Andrea Kerzner: Kerzner Family
Andrea Kerzner was born in Durban, South Africa and presently resides in New York City. She holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Columbia University and an MBA from London Business School. Andrea is the founder of Lalela Project, which received its 501(c) 3 in New York in November 2009 and its non-profit status in South Africa in 2010. Lalela Project provides educational arts for at-risk youth to spark creative thinking and awaken the entrepreneurial spirit.
Andrea founded Lalela Project to bring arts education to at-risk populations where it is always the first subject to be taken out of school curriculums. The arts is often overlooked and viewed as a secondary subject. However, decades of research show strong and consistent links between arts education and a wide range of impressive educational outcomes. A United States study by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (2011) have shown the following instrumental outcomes:
- Student Achievement: Represented by reading and mathematics performances on tests.
- Student Motivation and Engagement: Including school attendance, focus and intellectual risk taking.
- Development of Habits of Mind: Including problem-solving, critical and creative thinking.
- Development of Social Competencies: Including collaboration, social tolerance, and self-confidence.
In the disadvantaged communities in South Africa where Lalela Project works, these indicators of student success have historically been severely low. Students face daily obstacles, including gang violence, HIV/AIDS and physical and substance abuse. As a result, the success of their schools has been stinted by high dropout rates, a lack of motivation among students to remain in school and poor matriculation results.
Using the proven outcomes of arts education, students in Lalela Project’s after school and holiday programs are overcoming each of these obstacles and outperforming their peers, setting a new standard for innovation in their classrooms. Andrea believes that innovative and creative students will contribute to the social and economic development of their communities.
In addition to sitting on the board of Lalela Project, Andrea sits on the board of the University of Johannesburg's School of Tourism and Hospitality. The daughter of Sol Kerzner, she developed a passion for the tourism and hospitality industry and has a deep appreciation for the skills necessary to excel in this field. She understands the importance of this industry in creating employment in South Africa, which has exceedingly high levels of unemployment. Andrea is committed to the vision of the School of Tourism and Hospitality.