If no one gives you an opportunity, then you have to create your own."
-Anderson Cooper, Journalist, CNN
There is much underutilized talent in the world, yet we need all the world's talent at the table to solve big issues. Their ideas can change the world. They can be the catalyst of that change.
Your Big Year was first conceived as a global competition with partners in the youth travel industry. Along the way we discovered the pure power of the youth that participated. We tapped into a community of youth eager to be globally connected and to develop their ideas. They want to make a social impact and are determined to see it through.
For the youth involved, we tell them that their ideas matter, that they have a voice, and what we’ve discovered is a ricochet effect. Our youth are using their new peer networks and skills and applying them in their home communities:
– Sudha (Nepal) set up a youth leadership program in Nepal combining a curriculum for both locals and internationals
– Charles (Uganda) set up a new initiative to plant fruit trees in urban areas, won the UN Youth Climate Change and is giving the keynote speech at the UN-FAO’s XIV World Forestry Congress
– Marcelo (Brazil) travels to Universities throughout Brazil teaching young students about entrepreneurship, which had been previously underexposed
– Mark (Philippines) was granted seed money and set up a business rewarding people who recycle
– Mahdi (Tunisia) is acting as a public figure inspiring youth in his country where they suffer from the high rate of depression due to lack of opportunity.
– Toby (New Zealand) is working on economic policy representing his country on the global stage at events like Y20 and several Australasia relations
– Karyssa (USA) has been Awarded scholarship programs in Agriculture and the welfare of the workers in Haiti and Washington DC
The list goes on and on. These youth who were given a platform from which to launch are becoming the missing role models catalyzing further change all over the globe.