#TMoChangemaker Challenge: Why You Should Apply to Kickstart your Changemaker Ideas Today

Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka, and Kim Solem, Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at T-Mobile on what's at stake.

The journey of change usually starts with curiosity. At any moment of our lives, we can let fear and self-doubt allow the story to stay the same or unlock passion and creativity to transcend challenges. Already through the  first ever Ashoka and T-Mobile #TMoChangemaker Challenge, we are seeing young leaders across the country share how they overcoming fear through their own passion and creativity.


“I saw these kids hooked up to blood transfusion machines and with needle ports sticking out of their bellies and I wanted nothing more than to alleviate some of that pain. But what could I, a brand new volunteer with no health care experience, possibly do for them?,” shares one #TMoChangemaker applicant from Portland, Oregon.


Another young leader from Grand Rapids, Michigan writes in her application: “We noticed that in our school suicide jokes had increased which could have a huge impact on those struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions…”


Malcolm and Haley are not just asking questions and identifying problems, they are giving themselves permission to exercise creativity and passion to initiate positive change in our neighborhoods and communities. You can too! Here’s how...


T-Mobile and Ashoka stand behind Haley, Malcolm, and thousands of other young changemakers like them. The stories and progress of people and planet gets written by today’s young changemakers. It is under this belief that T-Mobile has partnered with Ashoka, the world’s leading network of systems-changing social entrepreneurs, to search, unite, and unleash revolutionary ideas from young Americans across the country.


Winning ideas will receive ongoing mentorship, skills development and a portion of seed funding totaling $57,000.00 to start and sustain their projects. Those winning teams will also be invited to Seattle for a two-day Changemaker Lab hosted by T-Mobile.





Bill Drayton, CEO of ASHOKA, and Kim Solem, Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, share why the #TMoChangemaker Challenge and the Ashoka/T-Mobile partnership is significant in today’s rapidly changing world.


At this moment in the country's history, why is this youth changemaker challenge so important? Why now? 


"We believe that inspiring youth to become changemakers is critical to ensuring society can solve the increasingly difficult and complex challenges facing our world,” says Kim Solem. “We see new challenges emerging every day, and they require collaboration, leadership, and problem solving. At T-Mobile, we believe anyone can be a changemaker—it’s what we do. And we are excited to share that knowledge and fuel the fires of the next generation of changemakers.”


For Bill Drayton, this is not a status quo partnership or youth opportunity. “The T-Mobile/Ashoka partnership is serving a unique, turning point, critical, historical moment—and doing so importantly. For many, many centuries, the world was organized around efficiency in repetition. Young people would master a skill (banker, barber, etc.) and then repeat that skill for life in a world divided efficiently by many walls. Over the last three centuries, the rate of change and degree of interconnectedness have shot up exponentially. That has now rendered this old model utterly dysfunctional. It is a fact that we now live in a world where everything is changing and everything is bumping everything else, further multiplying and making inevitable change.”


So within this moment if historic and rapid change, what can one person possibly do? “In this everything-changing world, everyone must be a changemaker to be able to contribute and therefore be welcomed,” adds Bill Drayton. “This requires a new understanding of what constitutes success in growing up. The ultimate test is whether or not a young person  or teen knows she or he is a changemaker.”


There seems to be many youth innovation competitions these days. What can the #TMoChangemaker Challenge do for youth communities across the United States? Why should young people apply?


“There are many reasons,” according to Bill Drayton. “We’re looking for young people who fit the three key tests: It’s the young person’s idea, team, and impact. Absolutely unambiguously the young person is the entrepreneur—and therefore is someone who will have or already has his/her power for life.”


He adds that, “Once a young person thus gets his/her power, that is the turning point in his or her life. They knows it. And very commonly the core reaction is that they wants to help others have this amazing experience. We’re looking for young people who have this reaction and therefore can and want to be leaders in their community and beyond in the “everyone a changemaker” revolution.”


For the Ashoka CEO, the desired impact for all young people in the #TMoChangemaker Challenge comes down to three things: “That they love one; changing the world, two; getting their power for life, and three; then doing the natural thing of helping others make this life jump.”


So now what?


Give yourself permission to apply right now! The deadline to kickstart your journey is May 31st at 18:00 PST. Learn more online at www.T-Mobile.com/Changemaker and join the conversation with #TMoChangemaker. Any young person 13-23 in the United States may apply. Let’s get to work!