Can you tell us briefly about Young Change Maker?
YCM is a non-profit project that focuses on career orientation and skill development for young people, particularly high school students aged 15 to 18. It was first launched more than a year ago by a group of VinUniversity and Cornell students. The original team made it to the top 6 Southeast Asia of the WorldClass Education Challenge organized by Deloitte and World Economic Forum for their idea. I joined the team in the later phase to help implement their plan.
YCM’s main product is a one-stop-shop website that provides 4 main services: industry knowledge, skills, mentoring and project hub. Additionally, we are currently touring high schools in Northern and Southern Vietnam to deliver in-person career orientation workshops to students.
Why do you want to take part in this project? (Is there any personal story/ special reason?)
I found myself resonating with the struggle in self-orientation, similar to many students in Vietnam.
I am also fully aware of the resource constraints that Vietnamese students suffer with. Hence, when given the chance to join the team, I wanted to join hands and amplify the social value of this project, by co-designing career orientation tools that high school students can benefit from.
How did the members come together as a team?
I was not the one responsible for connecting the current members. However, I would say we all have many things in common. Many of us have backgrounds working for NPOs and social projects. Team members' past experiences were also related to youth development and youth empowerment, from education and psychology to skills training. I think this might be the reason why we all want to nurture and help younger students. That vision brought us together.
How did it feel working with each other?
So far, the team’s dynamics are quite good. Everyone has a critical thinking mindset, which makes our discussions truly fruitful. Even though each of the members has their assigned title and specific scope of work, we all share some common expertise and experiences that allow us to elaborate and help one another.
Were there any memorable moments?
I would pick the BusEZ Program as the team’s most memorable experience. In the Program, we made a tour around high schools in Vietnam, where the YCM team delivered career orientation workshops and mentorship to high school students. So far, we have been to 2 schools and we will continue the journey in June.
Meeting students in person gives us a lot of motivation to continue pursuing our ideas. Through real stories from beneficiaries of the project, we were able to learn more about their struggles and problems. Many of the students approached us after class to seek advice. We have exchanged contact and maintained the relationship until now.
What was the biggest lesson?
Be practical. Those ideas on paper are probably not the final one. As we implement, we change and adapt a lot. Always think about the necessity, and prioritize what’s most beneficial.
What is your team’s next step?
We will continue developing the 4 free, online products, which are currently introduced on YCM’s website. We will expand the mentor network so that a larger number of high school students can benefit from the project. Additionally, the project also has to figure out a plan to sustain itself, given that it is a non-profit project.
Thank you Nhat Minh so much for this great sharing! Wish you and Young Change Maker have more successful projects in the future!
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