Youth Venture Ambassadors are outstanding YVers that represent a variety of backgrounds and possess a broad range of interests and goals. Ambassadors have a strong interest in helping Youth Venture strengthen the movement of young changemakers.
My Own Book • California • www.myownbook.net
Brady is a junior in the International Baccalaureate program at Armijo High School in California. He plays on the Varsity Tennis Team, and is active in the National Honor Society and AcaDeca Club. In addition, Brady and his brother run a wreath and produce business. Brady is an Eagle Scout and has earned all of the merit badges. He is also active in 4-H. He and his brother Kyle run My Own Book (www.myownbook.net) a non profit venture that spread the joy of reading by sending teams of teens into underprivileged K-3rd grade classrooms, telling the children about the public library, and letting pick out a brand new book of their very own, and by distributing over 10,000 brand new books to at-risk children My Own Book was featured on the cover of American Profile magazine July 6th. Brady believes that Youth Venture teaches teens that they can “be the change they wish to see” and develops skills to allow young people to make a difference in their community as well as their own lives.
Always Ready Kids • Illinois • www.alwaysreadykids.org
Konstantine is the founder of Always Ready Kids, an organization that helps youth and their families prepare for disasters (www.alwaysreadykids.org). This summer he volunteered as the Emergency Preparedness Liaison and as a Peer Leader for Cypriot youth participating in the BOLD Leaders Critical Mass Leadership program in Colorado. As a member of the Youth Venture National Youth Advisory Council, Konstantine worked with Venturers around the world. He has led presentations and workshops, and given speeches for Youth Venture and other organizations. Currently, Konstantine is President of the Nestle USA Foundation Board and Vice President of Cultures For Youth, NFP. He has received the 2007 Nestle Very Best in Youth Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Level Award, and the 2008 Kohl’s Kids Who Care Regional Award. Konstantine is also Secretariat of his school’s Model UN team, and competes on the Math, Debate, and Latin teams. He also runs track and rock climbs.
JJ Express Magazine • Maryland • www.jjexpressmagazine.org
Jenny Chen is the lead Venturer and editor-in-chief of JJ Express Magazine. Started more than year ago, JJ Express Magazine is a children’s magazine that inspires youth to participate in social change through art. The publication showcases comics and cartoons from artists around the world. Their second issue has just been published and includes a historically inspired, manga styled comic, a stick figure who neglects his trash, and much more. Jenny was born in Germany and has lived in Great Britain, Denmark, China, and all over the United States. Jenny has played the violin for more than 10 years, loves to write and has work that has appeared in the Washington Post and the Gazette. Her play, “Chess Anyone?” was performed on Arena Stage and the Kennedy Center. Jenny believes that Youth Venture encourages youth to be changemakers in their community and to contribute to a greater movement to transform the world for the better.
Skaters of Shirley, The Literary Magazine and R.U.N.E. • Massachusetts
Nicholas was born in Leominster, MA. He started participating in Youth Venture in the sixth grade and has launched three different teams so far. Skaters of Shirley was launched to help build a skate park in the town of Shirley (where he attended school, grades K-8), the Literary Magazine was launched to collect artistic and written works of the school year and put them together at the end of the year to encourage literacy and art, and T.R.U.N.E is a school newspaper run by forth graders to engage in their communities. Getting into this program helped him reach out to people and make him feel more confident in himself and others. He felt that he could do anything! He wants to talk about how YV changes the community, but also changes the kids behind the wheel of this driving global movement making them better people and will always apart of society. Some of Nicholas’s hobbies are writing, reading, listening to music, singing off key (says his sister), and making his friends laugh.
