Ready… Set… StartingBloc

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January 26, 2014 by Caroline Dobbins

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas A. Edison

Sometimes opportunities enter our lives with the end purpose unknown. It is up to us to be wise and willing, to take the leap of faith knowing that the opportunity will end up being exactly what we make it. This is much easier said than done for most, I’m sure and I know it to be true in my life.

There are two specific times in my life that I can say, now in hindsight, that I had no idea what the opportunity would turn into but I felt, in the moment that I made the decision, that the opportunity that would help shape the rest of my life.


First, my decision to participate in an off campus study program as a Junior at Albion College by moving to Philadelphia without a job and without a place to live and trusting in the process The Philadelphia Center had created.


Second, my decision to participate in, Challenge Detroit, a one year fellowship program aimed to grow young leaders in the City of Detroit.

Of course I have made other important decisions, but these two stand out; they both had very large unknowns. Would I find a place to live and an internship in Philadelphia? Would the fellowship grow my network and inspire me to help revitalize a city I knew very little about as promised? If you know me, you know that YES is the answer to both of those questions. Both were and continue to be influential experiences in my life and I am grateful for the wisdom and the faith I making those decisions.

StartingBlocI have recently come face to face with another opportunity in which the impact is not immediately visible. I applied and was accepted to participate in StartingBloc, a social entrepreneurship fellowship that seeks to “bring together entrepreneurs, activists, educators, and  innovators struggling to create change.  We connect them to their tribe and give them access to the resources, co-conspirators, projects and support they need to create the impact they want.” This is a 5 day Institute that promises to be exhausting, empowering and inspiring while connecting individuals interested in making change happening in their communities and around the world to influential leaders, necessary resources and each other.

I am excited, honored, nervous, and anxious about this new opportunity and I find myself again saying “how will this shape my future”.  Of course, it is up to me and only me to decide the answer to that question.  It will certainly be hard work but I believe that I am where I am for a purpose. I live, work and play in a city that is on the world’s stage, and not for a good reason but I wake up each day excited about the positive change that others are creating in the city and know that I want to figure out how I can do that too.  I certainly got a taste of change making through Challenge Detroit, but I want to continue and I see StartingBloc as exactly that a starting point for me to explore and further understand how I can best contribute to the city that I now call home.

I will be attending the StartingBloc L.A Institute ’14 March 6th through the 11th. That’s just 38 days away! I will be blogging regularly 3 to 4 times a week leading up to the institute to share stories of other social entrepreneurs, explore what I’m learning leading up to the institute and why I am interested in social entrepreneurship.  If you’d like to support my effort to attend the StartingBloc Institute, I will be fundraising to help defer some of the cost, you can donate by following this link any help is much appreciated.

I’m looking forward to exploring this new opportunity and sharing my ups, downs, successes and failures with anyone and everyone who cares to read.


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