Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 05/20/2010

Saul Garlick, Class of 2007

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Founder and Executive Director, ThinkImpact (www.thinkimpact.org)

In 2001 I was a junior in High School with a desire to make some impact in the world. Aimless in terms of how I could do that, I undertook to establish a club with some friends called Student Movement for Real Change. I had no idea that this small club would one day become ThinkImpact, an international non-profit organization that would be at the bleeding edge of development and social entrepreneurship – promoting social innovation in some of the poorest communities in the world.

Today, ThinkImpact connects college students and young adults with rural communities in Africa where they catalyze social enterprise by leveraging local resources and capacity. We call this People Powered Global Development, and it is resonating among this generation of leaders. In 2010 we have received 170 applications for only 23 spots in our program to work in Kenya and South Africa. We were featured at the Clinton Global Initiative University and have been leading workshops at the Global Engagement Summit, Social Enterprise Alliance World Forum, Opportunity Collaboration and numerous other gatherings of social entrepreneurs.

My work with ThinkImpact has proven to be an example of what can happen when one young leader opens their mind to new ways to approach old problems. Since 2007, when I attended the Academy of Achievement and had just graduated from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies as a Truman Scholar, I have led over 100 people to Africa and with communities we have completed 50 development projects ranging from schools, sports fields, community centers, scholarships, microfinance projects, latrines and the creation of social businesses. I continue this work, often in partnership with individuals that I met at the Academy of Achievement;  an experience that continues to inspire me to this day. Watch a brief video about our program here.

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