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Students Changing the World: A Progress Report Worth Celebrating

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A few months ago, I introduced you to the Quest2Matter, which challenged students to use their individual genius to change the world. Quest2Matter was the first embodiment of the movement Choose2Matter.

The title of my post was, "When Students Say They Want to Change the World, Listen to Them." We all know talk is cheap, so I'm back to tell you about students who are walking the walk, and changing the world in the process.

Although the Quest2Matter was a new concept, and lasted only a few weeks at the end of the school year, more than 100 inspiring quests were submitted, covering causes from suicide prevention to curing cancer to bringing live music performances and lessons to schools without arts.

A number of the quests resulted from a two-day Choose2Matter LIVE event that we conducted at Downingtown S.T.E.M. Academy in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, with the entire sophomore class. The event dramatically confirmed the potential of students to change the world. We connected these students with mentors who were experts in the relevant field, as well as authoritative information to help them understand their cause. The results were breathtaking.

Once we had received all of these amazing quests, we had to figure out how to choose only two of them to honor at prestigious ceremonies this fall.

Last week, the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences announced that Mallory Fundora, founder of Project Yesu, will be the honoree for Student Initiative at the 2013 Bammy Awards in Washington, D.C. This is a red-carpet, black-tie event, and Mallory will be the first student honored with a Bammy Award.

Mallory has raised tens of thousands of dollars to provide food, medicine and education to orphans in Uganda; it all started when she decided she no longer wanted Christmas presents for herself, but instead wanted to donate money to support those in need.

Please considermaking a small donation to help us send Mallory and her parents to Washington, D.C. to collect her award!

This week, we are announced that the Bikes With Benefits team has been selected to present its mission at BIF #9, a prestigious innovation summit sponsored by Business Innovation Factory.

The young women on the team, all high school juniors, brainstormed an idea to create an emergency medical service in one or more lesser-developed countries. Last year, the mother of one of the team members was rescued by a speedy emergency medical response. As we sat down with the team to discuss "heartbreak mapping," the idea to help communities without an emergency medical service create one bubbled to the surface. The team plans to send fully assembled bicycles with emergency medical kits, and training materials.

At BIF #9, the team will present its ambitions to hundreds of the world's most innovative entrepreneurs, quite likely resulting in the inter-generational mentoring that is at the heart of Choose2Matter.

This school year, we plan to present 8-10 Choose2Matter LIVE events, starting with an event for 8th graders at Bettendorf Middle School in Bettendorf, IA next week. This is an innovative school with passionate leaders who are committed to ensuring their students learn the skills and habitudes necessary to succeed in the 21st century. Many of these students helped us manage the Quest2Matter last spring, and we can't wait to work with them in person.

We are seeking more schools whose leaders are eager to give their students the opportunity to learn how to change the world. We also are seeking sponsors who want to promote entrepreneurial innovation in schools and become associated with a movement that students evangelize. One result of these live events will be a full curriculum, including a video documentary, that thousands of schools around the world will be able to use to implement their own Choose2Matter LIVE event.

The Choose2Matter movement, though in its early days, has already built an impressive track record of fostering innovation and entrepreneurialism in schools. We thank you for all the support and enthusiasm we have received thus far from readers of this column, and we look forward to reporting even greater successes this year.