Brock Seraphin ’09 traveled to Cambodia in May 2008 on an Alternative Breaks trip to work with a micro-credit program. He became convinced that the program of lending small amounts at low interest to farmers and shopkeepers would work closer to home.
Seraphin, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Passion, a student-run magazine on topics related to social justice, was among six students who received a 2009 Riordan Community Service Award, given to students for their outstanding contributions to the community.
“Like many volunteers, my perspective evolved as I became immersed in justice-related work,” said Seraphin, who earned his degree in philosophy. “I recognized micro-credit as the most effective means to address economic injustice.”
Convinced that this program would work domestically, Seraphin contacted the Dolores Huerta Foundation, where he helped establish the first domestic micro-credit program for California farmworkers.
“The cost-effective method we developed has the potential to spread across the nation and have an incredible impact on domestic poverty,” he said. “By connecting nonprofits, universities and lenders, we believe that we can help impoverished, informal business owners to achieve financial literacy and independence.”
Seraphin credits the Center for Service and Action for encouraging him to pursue his passion for the program.
He added, “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the freedom afforded me by CSA to pursue this project, and I can’t thank them enough for their continued support. It has been a wonderful experience watching my idea transform into a reality, and I am excited for the future of the project.”