Puentes hacia el éxito – Bridges to Success • New York
Margaret grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and now attends New York University as a Neural Science major and Philosophy minor with a concentration in pre-medicine. During her junior year of high school, she co-founded the organization Students Supporting Africa and began volunteering at Centro del Muchacho Trabajador in Quito, Ecuador. Upon arriving at NYU, Margaret became involved in Dean’s Service Honors Corps as a freshman. Working as Outreach Chair through her sophomore year, she was able to continue networking through various organizations and as a result of this work, discovered Youth Venture. In January of 2008, Margaret launched “Puentes hacia el éxito – Bridges to Success” and is focusing on researching and implementing the use of micro financing to overcome poverty in a small section of Quito, Ecuador. This past May she returned from studying abroad and is preparing to spend the remainder of the summer working in Ecuador and Honduras.
Helping 100 • New Jersey
Erika is a girl with endless drive, determination, and energy, especially when it comes time for global stewardship and how to make this world a better place. Erika does an exceptional job at juggling a rigorous academic schedule that includes AP classes, the demanding sport of Crew, summer studies at the Peddie Science Institute, and the maintenance of a youth service-learning club, Helping 100, which focuses on ending world hunger and homelessness. Erika has recently been recognized by the Spirit of Women organization as the 2008 Spirit of Women National Spirit in Action Award Winner in the Young Person Role Model category. All of these experiences have given Erika a diverse outlook and a rich, multicultural background. She plans to funnel this into a successful medical and philanthropic career that focuses on ending disease, famine and homelessness with the help of others.
Youth Together • Texas • www.youthtogether.biz
Kyle is a sophomore at University of Oklahoma and became a Youth Venturer in 2003. Starting with a $800 grant from Youth Venture, Kyle began a project called Youth Together, that now works with schools across the United States to help children and animals in need, while teaching the value of community service to children age 5 to 18. Since founding the organization five years ago, he’s raised more than $150,000 as well as thousands of dollars of needed donations. Kyle recently became a Gen VIP and contacted new Venturers to help them start their own organizations. Kyle’s honors have included winning the “That Was Easy” competition sponsored by Staples/Ashoka and winning an all expense paid trip to Massachusetts to visit the Staples headquarters as well as winning $6,000 to improve his program. He also has been chosen Prudential’s Top State Volunteer for Texas, a National Daily Points of Light Winner, and The Governor’s Rising Star Award among others.
Girls Helping Girls • California • www.empoweragirl.org
Sejal is a high school student from Fremont, CA. She founded the international nonprofit organization Girls Helping Girls to empower all girls to transform their world by mobilizing them to Eradicate Poverty, Increase Access to Education, Improve Health, and Promote Peace. Sejal has mentored, trained, and spoken to thousands of girls from over 11 countries on how to create social change and make their vision for the world a reality, and works relentlessly to empower girls to obtain a holistic education and reach their full potential. Sejal’s commitment to empowering girls was spurred by her role as an active member on the National Board of Directors of nonprofit Girls for A Change, where she organizes leadership summits and develops more service opportunities for at-risk girls. Sejal also serves on Youth Service America’s National Youth Council and National Board of Directors. Sejal has spoken at national and international conferences, advising thousands of adults, business and government executives on how to engage youth in service; and under YSA’s aegis, Sejal is authoring a book on Effective Practices for Engaging High-Risk Youth in Service, to be published in the next year. Among other honors, in 2007, she was named a We Are Family Foundation Global Teen Leader, and received the President’s Lifetime Service Award, the highest honor in this series. In 2008, Sejal received Soroptimist International’s First Place Violet Richardson Award, and MTV’s Teen Hero Award. She was also selected with 9 other youth from over 20,000 applicants to receive Discover Card’s Tribute Scholarship Award.
Keep A Child Alive Chapter • Texas • www.kcacollege.com
Mindy Le (20) is a student at the University of Houston as a business marketing / pre-med major. She is a person that loves to help others, and act as changemaker against the worldwide issues. Mindy currently holds the South Region Director and President for the University of Houston’s Keep A Child Alive Chapter. She has recently been awarded with the 2008 MTV University Youth Venture Award for her efforts towards the fight against the AIDS Pandemic and commitment to raise $100,000 for anti-retro viral treatments for orphaned children in the continent of Africa. Mindy has been granted a city wide proclamation from my mayor in Houston, Texas, to host The 2008 Dreams Come True Campaign, a city-wide week-long event that will involve various fund raisers that include an all access venue/club pass, a fashion/music AIDS benefit concert, and a city wide holiday business card. Mindy believes that each and every one of us is equipped with a power in which we must make use of and put to action. She believes that we are the future leaders of tomorrow, but why wait for “tomorrow, “when we can do something NOW.
