This is discussion about The FIRE Within: Student Entrepreneurs Preventing Youth Suicide.
Thank you, Ashoka for making empathy the focal point in this competition. Empathy IS the key motivator that helps sustain the challenging work of social entrepreneurship. By learning about another's strengths and struggles, we usually find we have much more in common than we have difference. Our FIRE Within students usually discover through an in-depth needs and assets exploration that many of their peers suffer in silence from a number of troubles -- depression, bullying, isolation, abuse, and even suicidal thoughts. AND they learn that by pulling together, listening well, and linking friends to quality helping resources, they can save lives. Each year, I love to see "the lights go on" inside these young leaders as they develop passion for this cause and spread their commitment for change like wildfire.
The more I learn about the FIRE Within program, the more amazed I am at this program's ability to inspire change in communities. Youth learn to engage with their peers on an emotional level and to acknowledge the power that emotional wellbeing plays in our everyday lives. For too long, we as a society have valued stoicism and in turn done a disservice to ourselves and to our youth. This program works to reach down into these deeply rooted issues and pull them to light in a way that excites and inspires all who see are involved. I cannot wait to see this program offered in more and more communities, especially rural communities where young people are craving the ability to do something in and for the world today and not in five or ten years.