Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Positive change in the world"

Students helping in Rwanda

Yale University student Emily Morell, crouching at left, and Emma Clippinger, a student at Brown University, co-founders of Gardens for Health International, were on Thursday named the global winners of the Staples "Youth Social Entrepreneur" Competition.

Gardens for Health International provides nutritional support and economic empowerment to HIV-positive people throughout Rwanda. The organization simultaneously targets malnutrition, HIV/AIDS and poverty. Morell and Emma Clippinger were chosen from five finalists selected from more than 100 entries received from the U.S. and France for their outstanding impact, innovation and commitment to serving their community, according to a prepared statement. They will receive $5,000 in Staples products to help run their organization.
The panel of judges included Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Hannah Teter, U.S. Olympic gold-medal winning snowboarder; Gilles Daniel, vice president of MTV France; Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive officer of Groupe Danone; and Kyle Freas, grand prize winner of the 2007 "Youth Social Entrepreneur" Competition.
The award was created by Staples Foundation for Learning, a private foundation created by Staples, Inc., and Ashoka, the world’s community of leading social entrepreneurs.
"We received hundreds of entries for this year’s Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition from young entrepreneurs from all over the world who are making positive change in the world," said Bill Drayton, CEO and chairman of Ashoka. "We hope their stories and Ventures will inspire youth everywhere to take part in the global movement of young changemakers who are taking initiative and creating Ventures that contribute to social change."
Youth Venture is an Ashoka initiative that is "catalyzing and investing in a movement of young changemakers all over the world who are taking action by identifying problems and creating Ventures to create positive change in their communities," the statement said. Staples began its support of Youth Venture in 2006 through Staples Foundation for Learning, a private charitable foundation created by Staples, Inc. Support from Staples Foundation for Learning has helped Ashoka launch the Youth Venture program in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Canada, Argentina and Brazil. To date, Staples has contributed $1.5 million to build the capacity, visibility and reach of the Youth Venture program throughout the world, the statement said.

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