We all have dreams, many of which may seem unrealistic. Yes, it requires immense courage and determination to actually pursue certain dreams, but I aim to demonstrate that doing so is entirely possible.
Below, I profiled three Millennials who acted on what they truly wanted to pursue in their careers and are absolutely dominating the nonprofit entrepreneurship space.
For so many of us, freshman year at college is full of dreams, hopes and a world of possibilities. It’s a confusing time of thinking we know what we want, hoping we can achieve what we set out to do and, at times, having absolutely no idea about the years ahead.
The disappointing truth is that, often, we find our hopes and dreams do not translate into reality — or, we don’t think that they can. We’re coerced into mainstream careers and the seduction of money and security that comes from the corporate world, despite the fact that this world is so often a waste of our talents.
If you dream to have a high-flying career at a major consulting firm and you succeed, congratulations and ignore the rest of this post.
However, if you entered college and dreamed to be a writer, artist, photographer or the creator of a nonprofit, yet post graduation, you get sucked into a world in which you don’t belong because you stopped believing your dreams could come true, continue.
So, five years in to your corporate career, maybe you start to realize you’re not happy, can’t find a sense of purpose and think it’s too late to turn back and start over. In the process, the world misses out on a talented individual who could have made an impact on the world in some unique way.
So, when you head back to college this year, be honest with your desires, focus on what you really want in life and pursue your dreams. It’s not the easiest path, but it’s definitely the most worthy of your time.
If you have already taken the corporate road and you’re not where you want to be, know that it’s NEVER too late to start over and go back to focusing on the dream you initially set out to achieve.
I want to show you that it may seem like too big of a challenge — impossible, even —, yet the following 20-somethings prove that it absolutely can be done and that by following your real dream, you can truly “be the change you wish to see.”
So, get inspired, take beautiful photos, open a café, write to your heart's content and contribute to making the world a better place by following the path you most desire. It will be difficult, but it will be worth it.
At just 22 years old, Tara Winkler became Mom to 14 Cambodian orphans. It started when the young Australian traveled through Southeast Asia and ended up volunteering at an orphanage in the town of Battambang.
After a short time there, Tara discovered that the children she had come to know so well were not in a safe environment. The director of the orphanage was corrupt, embezzling donations and, even worse, abusing the children.
Tara took it upon herself to act. She drove fundraising initiatives back home in Australia and developed relationships with local Cambodian authorities, seeking their help and permission to set up her own orphanage in the area and take on full responsibility of the orphans.
This was in 2007. By 2010, Tara had 27 children in her care and, now, seven years later, the orphanage no longer exists because Tara managed to place all children in safe and secure families or with foster parents, who provide home environments like the orphans never knew before.
Her nonprofit, Cambodian Children's Trust (CCT), which previously supported the orphanage, now provides much-needed education and health programs for poor Cambodian families, with more than 100 children from local slums attending CCT’s programs each day.
Tara told mamamia,
Working in the film industry wasn’t quite as glamorous as my 16-year-old self had imagined. The job was actually unbelievably stressful. I’d drive around Sydney sourcing props as if it was a matter of life or death! I started feeling disillusioned with what this career path had to offer and I lapsed into quite a bad depression. Finding a way out of it was really difficult – it seemed like the plan I had for my life would lead to nothing I could value. Then for my nineteenth birthday, my mum and dad gave me a trip to South East Asia! It was an amazing gift and I’ll always be so grateful to them. It’s what ultimately led me to my life in Cambodia.
Tara continues to work firsthand on the CCT and is continually giving hope to and improving the lives of hundreds of Cambodian children.
This young leader in nonprofit entrepreneurship made the decision to defer his admission to top law schools and focus on his true passion, instead: launching a nonprofit for foster children to provide them with every opportunity to beat the odds, build futures and achieve success.
Marquis knew firsthand about the challenges that come with growing up in foster care because he spent much of his childhood in foster homes in Harlem.
After being adopted by a family upstate and finally having the support he needed to succeed, he went on to defy the odds and graduate from college.
And now, at just 25 years old, his nonprofit, Foster Skills, is booming. In just a few years, the Boston-based Millennial has provided social support to hundreds of children in foster care through his organization.
In an interview for his Northeastern University’s website, Marquis said,
When you’re in foster care, it’s really easy to get disconnected — from school, from your peers, from life.
He knew what it meant to be given the right support networks and his personal opportunities and challenges drove him to dedicate his career to making a difference to other children and young people in situations to which he could relate.
With Marquis, it’s clear that the challenge to help others will never be too great.
Follow Marquis on Twitter @MarquisCabrera and for more information on Foster Skills, visit www.fosterskills.org.
While working on one of her final journalism assignments at The College of New Jersey, Tammy Tibbetts inadvertently discovered her true passion: social entrepreneurship.
Tammy felt connected to a foundation that sponsored education in war-torn Liberia, so she decided to travel to the country and volunteer for the organization after graduating.
Before long, Tammy’s professional career in journalism kicked off and she was on a path to rapid success, but her passion shifted her focus elsewhere.
In 2009, at the age of 23, Tammy embarked on a mission to establish a social-media-driven campaign that would inspire Millennial women to fundraise for girls’ scholarships in developing countries.
By 2012, Tammy’s organization, She’s The First, became a thriving nonprofit that harnessed social media and technology to mobilize supporters and drive the mission to fund girls’ education in low-income countries.
Tammy has since been recognized on Forbes’ “30 Under 30: Education” and was last year’s recipient of Diane von Furstenberg’s People’s Voice Award.
Tammy says the message that continues to motivate her is a quote by American cultural anthropologist Margaret Meade:
Never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world. Indeed, they are the only ones who ever have.
For details on how you can take action and make social change right now through national campaigns and grants for projects that make an impact, visit https://www.dosomething.org.
Photo Courtesy: She's The First