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Tips & Advice

"Do Good Well"

Working together is a large part of getting things done in the world, and is Step 2 in the book “Do Good Well”.  The book itself is a product of teamwork between the amazing duo of Nina Vasan and Jennifer Przybylo, along with many others with amazing volunteer experience.  These two students met at an awards ceremony in DC in the year 2002.  Since then, Nina has studied government at Harvard and is now working towards her MD at Harvard Medical School.  Jennifer graduated from the Yale School of Medicine and is now a student at the Stanford University of Medicine.  Over the years since their first meeting, not only have these two continued their dedication to service individually, but they have been working together to help others start their own journey into service.  These two women have truly put others before themselves in an incredible way.

I asked both Nina and Jennifer what inspired then to create this book.  They said that the idea was initially brought up to them by a publisher.  At the time, they weren’t able to take such an offer, but over the years, things changed.  As Nina said, “we were watching the growth of service and community work as it was happening.  We felt like there was more of a need to have something out there that showed them how to execute their ideas properly in a way that maximized their impact.”  The idea initially given to them became more and more tangible and the need became more apparent.

While creating this book, Jennifer and Nina kept many things in mind.  First, that doing good in your community is “not something you need to approach and feel overwhelmed about” and that “change can come in many different sizes and shapes”.  This book gives readers clear steps in how to go about making a lasting impact and simultaneously motivates and gives ideas on how to start that impact.  They both hope that readers will use their book to learn how to make the most of their service work and go after a cause they find important.

Speaking of important causes, the authors themselves have causes that are close to their hearts.  For Jennifer, it is the development of LGBTQ rights.  In her own words, “it is a defining issue for our generation, and that the progress we have already made is amazing”.  For Nina, there are two different areas of interest: Psychiatry and Women’s Rights.  She sees plenty of potential for change in both areas, with a little more funding for psychiatric research and a steady change in how societies see women around the world.  These causes, while important, are just a small part of the areas in which Nina and Jennifer help their communities.  Right now, they said “recognizing the need for educating students and young adults on service and entrepreneurship is our cause right now.  It’s been our cause for several years now.  Certain causes are important to us, but this is our primary goal!”

I asked the two what projects they planned to work on in the future and found that these two hard-working women don’t plan on slowing down any time soon.  They have plans to work on both the Harvard innovation Lab and the Stanford Social Innovation Review.  The HIL is a center for entrepreneurship and social change and includes a sort of ‘boot-camp’ based around Nina and Jennifer’s book.  The SSIR is a journal for social innovation that was launched 10 years ago, and the two of them plan on doing a monthly article for the journal.  They are also developing their website in hopes of “bringing together a community of young leaders” through events such as their Share What Works contest, as well as the contest that was run at their book release called How You Use ‘Do Good Well’.

Both Jennifer Przybylo and Nina Vasan are amazing, aspiring young leaders that had made a huge impact in our world by not only doing service in their own way, but encouraging and helping others to do service in a way that works.  Both Nina and Jennifer had some parting inspirational words that they hope will help youth looking to get involved:

“Go for it!  Take your dream and enthusiasm and put it into action.  It is a wonderful time to dive into service,” and “Celebrate your mistakes! Getting into this sort of work you just have to go for it, but it’s okay if things don’t go right, because you’ll learn more from mistakes than success.  We work together!  The importance of this cannot be overstated, so celebrate your mistakes and work together on as many levels as possible.”