Rotary Peace Forum: Ashoka Youth Adventure

About Us


Youth Venture shares Ashoka vision of an Everyone A Changemaker™ world. A world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem and drive change.


Youth Venture’s mission is to build a movement of young people being powerful now, changemakers now, by:

  • Investing in young people to have the transformative experience of launching and leading their own lasting Ventures;
  • Creating a critical mass of young people who collectively redefine the youth years as a time of positive contribution;
  • Spreading our message that investing in young people to become changemakers is the key factor for success in every part of society; and
  • Connecting our Venturers to a global network of changemakers.

What We Believe

  • The clearest path to becoming a changemaker is to take initiative while you’re young demonstrating to yourself and your community the capacity of youth to make a positive contribution.
  • Everyone can be a changemaker regardless of race, color, national origin, age, disability, gender and sexual orientation, religion, or political beliefs.
  • Individuals who are and perceive themselves to be changemakers are more likely to be successful in life.  They are more likely to be better educated, to be economically independent, to have a fulfilling career, and to be  positive contributors to society.
  • Communities – e.g. schools, institutions, cities and even businesses – that have a higher percentage of  changemakers are likely to be more successful in a more complex world.

Dream it. Do it. Challenge

The Dream It Do It Challenge (DDC) is a series of facilitated engagements that guide a cohort of young people (ideally ages 12-17) towards launching their own social ventures. Each of the four, six-hour sessions (which can be further broken up) is anchored by a set of core activities that support participants in each distinct phase of venture implementation, from the genesis of the original idea, to execution, initial financing, and implementation.

Throughout, participants examine local, societal and global issues; share ideas and personal experiences; and refine plans and engage in teamwork, public speaking, and peer support. With each workshop, participants move towards a greater level of innovative and creative thinking; goal orientation; and refined problem-solving skills. Each team selects an Adult Ally, who provides mentoring and support to the team as needed.

Within all of the tools and activities that we use in the DDC lies an essential clarity of purpose – to support and guide young people as they prepare and then launch a Venture. With this intentionality, activities are sequenced to complement and build on each other, eliciting increasingly complex and nuanced modes of thinking and analysis. As participants engage in this process they will be encouraged to think about and reflect on who they are, and on their relationships with others; to “listen” to the perspectives of their peers, and to understand the value of engaging with individuals who may hold different or competing opinions; to think creatively; to problem-solve; and to work together to construct and then answer their own questions.

Dream It Do It Impact

  • Bolster existing community partnerships and affiliations as well as community image by bringing an innovative engagement offering to youth
  • Gain access to talent, attracting more problem-solving, entrepreneurial students to Louisville as their potential college of choice
  • Build a reputation as an institution to which changemaker high schoolers and those seeking a changemaking experience will want to apply
  • Engage different schools and disciplines through research, implementation, and student engagement.


Read more Blog Posts »

Submitted on Tue, December 18, 2012
Submitted by: John Converse Townsend on 12/18/12 Editor’s note: This post was written by Aphrodite Bouikidis and Olivia Richman, an Ashoka associate. Today is International Migrants Day, a day proclaimed by the United Nations in 2000 as a day to share information…
Submitted by: John Converse Townsend on 12/14/12 Editor’s note: This post was written by Will Sloan, a writer for, and has been republished here with permission.Just when I felt I was beginning to understand the confines within which the term …
Submitted by: John Converse Townsend on 12/10/12 The world has changed since the ’80s, when Bill Drayton, Ashoka’s founder and CEO, first used the term “social entrepreneur” to describe someone who uses business principles to tackle social problems. The phrase, while…

Read Ashoka’s International Blogs Posts »