Aidan Kahl is the Gulliver Prep Silver Knight nominee in the Math category. To become a Silver Knight candidate, a student must demonstrate strong community service. Kahl is no exception. He is working on starting his own micro finance company, which he hopes to have finished by the summer.
“It’s a common thing to do in the Third World,” he says. “I bring investors and loanees together.”
Kahl’s company will charge a servicing fee to an investor who wants to loan money to someone in the summer. The loans are small, but significant for those receiving the funds.
“This summer I’m going to rural Panama with three others,” Kahl says. “We’re going to do a documentary on the effectiveness of microeconomics in rural Panama. On a dollar a day, for six weeks.”
His plan is to spend half of the summer learning about the people he wants to help and the second half building the company to help the people he wants to help.
“I fell in love with this idea midway thru this year,” he says. “Sometime in the future, maybe I can invite IB students to work with me in the summers and have that as their (community service) project.”
In college, Kahl wants to study business, micro finance and international development. He hopes to use what he learns to work in the Third World.
He visited several colleges because of the Model UN Club. At one competition at Stanford, he won an honorable mention and the Gulliver team won an honorable mention as a delegation.
Last summer, Kahl went to Yale for a summer session. He took classes in multi-variable calculus and U.S. Cities in a Global Age. He applied to Yale, the University of Chicago, Dartmouth, Stanford and Georgetown
Kahl has put his expertise in math to good use. For one of his community service projects, he wrote a business plan for a start-up non-profit, the Children’s Survival Network.
“I helped write most of their business plan and their social media,” he says.
He was given a sample start-up business plan that he worked from.
“I wrote the literature to the specific organization,” he says. “It took me a full two weeks – 60 hours to write and finish that.”
Once he was finished with the business plan, it was given to a grant writer to be used to write grant proposals for funding.
Kahl says the non-profit is run by a few doctors who are child psychologists. The group wanted to build centers, when an abusive parent or an alcoholic parent could drop off their children if they thought there could be a problem at home.
“I like to work in places that are start-ups,” Kahl says. “It’s the difference between working for them and working with them.”
Last summer, he worked with a different start-up project called Team Paradise Sailing, which is located next to Shake-A-Leg in Coconut Grove.
“I worked with a guy named Magnus Liljedahl,” Kahl says. “I helped clean boats and I helped him build infrastructure for his new charity. It was my goal to help him upkeep the infrastructure he had and build more.”
Kahl says Liljedahl works with physically disabled adults, many recently disabled, and teaches them to sail.
“One new guy, Antonio, he had lost the use of his leg,” he says. “I worked with Magnus to get him back into sailing without the use of his legs.
It was such a struggle for most of them because it was such a new experience.”
— By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld