Friday, February 23, 2007

Backscratchers of the world, unite!

The social entrepreneurship meme is spreading, and the kids have caught the bug. Elevator version: Social entrepreneurship consists of citizen sector projects, for profit or not, that deliver community benefit.

Wednesday night I attended a mini-summit on the topic in a swank, 10th-floor ballroom at New York University. The event was hosted by Seth Green of Americans for Informed Democracy and drew about 150 people, overwhelmingly students, their creative sparks mirrored in the Manhattan skyline. This kind of attendance is a good sign. Ashoka founder Bill Drayton sees youth education as the best way to create a healthy society of "humans who know that they can cause change"—changemakers.

The values of teamwork, leadership, and "applied empathy" are the backbone of Drayton's vision and his new project is Youth Venture. At the summit I met Sabeen Pirani, a young woman who works on the initiative. She explained how YV helps kids ages 12-20 start organizations for the betterment of their communities.

Wow. University students helping high schoolers unleash their potential energy for social awareness and change. Talk about the future.

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