Yes! Our Kids Can was established in 2016 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit to operate as a social enterprise. Its primary goal is to help every parent and every teacher create an expectation of success and prosperity in the mind of every disadvantaged child in a way that is measurable, scalable and affordable.

The Birth of the Idea

Lionel Sosa, Co-Founder

In 2001, while a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University in Cambridge, I was asked to lead a one semester study to uncover the answer to this question:

“Why are some Latinos who come from very poor families succeeding at Harvard while many of their siblings, friends and relatives are on welfare or in jail?”

Luckily, our research was made easy by the fact that we had the perfect laboratory right in front of us:18 first-generation Latino students from poor families attending and succeeding at one of the toughest institutions in the world–all while their families and friends were living in conditions under which their life had little hope of improving.

By semester’s end we had the answer:
In every case, someone had intervened in the child’s life and planted a foreign thought, and thus, a new expectation: “You are going to college.” All the Harvard students credited either a teacher or a parent with setting that expectation – one that became real in their minds. And real in their life.

The way to solve the problem became obvious:

  • Make every teacher that intervener; the one who changes expectations

  • Give him or her the tools to make intervening easy

  • Don’t give the teacher “one more thing to do,” but rather, make the offering so effective, that it gives them three or four fewer things to do

  • Engage the parent frequently

In designing YOKC, we have taken that learning, packaged it, tested it, and refined it. So that now, that new expectation with full curriculum can be delivered daily in classrooms and in the home three times a week.

Of course, not every child will go to Harvard. Not every child will or should attend traditional college. Still every child should be motivated to pursue whatever education they choose beyond high school. Let’s begin by having every student and every parent set higher educational expectations. For themselves. And for the their family. It can change the world.

Yes! Our Kids Can was established in 2016 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit to operate as a social enterprise. Its primary goal is to help every parent and every teacher create an expectation of success and prosperity in the mind of every disadvantaged child in a way that is measurable, scalable and affordable.

Background:

Yes! Our Kids Can promotes a Success Mindset™ among economically disadvantaged and fragile families by bridging the gap between school and home. A Success Mindset™ includes strategies and tactics for instilling grit, resilience, high expectations and aspirations, self-efficacy, and character building. The bilingual program, which begins in PreK, utilizes fun, culturally-relevant songs, videos, activities and games, along with messages that reach and motivate parents three times a week on their smartphones.

It also includes an on-demand video training portal for parents and teachers. Because of its unique digital delivery system, YOKC is scalable and affordable. It adds thousands of users without duplicating infrastructure or manpower. Measurability is built into the software that tracks usage in real-time, reporting in detail how parents are engaging with the content and how their children are completing activities.

The Journey

2001

The Harvard study was conducted – The idea began

2002

Started planning

2003

Designed the program

2004

Connected with Floresville

2005

Implemented phase 1 at Floresville

2006

Implemented phase 2 at Floresville

2007

Outreached to other superintendents

2008

Redesigned the program

2009

Visited with P-16/communities in schools

2010

Worked with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and GenTX

2011

Connected with Pearsall

2012

Implemented program at Pearsall

2013

Designed business model

2014

Called on investors

2015

Opted for Not-for-Profit status – Hired skeleton crew – Self funded

2016

Designed 501c3 social enterprise model – Hired more staff – Self funded

2017

Operated with minimal foundation and corporate funding – Launched pilot application & program

Our Mission:

To create a Success Mindset™, disrupting the cycle of generational poverty.

FAQs

It’s a joyful, engaging and fun digital learning tool designed to encourage students and their parents, especially those living in poverty, to stay in school, work hard and make good grades. It also helps them envision a brighter, more successful future and career and starts them on a college track.

Because research has proven that the more disadvantaged the family is, the less likely they are to even think of going to college. Research also suggests that if a teacher intervenes early and sets the student on a college track, that they are more likely to study harder, make better grades, stay in school, graduate and lead more prosperous successful lives.

This tool encourages every child, no matter their background, to prepare for a prosperous life and fulfilling career, whether they choose college or not. Today, most all well-paying jobs require some education beyond high school.

In early research, teachers have affirmed that Yes! Our Kids Can is valuable because with its grab-n-go developed curriculum, it’s easy and fun for them and their students. It  fulfills many of the state and federal teaching mandates. and helps make their job easier and more fun.

The tablet and smartphone are the primary delivery devices; also, connected computers and flat screens. The games, songs and videos can be opened in school at home or on the run.

Research shows] that lower-income families have a higher rate of smartphone ownership and usage than the middle-income families. Schools are investing heavily in technology and most all are ready for implementation.