Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Inspiring Youth to Inspire Seattle

August 13, 2014

My name is Paloma, and I want to inspire youth to change the world.

Before I signed up for the summer 2013 youth programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center, I was passionate about making a difference in my own community. I volunteered at many local nonprofit organizations; registering young adults to vote through the Washington Bus and tutoring students through the Atlantic Street Center. Yet, I had never been given the chance to formulate my own plan to tackle a social justice issue.

I received my first opportunity to craft my own project through the Teens Take Action workshop at the Visitor Center last summer. During the workshop we met with key leaders from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other local nonprofits who were interested in connecting with high school students. I met with leaders from Free the Children, for example. They work on issues that I am very interested in --promoting education to all youth, preventing child trafficking, and ending forced labor.  I hope this event will enable Seattle youth to realize their true potential as leaders within their respective communities.Paloma Pineda

I was able to work alongside other teens in the workshop who were equally passionate about driving change in our own community and around the world. One of my fondest memories of the workshop was on the first day.  We were given a blank sheet of paper, and told to write down issues that we cared about. I was astonished to find that many of the other students were passionate about solving the same issues I was interested in, such as human trafficking and education.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a driver of social change around the world. Its youth programs at the Visitor Center have taught me that young people can become the next generation of social innovators.

Last summer’s workshop challenged me to see what it takes to venture into the nonprofit world as a young leader. I learned valuable skills such as communicating effectively with others within a group, and cultivating a drive to persevere through challenges that are presented to me. I have also been able to apply these skills to my own life through projects that inspire more young people to take action.

This summer I interned at the Young Nonprofit Leaders Organization.  I have also worked with several other Seattle teens to spearhead the first ever Seattle Youth Empowerment Day. I hope this event will enable Seattle youth to realize their true potential as leaders within their respective communities.

Seattle Youth Empowerment Day is August 16, 2014, only a few days away.  It will bring together local nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and social innovators in the fields of human trafficking, homelessness, health, and social entrepreneurship. For a single day, these community leaders will come together to inspire youth to act on critical global issues.

Along the way, as an organizer for Seattle Youth Empowerment Day, I have had the chance to work with other local youth. Will you help us achieve our mission of “inspiring youth to inspire Seattle” by spreading the word? This has been an incredible event to plan, and I hope all youth who attend will be able to leave as motivated as I was when I left my first youth workshops at the Visitor Center.

Interested in attending Seattle Youth Empowerment Day?

Check out the links below to learn more about the event and how to register:

Seattle Youth Empowerment Day – Get Tickets

Seattle Youth Empowerment Day – Facebook

 
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