Lead Young: Once a young person has had a dream, built a team, and changed their world… they will be a changemaker for life

Bill Drayton 610x410
Curated Story
This article originally appeared on leadyoung.ashoka.org

In elementary school I could not imagine why I was being tortured by Latin or Math, and my perception of soccer was chiefly that of being a crashee.

But I loved starting things, especially newspapers. Once I had saved enough to buy a mimeograph machine (the prior technology being typing hard with as many carbon copy sheets as possible), I was unstoppable.

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Ashoka Insight

Once a young person has had a dream, built a team, and changed his or her world, he or she has the power to express love and respect in action–the heart of what brings health, longevity, and happiness. He or she will be a changemaker for life. Which is to say s/he will be a real contributor in a world where value increasingly comes from changemaking and not, as it has for millennia, from efficiency in repetition. It is no accident that over 80 percent of the 3,000 Ashoka leading social entrepreneurs (over half have changed national policy within five years of launch) Fellows started something in their teens, usually early teens.

As a student, he founded organizations ranging from Yale Legislative Services to Harvard’s Ashoka Table, an inter-disciplinary weekly forum in the social sciences. He launched Ashoka in 1981. He used the stipend received when elected a MacArthur Fellow in 1984 to devote himself fully to Ashoka. In 2005, he was selected one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. Other awards include the Yale Law School’s highest alumni honor, the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award International; and the National Academy of Public Administration National Public Service Award. As one of three members of the Leadership Team, his special responsibilities are leadership of the new group entrepreneurship and social financial services programs as well as staff search and marketing functions.

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