Carmel Valley teen wins grant from Social Entrepreneurship Youth Training Program

By Karen Billing

Carmel Valley teenager Tali Edid recently won a $1,000 grant from the Social Entrepreneurship Youth Training Program for Latino and Jewish students with the aim of putting a project she created to tackle hunger in San Diego into action.

Tali and her teammates Vanessa Ramirez and Noah Villalobos were selected to receive the honor for their project “Growing Happiness,” which was designed to develop a community garden to promote sustainability, healthy eating habits and long-term growth for underprivileged youth and families.

The Social Entrepreneurship Youth Training Program is organized by Rady Management Center at UC San Diego in partnership with the Consulate General of Israel, the San Diego County Office of Education and the Anti-Defamation League. The program seeks to empower youth and equip them with necessary tools to “turn entrepreneurial visions into realistic social innovations.”

Tali, a 16-year-old incoming junior at San Diego Jewish Academy, participated in the five-week program at Rady along with 16 other students from around San Diego. She learned how to develop a business plan, conduct research and pitch an idea — many of the same kind of courses offered at the Rady business school but packed into five Sundays.

The students were tasked to research a problem they see in the community and propose a solution — Tali’s group selected hunger as their social problem and were able to work on their project with help from mentor Seyi Oshinowo, a Rady MBA student.

They came up with the idea of a community garden.

“It would be a sustainable way to get food and a way to give back to the community,” Tali said. “Within the weeks the produce was growing, we could offer cooking and nutrition classes. The garden would also be a way for parents to spend time with their children, a good family bonding time where they’re not stressed about how they’re going to get food.”

All of the program groups had to present their project proposals in front of a panel on June 1 at UC San Diego to decide who would receive the award.

“I was comfortable speaking in front of the group because I had taken a public speaking class but it was very nerve-wracking,” Tali said. “I didn’t think we would win it, it was unexpected and I was really excited.”

The group members are now expected to work on their project over the next six months to make their solution a reality. They are looking into possible gardens in the National City or Logan Heights neighborhoods.

Tali, who will be the representative for the junior class on student council at SDJA next year, also plays tennis, soccer and the guitar. Community service is a big passion for her —she is on the leadership board of JTeen of San Diego, a Jewish youth group that recently personally distributed 200 Jack in the Box meals to homeless people on the streets, as well as clothing, shoes and blankets.

This summer she is going on a trip to Israel with the Ken Jewish Community and next year will serve as a counselor for the Ken Jewish youth camps.

Tali is not the only one of the Edid children that is committed to making a difference in the world.

In 2011, her sister Nancy started the Helping Hearts club at SDJA, serving the homeless through the Destiny’s Hope Outreach program, St. Vincent de Paul Village and the Interfaith Shelter Rotational Program. Nancy is now 18 and just graduated so Tali plans to get Helping Hearts going again next year.

As a fourth grader Tali’s younger sister, Michelle, made and sold rubber bracelets in 2011 with proceeds going to the World Vision Organization, providing people in Africa with items such as medicine, chickens and goats, as well as bed nets to prevent malaria. Now 13 and going into eighth grade at SDJA, this summer she is going on a service trip to build houses.

Tali said it is a combination of school and her parents that inspire and encourages her to do so much for her community.

“We are so fortunate in many ways that you need to give back,” said her mom Rebecca.