Case Study 02- Youth Center Gifts

The facts of the situation: 

  1. Jack was an American student working on a social venture in Kenya for five months
  2. International donor organization donated gifts
  3. Jack lived and interacted with kids at the youth center
  4. Jack handed out the gifts
  5. 4 children were not given gifts ceremoniously like the rest. They were given black hats instead, and it was after the ceremony. 
  6. The staff did not think there was an issue and are angry that Jack is blaming them for a “trivial” matter.
  7. Jack thought it was unfair for the 4 children to not get the same treatment as the rest. 
  8. Jack wants to keep a good relationship with the children and the staff members at the youth center.


The stakeholders

  1. Jack 
  2. Staff at the youth center
  3. 4 kids that received black hats
  4. Kids that received other gifts (secondary stakeholders- their motivations do not affect the situation or best course of action)


Motivations (personal and professional) of the stakeholders

  1. Jack
    1. Personal:
      1. Wants the kids to like him and the staff to like him since he will be working there for 5 months
    2. Professional:
      1. Good relationships with the children and staff could build trust and help him do better work
  2. Youth center staff
    1. Personal:
      1. May see Jack as an outsider that is looking down on the work they’ve done
      2. Probably have a passion for children and social work if they work in a youth center
    2. Professional:
      1. In this situation, they wanted to distribute the gifts they were donated by the national organization.
      2. Want a strong relationship with the children to succeed at their job
      3. Keep a good relationship with Jack to preserve the relationship with his institution 
      4. Don’t want trivial things to get in the way of the good work they are doing at the youth center
  3. Kids that didn’t receive gifts
    1. Personal: 
      1. Wanted to get a gift
      2. Possibly more importantly, they wanted to get a gift ceremoniously and feel as important as the other kids.
    2. Professional: 
      1. N/A


Ethical Questions:

  1. Should Jack dwell on a situation that could make his relationship with the youth center and the children even worse?
  2. Should Jack have a say in how the youth center approaches situations, especially as a newcomer?


Alternative solutions for this case study

  1. Drop the situation and do nothing
    1. Pros:
      1. The issue is not repeatedly brought up.
      2. The staff does not think of Jack as a “children’s rights activist”
      3. Jack maintains a good relationship with the staff who thought the matter was “trivial.”
    2. Cons:
      1. The four children may stay upset and may continue to blame things on Jack because he was the one distributing gifts.
      2. The other children could make fun of the four children that only got black hats
      3. Jack could continue to feel bad for the children and may have a strained relationship with them.
  2. Jack could continue to talk about the situation and explain to the staff where he was coming from. 
    1. Pros:
      1. Jack could potentially save face from the staff thinking poorly of him and build trust and friendship with the kids or the employee at the center.
      2. The kids could possibly get more sympathy from the youth center staff after they have a conversation with Jack.
        1. It may result in gifts for the children that were originally overlooked.
    2. Cons:
      1. The staff could be angry with Jack for continuing to dwell on the situation. They may continue to think of him as a “children’s rights activist.”
        1. The staff may also be angry at Jack for knocking the good work they’ve done. 
        2. The conversation could also result in the children getting better gifts, but the youth center would need to purchase them with money from their own pocket. 
      2. The children who didn’t get gifts could feel worse because the situation continues to be brought up. 


Best approach

  1. Jack wears a black hat and does not bring the situation up to the youth center staff again. 
    1. Pros:
      1. Jack looks good in the eyes of the youth center staff because he does not come to them about the situation again. He also maintains his relationship with the children because they will feel better that Jack has the same gift as them.
      2. The children could feel better about not getting a gift during the ceremony if Jack has the same thing as them. They would have a better appreciation for the gift they did receive and possibly forget about not getting them ceremoniously.
      3. The youth center staff can move past the situation and focus on other events and issues at hand.
    2. Cons:
      1. The children who did receive gifts could feel bad that they can’t dress like Jack, but they will most likely get over it and be happy with the gifts they already got.
    3. Consequences and shortcomings
      1. The kids will only feel better from the hat if they think Jack is cool and want to dress like him. 
      2. The youth center staff most likely won’t care if Jack wears a hat like the one the kids received. They will probably happy that Jack did not continue to try to talk to them about the situation and solved it on his own. 
      3. Jack maintains a good relationship with the staff and the four children that didn’t get gifts, but now the other children may be jealous. If that were the case, Jack could play with them more and remind them of how grateful they should be for their gifts. 


Impact of the decision on the venture

  • This solution would hardly impact the goal of the youth center/ Jack’s venture. It would preserve Jack’s relationships with both the youth center staff and the children who did not receive any gifts. He would not be seen as an outsider that is looking down on the work that the youth center has already done, and the kids will most likely feel better about the fact that they each got black hats unceremoniously because they get to keep the gifts they got and look like Jack. In Sierra Leone, children loved getting to talk to us and would even run home to tell their friends if one of us just gave them a fist bump. The decision could also maintain the youth center’s relationships with Jack’s institution. Economic implications of the decision could be that the youth center does not have to spend any of their money to replace the children’s presents or hold any other events. 

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