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The Real World: Downtown LA When Non-Profits Stop Being Polite and Start Getting Real

By Tamika Butler

California Director, Young Invincibles

This is the story of one strangepicked to be the Young Invincibles California Director and finds out what happens when she stops being a lawyer in San Francisco, opens a YI California office in LA, and gets real with young adults about health care, college affordability and jobs.

We all remember the Real World—I think it’s currently on season 78.  Well since I left my job at Legal Aid in San Francisco and moved to LA to join Young Invincibles, I’ve felt like my life is a bit of a reality show.

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I mean, there are constantly tons of cameras around, and though Angelinos tell me it’s because other things are being filmed, I’m pretty sure they are for me.  Let me tell you what I mean.

Day 2: Leaping in the Shark Tank

On my second day of work at YI, I was told by the producers (my Executive Director and Deputy Director) that I would be joining the LA Social Venture Partners Social Innovation Fast Pitch Program (LASVP).

What’s that?  I had the same question…think Shark Tank.  You know, the reality show where eager entrepreneurs pitch their business idea to rich people and try to get them to invest.

Instead of trying to get folks behind my beaded tankini idea, my business venture is this: Young Invincibles’ incredible new mobile app. The app educates young people about the changes coming to health care, locates free clinics and doctors, rates the docs and clinics, and soon, notifies you when free screening are available in your area.  Oh and there’s a game!

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LASVP provides the venue for me to meet the people who will give us money to fund our people power: the team we need to get this app out there and in young people’s hands. That’s where this Fast Pitch Program comes in.

Let me tell you more:

I’m matched up with two fantastic coaches, Sylia with the Annenberg Foundation and Ron with Disney.  Over six weeks I meet in a large group with all 21 participants and their two coaches.

One at a time, the participants get up and give their pitch.

The coaches then all give their feedback.  Before the next large group meeting each participant works with their two coaches to refine their pitch and incorporate the feedback received at the last big meeting.

Got it?  Sound easy?  Well the catch is…we only have 3 minutes to make the pitch.

Why do this?

Well, ever since I saw Shark Tank on TV, I’ve wanted to be on the show. You know, be a star!  As an additional bonus, there’s great exposure for Young Invincibles and our work:  the more people that know about our incredible app, the better.

Plus, the top ten participants make it to the “BIG PITCH NIGHT.”  In a theater full of people we make our pitches, one after the other, and compete to win $45,000 for our organizations.

So where are we?

We’re in the finals baby!!!


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We made it through the six weeks and are thrilled to be one of the final ten participants competing to win cash money for our organization. The event happens on Wednesday, October 24 at 6pm at Saban Theatre in LA’s most historic zip code…Beverly Hills.

How will we do?  Time will tell. Check back to the blog in a few days to hear about the big night.  Until then, post your words of encouragement on our Facebook page.

And let us know if you’ve ever felt like you life was a reality show.  When? Which one?