StirFry Club (11-17 yr olds)

StirFry Club (11-17 yr olds) : how empathy results from understanding ourselves and others

United StatesEugene, United States
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The StirFry Club is a place where 11-17 year olds focused on personalities (who are we?), time (how to work with it), and money/ resources (how to generate and use wisely). Understanding ourselves and others leads to better empathy and communication. Time in our lives to listen is key for empathy.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

people grew up respecting and understanding themselves and others, and knowing how to manage their own dreams, time, and resources?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Many misunderstandings occur in relationships because people tend to attribute their own style and motivations to others when reaching for empathy. People reach a working age often with no solid background in understanding themselves and other people, how to manage their own time and energy effectively, or financial/ resource generation and management. Or we get information that is not correct for a global civilization facing climate change.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Stir Fry Club addresses the three areas of personality, time and resources in a small group setting that builds connections between participants as well as explores, delivers and practices information and skills in these areas. A facilitator guides the group initially, perhaps for a year, but the relationships, skills and knowledge all have potential to keep making a positive difference for decades to come. Stir Fry uses an eclectic mix of strategies for learning. It is a curriculum in development, radically different from similar attempts because of both the world view and the integration of diverse elements. The goal is an adaptable, solid curriculum that can be used across diverse groups, and that provides real world skills.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

how do we feel about making decisions? do we agonize before, anxious to get things settled, or do we enjoy the openness of possibility, and agonize afterwards over possible lost opportunity? does your boyfriend or girlfriend always want to leave the next date open, or pin it down ahead of time, and how does that match with you? This is an example of how people feel unloved when maybe that is not the real issue.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

This is an after school class I ran in my home for 8 girls ages 11-17 several years ago, and have wanted the time to develop further. Projected impact could be exponential since the goal would be a solid curriculum and club structure that is replicable and adaptable, and might spread into schools, community centers, and churches. it was inspired partly by the book "Your Money or Your Life", where identifying priorities and saving for independence are stress; partly by personality assessments (Myers-Briggs), and more. My goal is to see teens reach adulthood with self-understanding, people skills, creative problem solving and time management skills, and financial resources that let them choose to do what they really want in life. If they travel, volunteer, build businesses, stay home as a new parent, society will benefit from happy, engaged citizens and the next generations they parent.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Realistically? 5 years part time developing and testing the curriculum in smaller pilot groups possibly just in Oregon, then 5 years with larger target groups in Oregon, California and possibly Washington.. Sometime in the second 5 years, finding we have a solid and replicable curriculum that really delivers the value we aimed for. I will be networking and spreading other work through my project Room to Grow (and through Dances of Universal Peace), so this may spread beyond the U.S. Have assisted in education in Costa Rica, Brasil and Turkey, seem to connect well across languages, cultures.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Not supported now. Could be supported many different ways, depending on who and where offered. Clubs and participants are encouraged to practice generating funds for club and individual goals as part of the curriculum, and have the option of continuing as a support group after the facilitator and curriculum are done. Curriculum costs will be kept low, facilitators funded by the institutions interested and/or philanthropy.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Teens, parents; schools, churches, foundations, NGOs, government. Boys and Girls Club and similar groups approached. Very interested in working with teens in foster care and teen parents; was a Healthy Start home visitor for high risk teen parents for some time.

Founding Story

As a teen, I was able to be a changemaker and start projects that are still going. As a young adult and mother, I found I still had a lot to learn and a lot less time to learn or create. Inspired partly by the book "Your Money or Your Life", partly by my continued interest in personality systems and psychology, partly by experiences with peer counseling. I assisted the teacher of a peer counseling class for teens, that kept 22 teens coming for over 6 months in a weekly after school class. My StirFry class was smaller, girls only and for my godchild and friends. Work life includes being a Healthy Start home visitor for new parents, all high risk teen parents. I would have love to offer this potentially life changing curriculum to such teens.


I do not have a team for this as it will not be active again until I can give it time (which funding would allow). But I do partner and network well. Working with a parent education group re curriculum for parents and young children (Parenting Now!), volunteering with an initiative here to reduce child abuse in our county 90% by2030 (90by30), part of a monthly education networking cluster at the Chamber of Commerce, read in schools and Headstart.
About You
Room to Grow Educational Publishing
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name

Room to Grow Educational Publishing

How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, OR, Eugene

Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, Businesses, Regional government.

Supplemental Information
On which of the following California counties does your project focus its impact? (check all that apply):

San Mateo, Santa Clara, Monterey.

How does your idea help cultivate empathy skills to strengthen communities and equip young people to become leaders of change?

1) teens use personality systems in a group exploration of the variety of ways we perceive and act in the world, leading to better knowledge of self and others, and better communication and empathy skills. 2) start with dreams and interests and teaches time and money skills to reach for those dreams. Result is less frustration, more happiness in our world!


feedback, similar curriculum in existence


feedback, collaborations

Tell us about your partnerships

Discussed partnership with Parenting Now! which is interested in Room to Grow's first package of book and games for their Young Parents Program. Would like to work with Heart to Heart's programs for foster teens. Schools and churches for finding teens for third group. I participate in a Educational Research Cluster at Chamber of Commerce, well aware of who offers evaluation services.


Confidentiality and trust are issues that have to clearly addressed in each group, so curriculum needs to be designed to protect participants while still allowing for some depth of connection to develop. Mixed gender groups have their own difficulties, yet improving communication between the genders is also critical. Young parents group can be mixed, the others should start divided but participate in mixed sessions later. And everything takes time!

Does your project use any of the following approaches to cultivate community members as empathetic and collaborative leaders?

encouraging philanthropy, creating a safe space, developing emotional competency, building leadership skills, group play, storytelling, immersion, collective problem-solving, identifying shared values and differences, instilling courage, enabling action.

Target Age Group(s)