Human Rights Live • New York • www.humanrightslive.com
Jeongki Lim is the founder and CEO of Human Rights Live– a new media social enterprise based in New York City. He is the winner of MTV-U and Youth Venture Grant of January 2008 for Human Rights Live YouTube Prank Video Contest that seeks to revolutionize professional based human rights activism into a citizen-based global movement. He is currently attending New York University with concentration on “Global Governance and Human Rights Advocacy in the 21st Century.” During his high school year, he served as an interpreter to the Korean delegates in United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific Workshop on the promotion of the rights of the people with disabilities held in Bangkok. His interest in activism grew as he visited the NGOs and Illinois state department on development disability and interned at a juvenile offender guidance program called Esperanza/Hope: Community Based Option for Youth. In 2006, he became a human rights activist in NYU. During his year as the vice-president of Freedoms 4 North Korea, he created the unprecedented gathering of activists in the campus called Just Is: NYU Human Rights Network. Last Spring, he did research in Geneva, Switzerland on international organizations and the United Nation reform movement. He is also a journalist and his article on cultural phenomena was published in The Washington Times.
Extending Assistance to Students • New York
Will is a junior at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY. He is one of the founders of Students Extending Assistance to Students. SEAS’ message is to alert youth nationwide about the continuing plight of young people affected by Hurricane Katrina, and to inspire them to take action to create a positive and lasting change in the Gulf region. Some of SEAS’ specific goals include assisting the rebuilding process of the homes, communities, and schools of Gulf Coast youth, quickening the transition from the fear and chaos of the hurricane to the normalcy of childhood and adolescence, and advocating the needs of the Gulf Coast region to young people nationwide and encouraging them to make a difference. In addition to social entrepreneurship, Will is passionate about politics, service, music, and the New York Giants. At his school, he is an editor of the school paper, a leader of three community service clubs, a trombonist in the jazz band, and a peer leader. His favorite subjects in school are History and English. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends, running, and watching The Office.
Green Teens • Connecticut • www.greenteensusa.org
Jessie lives in Connecticut and is a junior at E. O. Smith High School. She loves to dance (pointe, ballet, and hip-hop) and is involved with many of her high school’s clubs. Jessie’s Venture, called Green Teens, works in her area to promote environmental activism and education through easy, positive lifestyle changes. She became involved with the environment about 4 years ago when she started attending UNEP’s TUNZA International Children’s Conferences on the Environment. Jessie is also into animal rights activism and a member of the Humane Teen’s (Teenage Division of the Humane Society of the United States) Teen Advisory Board. She became a GenVIP about a year ago, shortly after getting involved with Youth Venture. As a member of both of her Class of 2010 Office since freshmen year, and a member of Student Congress at her school she is confident that she will be able to represent Youth Venture in this leadership role, as well as symbolize all of the Venturers across the nation.
Heart to Heart • New York
Yury Parra originally from Colombia, is a recent graduate of New York University with a B.A. in Biology. She is now pursuing an M.P.A in International Health at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. During her undergraduate years, she participated in a number of health programs with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Minority Health International Research Program. With the support of Youth Venture and the NYU Reynolds foundations, she founded Heart to Heart, an organization that conducts free blood pressure screenings among communities with a high risk for hypertension. As a future physician, Yury aims to play an active role in the development and implementation of policies that decrease health disparities.
