Our Mission

We cultivate the optiMize Community

Bringing people together for transformative education

Creating projects that illuminates possibilities

In passionate pursuit of a positive future

Practicing love and care in all we do

To help everyone we meet ask themselves, “Why not me?”


Our Guiding Principles

Our Principles talk about how we relate to each other, how we work together, and what we strive for. They are at the core of everything we do, from how we make organizational decisions to treat each other on a daily basis. We believe that practicing them helps us thrive as an organization and grow as individuals. We hope that you'll join us and help us build on, refine, and strengthen our Guiding Principles! We successfully cultivate the optiMize community by consistently committing to build, foster, or provide:

  1. Pragmatic Optimism
  2. Growth Through Action
  3. Supportive Community
  4. Inspiring Learning Experiences
  5. Inclusive Collaboration
  6. Responsible Autonomy
  7. Caring Mentorship
  8. Wholehearted Positive Energy
  9. A Valued Part Of Our Local Community


1. Pragmatic Optimism

We believe a better future is possible.

We believe we can use our lives to change the world.

We value people and planet.

We believe in the urgency of the human situation.

We believe change begins from within ourselves.

We help everyone ask "why not me?"

We take practical steps to make progress.

We support social impact of all shapes and sizes.

We create positive alternatives to the status quo.

We build for sustainable impact.

We live the future we want today.


2. Growth Through Action

We know our principles.

We create visions of greatness.

We take action.

We reflect.

We get perspective.

We reframe failure.

We appreciate positive growth.

We let go of shame.

We adapt.

We develop intentionality.

We recognize that growth usually isn't linear.

We keep innovating.


3. Supportive Community

We belong to a lifelong community of social innovators.

We step up to serve our community however we can.

We inspire each other.

We keep each other going.

We ask each other for help.

We practice vulnerability together.

We take care of each other.

We share for everyone’s benefit.

We laugh together!

We compliment and complement each other.


4. Inspiring Learning Experiences

We believe students can change the world.

We illuminate possibility.

We awaken curiosity.

We liberate human creativity.

We pay attention to purpose.

We respect different learning styles.

We help each other take ownership of our learning.

We are all teachers and learners.

We are a student-driven organization.


5. Inclusive Collaboration

We believe complex challenges require multiple perspectives.

We learn from different perspectives.

We always seek to understand.

We acknowledge that we might not fully understand.

We own our strengths and our limitations.

We appreciate each other’s strengths.

We foster a collaborative spirit.

We share information and ideas openly.

We make decisions for the common good.

We practice participatory governance.

We build relationships with organizations who share similar values.


6. Responsible Autonomy

We believe everyone has something great to offer.

We own our own lives.

We form our own beliefs.

We all make freely chosen decisions.

We consider how our actions impact others.

We do what we say we’re going to do.

We own our actions and their consequences.

We define our own success.

We collaborate freely.

We communicate to resolve conflicts.

We are careful with the word “should.”

We take responsibility for our own growth.

We reject all forms of coercion.


7. Caring Mentorship

We mentor first and foremost for the benefit of the mentee.

We find the good first.

We help each other clarify ideas.

We share our experiences and expertise.

We never tell someone what to do.

We try to be useful, not right.

We help people utilize strengths.

We get on the same side of a problem.

We ask the hard questions from a place of care.

We help each other find a way forward.

We help each other develop accountability.

We never tell someone what to do (it’s worth saying twice!).

We cultivate relationships for mutual growth and learning.


8. Wholehearted Positive Energy

We bring positive vibes whenever we can.

We find the good.

We choose compassion.

We take care of our own energy.

We treat ourselves kindly.

We practice mindfulness.

We practice gratitude.

We practice vulnerability.

We operate on trust.

We listen actively.

We appreciate.

We have “more fun than a barrel of monkeys!”


9. A Valued Part Of Our Local Community

We help people in our town ask “why not me?”

We participate in improving life in our local community.

We value local challenges as much as global challenges.

We help each other grow as citizens.

We’re here to stay.

Thanks to Zingerman’s for providing a great example of Mission and Guiding Principles!