What I learned from the story of Unity Charity

Unity Charity

6 Steps To Building Responsible Impact


The story of Unity Charity, a national charity in Canada founded by the changemaker, motivational speaker and mental health advocate – Michael Prosserman in 2013, is an organization that helps youth aged 13-29 develop resilience through free Hip-Hop based programs. Over 25,000 youth inspired, 6000 engaged, 60+ empower programs run, and impact felt throughout Canada today, but the success of this esteemed organization stems from Michael’s passion to b-boying.

Michael Prosserman’s book “Building Unity” is an inspiring story about finding passion in breakdancing despite the challenges he faced as a young person. It delves into his journey of building a team and cultivating trust in people, leading to growth and development in the non-profit space. Through this process, Michael developed a strong sense of responsibility, realizing that his journey was more important than his destination. His story serves as a source of inspiration for anyone looking to build and create change in their community.

As I explore ways to develop sustainable systems and impactful initiatives, Michael Prosserman’s story in “Building Unity” reveals six steps to discovering responsible impact.

  1. Spark: Your Inspiration, the big why?

A spark can be defined as a powerful sensation that motivates you to act. In Michael’s story about building unity, he explains how his love for b-boying began to escape from the challenges he faced as a young child and how that initial spark of expression eventually evolved into a deep passion.

Discovering your spark means understanding what truly inspires you to create a positive and responsible impact in your community. This inspiration comes from your life experiences that ignite your passion for bringing about change. Sustaining this drive, calls for developing a growth-oriented mindset and building supportive networks, both existing and new, to guide and mentor you along your journey.

  1. Build: Clarify ideas and understand community needs

“Impossible just means it has not been done yet” – Michael Prosserman. The book emphasizes that building involves testing the ground to clarify ideas, understand community needs, and challenge assumptions. The key to successful building is avoiding shortcuts, while practicing and persevering. Michael’s unwavering dedication to his work was evident in his belief in using hip-hop to improve the lives of young people. However, the originality and innovation of his idea taught him that the keys to success were prioritization, perseverance, and self-reflection.

  1. Trust: Culture, leadership and empowering

Building trust can be challenging today due to the reduction in genuine and honest individuals. However, I’ve learned from Michaels story that key to building trust in an organization is creating a strong organizational culture, leading by example, and hiring people with aspirations can establish the foundation for growth. Another valuable lesson I’ve learned is the importance of the code of cypher in breakdancing – a new idea from the world of HipHop. A cypher takes place in the form of a circle, allowing you to see and connect with everyone sharing the space. A good cypher is defined by individuals coming together to create something that can’t be achieved alone, pushing each other to be better.

  1. Grow: Finding the right size

The fourth step to discovering responsible impact is finding the optimal size for your organization. As young people, it is important to plant seeds even if they don’t immediately grow, as we continue to discover our role in the world and what will eventually be best of us. The book emphasizes the importance of staying true to yourself, which is reflected in Michael’s journey. How he has fostered strong relationships and built a sustainable reputation for his organization, built a strong foundation for Unity Charity

  1. Evolve: Step back so others step forward

The journey to creating sustainable and impactful systems is challenging, but it is important to accept the outcome and fate of the destination. Michael’s story of Building Unity highlights the importance of evolving the organization and knowing when to step back and allowing others to take on leadership roles by building a succession plan. In my opinion, this reflects creating a solid vision, having considerable growth, and developing a high level of trust. Ultimate to it all is understanding when you have reached self-actualization. I cannot begin to imagine how someone can do this but, I find that part of the journey is the destination and at a certain point you need to do what’s best for the brand and not for personal extravagance.

  1. Reignite: Past experience and Next spark

“The journey is greater than the destination” – Michael Prosserman. Re-igniting means building upon past experiences and reigniting the spark within yourself. Currently, Michael leads the Epic Leadership organization, which offers client-cantered coaching, consulting, and peer support programs to empower leaders to build responsive, resilient, and responsible organizations. I highly recommend reading his book for inspiration and enlightenment on how to build sustainable organizations. Personally, this story inspires me to continue working towards not being afraid to learn from all the experiences I am involved in and working on building my vision, focus and clarity.

The six steps to discovering responsible impact have transformed my perspective on creating positive change. Each of us has a unique role to play in this journey, no matter how small. It begins by discovering what inspires us, pursuing it, and building an initiative that aligns our passion with the needs of our community. Trusting a crew and building a team with a shared vision allows us to scale our impact responsibly. As we grow and evolve, we reach self-actualization, igniting a new flame and spark from lessons learned – a full circle approach.

Let’s discover our impact! Find the book here: Building Unity – Leading a Non-Profit from Spark to Succession.


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