What is a Social Entrepreneur?

“Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to move in different directions.” –Ashoka Innovators for the Public

SocialEntrepreneurshipToday’s social entreprenuers (that’s YOU, must! supporters) are in good company.  Some of the most notable role models proving that citizens who channel their ideas into action can do almost anything are:

  • Susan B. Anthony (U.S.): Fought for Women’s Rights in the United States, including the right to control property and helped spearhead adoption of the 19th amendment.
  • Vinoba Bhave (India): Founder and leader of the Land Gift Movement, he caused the redistribution of more than 7,000,000 acres of land to aid India’s untouchables and landless.
  • Dr. Maria Montessori (Italy): Developed the Montessori approach to early childhood education.
  • Florence Nightingale (U.K.): Founder of modern nursing, she established the first school for nurses and fought to improve hospital conditions.
  • John Muir (U.S.): Naturalist and conservationist, he established the National Park System and helped found The Sierra Club.
  • Jean Monnet (France): Responsible for the reconstruction of the French economy following World War II, including the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The ECSC and the European Common Market were direct precursors of the European Union.

Match as Many Kids as Possible

Diane Backens, a Community Based Specialist at Big Brothers Big Sisters of SLO County, is unwavering in her assertion that she is working her dream job.  Diane grew up on the Central Coast and is an elementary teacher by trade.  She spent the majority of her career in upstate New York advocating for youth in the school system and volunteering time and energy for various youth-focused boards.  Most recently, she has been applying her institutional knowledge and real world grit to get the Paso Robles branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters off the ground in what she describes as a gift to the community.

diane1_21c1b5ab9920daedce03090cd3895845Since February, there have been eight matches in the North County – mentors who take their “Littles” bike riding, hiking, to the beach and the zoo, spend time cooking and yes, lots of dessert eating.  The number of Littles waiting for a mentor, or “Big”, as they are referred to fluctuates day to day but approximately 30 kids remain on the wait list in North County.  While there is a lot of excitement and buzz in the community and by parents about the Paso Robles office, the statistic remains: only 1/3 of those on wait lists will be served.  Two obstacles?  Funding and mentors.

In walks must! charities and YOU, our partners.  This collaboration is a four-year, $253,000 project that will expand youth mentoring in an underserved region, making sure children, who ask for assistance from adults, will get the service they need.  It takes approximately $1,000 per year to serve each Little. – must! charities’ collaboration has meant a kick start to the North County and sustained presence.

Now we need YOU to help with finding our “Bigs” for these kids on the wait list.  But what exactly makes a good mentor?  If you can believe it, there is no mold you have to squeeze into – mentors bridge the gap between all demographics and socioeconomic situations.  Some mentors have children at home, some have grown children, and others have no children at all.  A match is more about putting a Big and a Llittle together that share some of the same interests, live in the same area, may or may not have similar backgrounds and perhaps have faced some of the same challenges.  It takes as little as 6 hours a month –hanging out at least every other week, and touching base with a phone call or postcard during the other weeks.

I asked Diane what her biggest challenge is in Paso Robles.  She smiled, “I hope there isn’t one.  I hope that things continue to flow and we match as many kids as possible.”  Program Director, Madge Morningstar adds, “The challenge was not having the location nor the staff to meet the need in North County. Now that we have both those things…our wishes have been granted. We hope to be able to keep these assets available for the long term!”

For more information on the project collaboration or to become a mentor, contact Becky at must! charities at 805.226.5788 or


Wine Festival Concert at Santa Margarita Ranch

imagesLook no further than Ancient Peaks for your Wine Festival festivities!  On Sunday, May 17th from 1-4pm kick it at the Santa Margarita Ranch with Ancient Peaks and the JD Project as they showcase Santa Margarita Ranch and raise funds for must! charities.  Just $5 at the door then beer, wine, and delish food from Haute Skillet will be for sale.  And like all chill events, BYO lawn chair and blankets – Ancient Peaks will take care of the rest!  For more information, visit their website.  Just another great way one of our partners is supporting community programs through must! charities!

A Success Story: Magali at the Boys & Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Club, recently sent must! charities the following Success Story:

MagaliMagali is a 7th grader at Flamson Middle School. When the school year started Magali did not want to be at the Boys & Girls Club and she made it known to the staff and her peers.  Her attitude from the time she walked into the Club to the time she left was very negative.  It was difficult to convince Magali to allow anyone to help her during Power House, our homework completion program, or to even have a conversation with her.

After becoming involved in Torch Club, a service club, her attitude started changing.  In choosing to be a part of Torch Club she chose to be part of something bigger than herself.  Magali’s investment in our Club improved so much that she ran for President of the Torch Club.  Although Magali did not win the election, she continued to fully participate in Power Hour, Torch Club, and volunteered to be a part of our singing program for our upcoming open house.

Being the leader of her peer group, she has a great amount of influence on their behavior as well.  Since her recent change in attitude, she has instructed peers not to “goof around” as much and take Torch Club more seriously.  She has improved her grade in English from a D to C and is working to further improvement.  During Torch Club, Magali is allowing herself to be more vulnerable and open up on topics.

It is inspiring to see her outlook on the Boys & Girls Club change over time.  She now enters our doors with a bright smile and joyful attitude.


Hope Family Wines Presents The Golf Tourney May 14th

Join Hope Family Wines on Thursday, May 14th at the Paso Robles Golf Club for a Paso Robles Wine Festival tradition – The Golf Tournament! This year, Treana and Remax have partnered to bring back a tradition that started many years ago. The Golf Tournament is all about having fun and raising money for must! charities – that is US!

the golf tournamentThere will be plenty of food, drinks and shenanigans as you and your team drive, pitch and putt your way through the newly renovated Paso Robles Golf Club. Prizes will be awarded for 1st Place, Most Mediocre and Last Place, so there’s no need to register a handicap for this tournament.
$200 per player for a four player scramble- REGISTER today!

must! charities Open House, Thursday May 7th

Come on down on Thursday, May 7th from 2-7 to chat it up with us – we’d love to see you and chat about what is happening at must! charities!

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