As a result of having an older sister with severe brain damage, Grant has been surrounded by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) for as long as he can remember. Since commencing his undergraduate career at UCLA in 2012, Grant has continued to involve himself in the IDD community in various forms. As an intern for Special Olympics Southern California, he supported the Major Gifts and Marketing Departments in drafting grant requests and strategizing new ways to market and promote Special Olympics at UCLA. He created a weekly hangout that brings together young adults with IDD and members of UCLA Greek Life, and most recently, he developed Project Kpalimé, a grassroots public service project empowering children with IDD in West Africa through social enterprise.
Grant is very passionate about social entrepreneurship and the concept of “doing business while doing good.” As an intern for GOOD Worldwide, a Los Angeles-based social innovation consultancy firm, Grant aided the Partnership Activation Team in creating innovative campaigns and events for businesses, foundations, and not-for-profits seeking to increase their corporate social responsibility and help “push the world forward.” In November 2014, Grant attended Business Today’s 40th Annual “International Conference” in New York City. Grant was 1 of 130 undergraduate students from 28 countries invited to attend the conference designed to create dialogue on the underlying goals of business and the methods by which business can be a source of positive change in society.
In addition to travelling to Togo during the summer of 2015 to develop a sustainable snail farm and promote social enterprise, Grant participated in the American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Program in Washington D.C. and studied abroad in Paris as part of the UCLA Global Studies Travel Study Program.
Project: Empowering Children with IDD Through a Sustainable Snail Farm
As the 2015 Global Citizens Fellow, Grant traveled to Togo to empower children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through social enterprise. For six weeks, he worked alongside the director of a small school for children with IDD in Kpalimé, Togo and implemented a sustainable snail farm. The snail farm serves two purposes: 1.) To increase the overall autonomy of the school through selling snails raised on the farm to local markets and restaurants, and 2.) To empower the school's children with IDD through providing them an opportunity to work on the farm as part of an advanced skills class.
As of April 2016, the school has 45 children who learned to tend to the farm that now has 90 rabbits, 28 agoutis, 234 chickens, 22 crocodiles, and 200 snails.