Aspiranet: Lou Silberman
For more than 40 years, Aspiranet has been dedicated to creating permanent, lifelong connections for children and families in California. A leader in developing innovative social and educational services for children, youth and families, Aspiranet serves over 25,000 children, youth and families a year.
NONPROFIT TALENT: Helping children through capacity-building
During 40 years as a public school educator, Lou Silberman handled many roles: teaching high school English, serving as a county-wide director of technology and administering a large high school’s transition to four small learning communities.
When he retired, Lou found that, “it took about a month to figure out I needed to be working at something.” His search for opportunities led to his Encore Fellowship at Aspiranet, a large California social service agency with a strong focus on children.
Lou was initially frustrated in searching for high-impact volunteer roles, because “most organizations aren’t structured to engage people with a lot of experience.” In contrast, the Encore Fellows program “creates a relationship where people who have expertise provide it to [organizations] that need it in a way that hasn’t been done before.”
Reflecting on the links between his career in education and his work with Aspiranet, Lou commented, “My entire life has been devoted to helping children. This project with Aspiranet, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, dovetails with my objectives as a human being of trying to work in the community.”
NONPROFIT BENEFIT: Transferable skills support nonprofit’s mission
In his Encore Fellow role, Lou leveraged his curriculum development and teaching skills, working with Aspiranet’s human resources department to implement staff development and employee-training plans for its 3,000 employees. He also worked with its CEO to implement “learning organization” principles within the agency.