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Three Young Humanitarians

Part 2 of a 2-part series

“This attitude of service, or disappearing into my work, is the single most important variable in giving me both internal and external success.” Those are the words of Prince EA, one of three humanitarians that are profiled in the BCT Partners blog this week. In the second part of this two-part series, we celebrate young people who are making a difference. They are not content with simply making money through their careers. They also have a passion to give something back to society – and, they are not alone. In fact, 50% of Millennials have said they would take a pay cut for a job that matches their values and 90% want to use their skills for good. So, let’s meet three of these inspiring people that have already made a huge impact in a relatively short amount of time.

If you haven’t seen his videos on YouTube, you are truly missing out. The 27-year-old poet, filmmaker, and philosopher explores serious topics like climate change, educational reform, and technology overload. And he does it in such a thought-provoking way that he has accumulated more than 500 million views on his Facebook page and YouTube Platforms alone. He also speaks at conferences and gives lectures to high school and college students nationwide on topics of self-development, living one’s passion, and the importance of being motivated and engaged in both life and the classroom. Prince is also launching a morning motivational text club where each day users receive practical daily life advice which he is calling Life School. Perhaps his philosophy around everything he does can be summarized best by his tagline, “Love, the answer to every problem.”

Meet 19-year-old phenom, Maya Penn. In her young life, she has already started a sustainable fashion company, written a book, given three TED talks, and been recognized by Oprah Winfrey as a “SuperSoul 100 Entrepreneur.” Wow! Who wouldn’t feel like an underachiever compared to her? She started her company at just 8-years-old with the intent of selling eco-friendly fashion accessories because of her passion for protecting the environment. Her designs even utilize innovative practices and technologies such as biofabrication and she has gained recognition for her work through features in Forbes, Marie Claire, Wired, TIME, O Magazine, and others. Maya is also actively involved in charitable giving and has created eco-friendly sanitary pads for women and girls in developing countries which she donates to healthcare facilities in Haiti, Senegal, and Somalia. As if all that were not impressive enough, Maya was awarded the 2016 Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award, the 2013 Black Enterprise Teenpreneur of The Year Award and received a commendation from former President Obama for outstanding achievement in environmental stewardship.

If you haven’t heard of Christopher Gray, then you may have missed one of the best episodes of Shark Tank. He landed a deal with both Daymond John and Lori Greiner sparking one of the biggest arguments ever on the show. So, why did things get so heated? Well, part of the disagreement involved the fact that Gray had a phenomenal idea and several sharks wanted in on it. Not only did he get the investment that he needed, but his product became the #1 app in both the iPhone and Android stores after the show aired. The concept for his app, Scholly is simple but no one before Gray had ever thought of it before. Growing up in Alabama in humble circumstances, he knew the only way that he could afford college was through scholarships. However, there were no easy ways to find available money and the process of researching took him almost seven months. After he successfully won $1.3 million in scholarships, Gray realized there was an opportunity to help other low-income students who would not otherwise have access to higher education. So, he came up with the idea for Scholly to help students easily find available college scholarships. He realized that a huge amount of scholarship money, 100 million dollars to be exact, goes unused every year simply because people don’t know it’s available or how to find it. Soon cities such as Memphis and Philadelphia along with states like Montana purchased the app for students in their city/state. Gray has now helped students raise more than 20 million dollars in funds. He even partnered with former President Barrack Obama’s initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” to provide the app to 275,000 underprivileged young men of color across America each year.

In summary, although Prince, Maya, and Christopher are truly inspirational individuals, there are thousands of other people just like them who are making a difference in their own ways. And their example should remind us that we all have an opportunity to make a positive impact. So, the next time you get nervous about where the world is heading, follow their lead and take action. #BeTheChange



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