Creating a Culture of Gratitude

Here at Dream A Dream, we all seek to create what we call a “culture of gratitude.” Culture is very important here, and even codified in what we call our “People Philosophy.” Our “People Philosophy” not only defines our human resources policies and procedures, but also provides a framework to develop a sense of internal purpose-driven culture.

Before I even became aware of the “People Philosophy,” I noticed that everyone was really upbeat, full of enthusiasm, and incredibly independent self-starters. If someone has a good idea, others will encourage him or her to try it out, not shoot them down. When you walk into our main office, you will see people constantly exchanging new ideas and an endless amount of support and encouragement. I have come to learn that this organization has no management, it has mentors and leaders. In our meetings, we begin by finding things to thank each other for, no matter how small or large. For example, I thanked Navendu, Dream A Dream’s rock star Volunteer Engagement Coordinator for providing me the support I desperately needed when I began my fellowship. If I have an issue, I know that she will take the time to listen and provide some needed advice over a cup of coffee or a plate of thali. My mentor, Ashok, also has been immensely supportive and patient with me despite my inability to grasp sometimes what he is trying to say. I feel a little overwhelmed by the depth of my project, but I know he has my back, which motivates me to face my challenges.

It is easy to take for granted the time and efforts of your colleagues in an environment so dedicated to its mission. It is also easy for managers to say “no” to the ideas of their young employees bursting with enthusiasm and drive. Just as we seek to foster positivity within the lives of young people, we seek to foster a positive working culture. We recognize people for their help, however small, and find ways to show our appreciation. In recognizing the “small victories,” we learn to not take them and each other for granted. While we all have different personalities and perspectives, we are all here for the same purpose. That sense of purpose resonates powerfully everyday in the office here, during our outdoor camps, and in the schools we work in. You can see what we practice in our curriculum and within the young people we work with. Dream A Dream truly lives and breathes what it shares with young people, which I find most inspiring about being a fellow here.

Dream A Dream is a professional, registered, charitable trust. We are empowering over 43,000 children and young people from vulnerable backgrounds since 1999.

Jared is from Bedford, Indiana, which claim-to-fame is the "Limestone Capital of the

World." He graduated with honors from Indiana University in 2009 with a degree in political science, specializing in intrastate conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia. After graduating, he worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Management and Program Analyst working on national security policy analysis. A year later, he resigned to earn an officer commission with the United States Marine Corps, however his military career was cut short due to injury and illness at Officer Candidates School in January 2011. Eager to still serve, Jared became an AmeriCorps member with City Year Washington, DC where he served for ten months in an inner-city middle school. In his eighth grade classroom he assisted in the implementation of an innovative self-directed e-learning initiative in partnership with Johns Hopkins University's Center for Gifted Youth. Jared's service career then took him to Lusaka, Zambia in sub-Saharan Africa as a Global Health Corps fellow with an NGO that provides support to refugees fleeing political violence from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition to his passion for service, Jared is also passionate about food and is eager to immerse himself in India through trying as many different meals as he can. Supported by American Express

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5 thoughts on “Creating a Culture of Gratitude

  1. Jared
    This sounds terrific . Just what textbooks say should happen in organizations but hardly ever does. An ex boss of mine had a sheet( back and front) called 52 Points of light. I took a copy. It was his cheat sheet for management. One of the points was – “give thanks to three people each day” . Sounds like your “culture of gratitude”.
    I bet some your Fellow Fellows are hoping their organizations would follow suit.

  2. Hey Jared,

    I took delight in reading this article.

    Thank you for mirroring Dream A Dream in a very assertive style which it is.
    “While we all have different personalities and perspectives, we are all here for the same purpose” – beautifully said.


  3. Jared,
    Great post and wonderful reminder of the importance of expressing gratitude everyday. Thanks for sending me the link. I’ll be sure to pass it on.
    Happy almost New Year.
    Doug Stewart

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