Spotlight on Pencils of Promise

11 04 2011

Originally seen on, March 28, 2011

Charity Spotlight | Pencils of Promise

March 2011 | By Jillian Diedrich

Founded less than three years ago, Pencils of Promise is a nonprofit that started out with a $25 deposit and has grown to build more than 20 schools in the developing world.  PoP also strives to train young leaders to take action at home and abroad.

To get the real story behind Pencils of Promise, I interviewed two amazing women who stand behind the cause: founding member and Director of Outreach, Mimi Nguyen, and the Director of Youth Programming, Jocelyn Kmet.

“PoP is a community of passionate individuals dedicated to education for all, and this community is built upon the belief that every person has the potential to create good in this world – regardless of age, ability, or money,” said Mimi, who has helped founder Adam Braun change the world ‘one pencil at a time’.

One of Mimi’s goals as Director of Outreach is to increase membership on the Professionals for PoP community site.  This newly launched program helps guide professionals on how they can get involved.  Visit the site directly at

The overall long-term goal is “access to education” – in order to bring down the statistic that 75 million children in this world are without access to education.

“We train young leaders by providing programs here that will inspire them to take initiative against a key issue: education as a basic human right,” said Mimi. “Through our education, our supporters become advocates for Pencils of Promise’s work abroad.  In our youth program, we’re launching PoP Leadership Institute this summer so check it out!”

Jocelyn Kmet, Director of Youth Programming, came aboard the PoP team last summer to run the summer internship program.  She didn’t realize then that the three-month commitment would change her life.

“I have the best job in the world!” said Jocelyn. “I get to work with the most amazing, passionate and inspiring young people who are looking to change the world.”

The youth programming team develops toolkits and campaigns for students to get involved, spread awareness or fundraise for PoP.  An International Youth Council is being created along with a social entrepreneurship and leadership summer training program for high school students.

“I want Pencils of Promise to provide students all across the world with the best programs to allow them to easily participate in the creation of good whether through PoP or within their own communities,” said Jocelyn.

PoP strives to engage students at the college level and under by hosting live webinars and video chats for students to get to know the team and to receive guidance on how to join the movement.

Interested in getting involved? Both Mimi and Jocelyn advise you to combine your passions and your talents with your volunteer project.

“I always wanted to find something I was truly passionate about and that I could devote myself to,” said Jocelyn. “That is what PoP is to me.”

Join The PoP Movement at