Shirley Arts for All • Massachusetts
Caitlin has been an active Youth Venturer for four years. As a founding member of S.A.F.A. (Shirley Arts for All), her mission is to help make local theater art productions accessible to the community. In addition to her own venture, Caitlin has had many wonderful opportunities to speak with media and students about the Youth Venture Movement, including being a guest on NECN’s, “Wired”, and giving school presentations with Kyle Taylor. As a student at Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School, Caitlin is active in many extra-curricular activities, including the soccer team, basketball team, and the theater productions. In her spare time, Caitlin enjoys listening to music and spending time with her family and friends.
Baby’s First Home • New York • www.babysfirsthome.org
Amanda Raposo is a student at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. She works alongside social workers and child psychologists at Bellevue Hospital with a program called 1st Step (Services To Empower Parents), where she helps post-natal teen mothers find vital resources in the city and surrounding areas. She is currently an intern at Momma’s House, a shelter for homeless teen mothers on Long Island, and, with her team, won the Youth Venture “Be a Changemaker Challenge” for her efforts to establish a shelter of her own. Her experience with past community service projects and fundraising, along with her awareness of the social issues involved with teen pregnancy, are the driving forces behind her future goals in opening Baby’s First Home. Amanda is a member of the NYU USGA (Undergraduate Student Government Association) and NYU’s NRHH (National Residency Hall Honorary). She enjoys being an active member of the community and is thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Youth Venture.
Connect-Now • Arizona
Tyler will be a junior at Vanderbilt University, where he has been involved in a variety of service organizations from on-campus quiz bowl competitions for charity, to teaching at-risk 8th graders a course entitled “The Economics of Staying in School” through Junior Achievement, to spending last summer in Santiago, Chile volunteering in an orphanage through a non-profit and filming a short promotions video to be used for online marketing purposes. Currently with three other Vanderbilt students, Tyler runs Connect-Now, a non-profit organization that connects high school students with meaningful service opportunities in the Nashville area custom fit to match their skills and interests. In high school, he was highly involved in community service and professionally recorded a CD of his own piano compositions which he sold to raise money for The United Way and The American Kidney Fund. Tyler sold 1,000 CDs, raised almost $7,000 for the two charities, and was invited to perform at the American Kidney Fund’s 8th Annual International Conference on Dialysis held at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Tyler is looking forward to representing Youth Venture as an Ambassador and speaking out about their cause to various media conferences.
Ryans Awesome Kidz Club • Maryland
Ryan was born at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland. He is the oldest of five children raised by his mother. Ryan attends the Washington Jesuit Academy, an all boys school in NE Washington, DC. Ryan is the president and founder of “Ryans Awesome Kidz Club,” a club created to introduce kids to different environments, cultures, religions, foods etc. Not only does this group offer a multicultural space, it teaches kids how to mentor peers and resolve issues without adults and bringing out children’s talents. Ryan was the 2007/2008 president of the FBR Boys and Girls Club “Torch Club”. In addition to his community service activities, Ryan takes hip hop and ballet classes at the Washington Ballet School in Washington, DC. He also plays the saxophone and is currently in the process of learning how to play the piano. Ryan loves performing…acting, modeling, dancing. He likes to read the Series of Unfortunate Events and doing all types of puzzles. Ryan likes meeting new people, rock climbing, spending time with his family, and yes let’s not leave out the video games!
Wild and Water Swimming • Georgia • www.wildandwater.org
Laura has been involved in service for a very long time. In her sophomore year of high school, Laura and her venture team, with the support of Youth Venture, started Wild and Water Swimming, a nonprofit organization that provides free swimming and water safety lessons to low-income children. Laura also served for two years as the President of the Youth Service Advisory Board of Hands On Atlanta, and started a club at her high school called Helpings Hands, which engaged other students in Hands On Atlanta projects. Laura is also the Founder of the Dream Prom Project, a program that works with Enchanted Closet to provide high achieving low-income high school senior girls with their dream prom. In the fall, Laura will be starting her freshman year in college as a Tulane University Honors Student and plans to double-major in Social Policy and Practice and Environmental Studies.