Paul Ryan once said that “Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.” I believe there is a lot of truth in this statement, because I have witnessed firsthand the power of communities to shape an individual – the way they think, how they act, and the person they’ll become tomorrow.
I am Michael, the co-founder of Project Unwritten. Along with four other high school students, we recognised that many of our peers adopted a narrow mindset, thinking that the ATAR defines the entirety of the life they will live. This mentality that ‘studying’ is the pinnacle of their teenage years has distorted the idea of success, and has ultimately catalysed a disengagement with what we are truly passionate for. Blind-folded by the expectations of contemporary high schools, millennials have become less and less inclined to dream big and pursue anything beyond the status quo of the set few ‘respectable careers’. New paths, such as starting a social enterprise, are often unheard of.
How Project Unwritten is Empowering Millennials
At Project Unwritten, one of the objectives we tirelessly work towards is to build a community of youth who are able to display the audacity to strive for what they are passionate about. We encourage young people to dream big and make actionable plans to execute the future they envision. We see that millennials have powerful opinions and insights into the world we live in today, and have huge potential to make a positive difference. As a team, we want to spark conversations surrounding this, so our eyes immediately turned to Facebook, the ultimate social media platform of the 21st century.
While we were thinking along those lines, coincidentally enough, the social enterprise Moeloco delivered a very similar mission: to encourage people to DREAM CRAZY. For every one pair of Moeloco flipflops, one pair of sneakers is donated to a child so they can attend school. The concept is BUY ONE, GIVE ONE, CHANGE A LIFE. After a few chats with Kathy (CEO of Moeloco) and Sian (ambassador of Moeloco) we discovered the many synergies between us … and you know what that means: it’s a call for a collaboration!
We concurrently agreed that a Facebook competition would be the perfect starter to achieve two things: 1. Spread the word that it is OK to dream big and crazy, as long as it is backed up with an attack plan and motivated by a sense of purpose; and 2. Provide a platform for millennials to share their visions for the future. The outcome was a Facebook competition which we ran for two successive weeks, with value-adding prizes such as the e-book reader, and a four-week internship with Moeloco.
The Making a Difference Competition – Stimulating Social Enterprise
In this competition, we asked the youth in our communities to submit an entry which would answer the following:
- What difference do you want to make in your world, within your lifetime?
- How do you plan on taking proactive steps to materialise this dream?
- Why do you want to make this difference?
Inspired by Simon Sinek’s TED talk, “Start with why” we wanted to make sure that the 3 focus areas of “Why”, “How” and “What” were answered so that we could have a holistic understanding of the impact that millennials wish to make in society.
It’s almost scary to realise that the youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Very soon, it will be our responsibility as millennials to take charge and propel society forward in all its facets. It is now a necessity that we provoke thought in this area, and build a community of like-minded individuals who have the heart to improve the world we live in. Even if you don’t start your own social enterprise, all it takes may be a single word of encouragement, or a single inspiring piece written by someone who is not much different to us.
This collaborative effort between Project Unwritten and Moeloco is the very start of a movement which we hope to propagate throughout the world. Personally, I am super excited for what is to come, and cannot wait to put in countless hours for something which, for me, is filled with purpose and meaning.
Finally, a massive thanks to Jovi Leung (from Project Unwritten) and Sian Hamilton (from Moeloco), for their efforts in making this Facebook competition run smoothly!
Competition Winner: Rishabh Jain
A special shoutout goes to the winning entry that we received for this competition.
Rishabh Jain, a 16 year old currently studying in Baulkham Hills High School, blew the judges away through his powerful insights on climate change. Truly embracing the ethos of “Making a Difference”, he shed light on the problems surrounding society’s approach to this pressing issue:
“Scientists and environmental activists all around the world have been presenting climate change as a phase of “looming destruction” which may be humanity’s last … What if instead, we shifted our focus from forcing people to act by scaring them, to instead showing them the invaluable benefits?”
Not only was Rishabh able to identify “what” the problem was, he was able to explain “how” the problem should be solved. He wants to change the perspective of people on a global scale so that the accumulated efforts of millions of people can form an effective attack against climate change – the dreams of any youth environmental activist!
By recommending products such as “Bee Green Wraps” which are locally made and provide a plastic-free, germ-resistant and virtually harmless method to store and transport food, Rishabh’s article resonates with one message. This is that every individual has the responsibility to make a change from within for the greater good of our global community. All it takes is one decision.
On behalf of Moeloco and Project Unwritten, thank you Rishabh for sharing your thoughts and action plans against climate change. Continue to inspire and encourage others around you; we have no doubt in what you can achieve!
Thank you for reading my first blog for Moeloco,
About the author
Michael is a year 12 student currently in his final year at Baulkham Hills High School. He is passionate about empowering the youth of his generation to pursue their life goals, and has thus cofounded Project Unwritten, an educational non-profit. Entrepreneurship, strategic business consultancy, and marketing are some of the interests which he aims to further explore during university. In his personal time, Michael loves to binge watch TED talks, read non-fiction books and play ultimate frisbee. Despite his age, he is always looking to push the boundaries of his comfort zone, and take on new challenges and opportunities which can help him grow on both a personal and professional level.