During July and August 2022, the Youth Giving Summit (YGS) hosted its first-ever Transformation Talks Series, featuring six remarkable Youth Giving Ambassadors. These ambassadors are a dedicated group of young social-impact leaders who generously contribute their time, resources, and skills to create a more equitable world.
The Youth Giving Ambassadors inspire, connect, and mobilize their peers worldwide, amplifying the voices of fellow change-makers who share their vision for positive change. Through the Transformation Talks Series, each speaker shared their inspirational journey and practical advice for making a difference. The talks highlighted the importance of creating and leveraging an ecosystem, finding purpose, letting go of fear, and taking action.
As a community, this Youth Giving ecosystem can galvanize the impact of young people in today’s world. Join us in supporting the mission of Youth Giving and become part of a growing movement of youth-driven social change.
Ambassadors Dillon Carroll and Mark Kreynovich
Ambassadors Dillon Carroll and Mark Kreynovich are the co-founders of #MissionTo. This dynamic duo was inspired to take action by what was happening in Ukraine and driven by a sense of duty. In March 2022, they left their respective homes in New York and flew to Eastern Europe to work overseas helping Ukrainians.
Mark and Dillon have been best friends since they met at Cornell University. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, they felt compelled to help those affected by the catastrophic war. Mark is originally from Kharkiv, Ukraine, and his family and friends still live there. They created a crowdfunding page on Spotfund, which raised $10,000 in the first 24 hours and by the time of the talk in Augugst, had over $260,000.
The duo was inspired by the thousands of people they met who had lost everything and were forced to flee with their remaining belongings in a single backpack. This hardship and the firsthand accounts of those who suffered solidified their purpose and drive. According to Mark, doing nothing would have felt wrong.
Mark and Dillon have the following advice and words of wisdom for those looking to get started:
- Find something you are passionate about and get out there.
- Professional objectives are not mutually exclusive from passionate goals.
- Share what is going on – this is very important.
- Don’t let a linear perspective of how you think things should be, prevent you from doing good.
The duo emphasized the importance of helping people, letting go of fear, and getting comfortable relying on others for help and guidance. They also stressed the power of human connection and the importance of having a reliable ecosystem, noting that it takes a village to make a meaningful impact.
Ambassador Sam Ggomo
Sam Gqomo is an influential leader in the Women’s Empowerment space, serving as the Director of Womandla Global Network, the founder of the Womandla Foundation, and co-founder of Grow My Business Africa. Her current responsibilities include building and maintaining stakeholder relations and implementing brand awareness campaigns. Womandla Global Network, which started as a blog during Sam’s time as a student at Mandela University, has grown into a marketing and communications consultancy for small and medium agencies and businesses, aiming to build sustainable communities for women and girls. The foundation amplifies women’s voices through storytelling.
Sam’s impact has been recognized by several prestigious organizations and publications, including being named a Cape Town Hero by the Cape Town Local Government in 2019 and participating in the first US Embassy Academy of Women Entrepreneurs in South Africa. She was also invited to the United Nations ESCAP and World Youth Forum in Egypt and was listed as one of Glamour South Africa’s top women in 2020.
Sam shared valuable advice for today’s youth, emphasizing the importance of being willing and open to learning new things, nurturing relationships, and recognizing the value of building an ecosystem. According to Sam, nobody can make an impact alone. She also stressed the need for empowering young women in Africa, an issue she is dedicated to through her work with Womandla Global Network and the Womandla Foundation.
Ambassador Wanjiru Ndegwa
Wanjiru Ndegwa is a 16-year-old creative and the Youth Giving Ambassador from Nairobi, Kenya. She is the founder of the Art for Change Initiative, a series of workshops that aim to expose students to photography, painting, and other forms of art. Through her initiative, she has launched creative photography workshops, donated art supplies to schools without an existing art curriculum, and even curated an event sponsored by Canon.
Wanjiru is also a strong advocate for the environment and adds an eco-friendly component to all of her initiatives, such as planting trees or using photography to raise awareness about environmental issues. She believes that creative talents can make a difference in the world and encourages young people to use their creative platforms to inspire change.
When asked about her advice for other youth looking to make a difference, Wanjiru emphasized the importance of connecting with an ecosystem to make larger change, finding a support system of friends and individuals who support the same cause, and ensuring that the venture is something they are passionate about. She believes that starting small and staying consistent over time can ultimately lead to much larger change.
Wanjiru’s Art for Change Initiative is an inspiring example of how young people can use their creativity to make a positive impact in their communities.
Ambassador Abigail Osei
Abigail Osei is a Ghanaian author and global philanthropic leader based in New York City. She is also the Youth Giving Summit Ambassador who shared her inspiring journey in creating the groundbreaking book, “Let’s Learn Twi.”
Abigail’s passion for Twi and Ghanaian culture led her to embark on a mission to bring Twi to children in the African diaspora. With over a decade of experience in private philanthropy and grants management, Abigail is currently the Assistant Vice President of The Starr Foundation and a Partner Consultant to The International Socila Impact Institute®. Even outside her busy day job, she continues to make an impact by supporting families in their journey and helping them embrace their heritage, specifically Ghanaian heritage.
“Let’s Learn Twi” provides an introduction to the Asante Twi alphabet, allowing Ghanaian families in the diaspora to share their culture with their children and respective communities. Abigail also encourages young people to embrace their unique voice and culture, reminding them that nobody should have to give up their culture to survive.
Abigail shared valuable advice for today’s youth, including the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone, being hands-on and tapping into the community. She also emphasized the significance of making a real difference in the world and using our unique voice to create impact beyond money.
Ambassador Dr. Bernard Kivuma
Ambassador Dr. Bernard Kivuma is a medical doctor, researcher, and GivingTuesday Starling Collective 2021 alumnus who focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV/AIDS care, and mental health. He manages several health programs and development projects in Tanzania and has a particular focus on providing services to key and vulnerable populations. Additionally, he works as a program manager for Disability Repro-Light (NGO), which promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights for persons with disabilities.
Dr. Kivuma’s inspiration for his work comes from his family, and he feels a responsibility to help solve disparities in care for those without access to resources and education. Through his work, he has been deeply moved by the stories of the people he has encountered, and he believes that leveraging storytelling as a tool is essential.
Dr. Kivuma advises youth looking to get started to recognize the importance of participating in a community, build and maintain a strong team or group around them, and most importantly, start wherever they are, regardless of circumstances. He believes that one significant step leads to another, and being curious, opening new doors, and trying new things can help individuals grow, develop existing ideas, and invent new things.
The Youth Giving Summit has provided a platform for young change-makers to showcase their impactful work and share their insights. Through their stories and experiences, we have seen the transformative power of youth giving and the importance of building an ecosystem of support.
The Youth Giving Ambassadors have emphasized the need for a strong support system, addressing fear, taking action, and finding one’s passion. By leveraging these themes, they have been able to make a real difference in their communities and beyond.
The importance of connecting with other like-minded individuals has been a key factor in their success. By collaborating and working together, they have been able to amplify their impact and create change on a larger scale.
As we move forward, we must continue to empower young leaders and support their efforts towards creating a better world. The Youth Giving Summit has shown us the immense potential of youth giving and the power of building an ecosystem to drive meaningful change.