"Everyone always says BE the change you want to see
in the world, and I say I AM a BoldLeader!
soon enough you will see me change the world!"
— Dinorah Avendano, Participant
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They are bold.

We’d like to introduce you to our organization by profiling a few individual BoldLeaders as well as several group projects we have undertaken. The six young people profiled below have participated in at least one of our programs and have gone on to develop outstanding projects in their own communities with impressive results. We encourage you to read their stories and learn more about their current activities.

Abdirahman Rashid Fara

BoldLeader, 2009: Sub-Saharan Africa Youth Leadership Program

"My life before BoldLeaders was like a dark life in such a way that I used to believe in Tribalism. I used to participate in tribal issues which had no meaning to my personal life.

Since the BoldLeaders program I changed that and I advocate for peace among the communities. I reached my mission to do that by using BoldLeaders skills. My life now is so good but before it was terrible. Now I have the heart to unite my people no matter their religion, color, sex, young and old, rich and poor.

Currently I have two projects that I am working with: 1). Empowering women’s voices; 2). Educating orphans. I am now planning to start the third one on a peace program, where I will use my voice and job at the Wajir Community Radio station to help unite people.

I now study at St. Paul University. I am earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. The BoldLeaders program has really changed my life in terms of education."

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Sabeehah Mohamed

BoldLeader, 2010: Sub-Saharan Africa Youth Leadership Program

"If you could describe in one word what you stand for in life, what would it be? That was the question I kept asking myself for 7 years. From a very young age I was involved in over 20 community projects and organizations. In my final year of school I participated in the BoldLeaders’ program. This is NOT
your usual youth empowerment program. It’s different—and it’s in this difference that makes it powerful.

The BoldLeaders’ principles become a part of my identity and helped me realize who I was. The team believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. The practical tools I learned with them bettered my thinking, actions, interactions and advice to everyone I meet, including in running my Mathematics Tuition business with over 70 students.

I don’t know who is reading this, but what I do know is we are both human beings, with emotions, love and life stories. What do I stand for? Boldness!"

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Amahle Jongile

BoldLeader, 2010: Sub-Saharan Youth Africa Leadership Program

"It was great that I became a BoldLeader at the time when I was trying to identity myself because now I have a solid Identity. While in BoldLeaders I noticed that I was just a leader by name (a leader of appearance) and through the training I became an active participant (a leader of substance). I am a
transformer of my own life and that of others.

I was introduced to the concept of social entrepreneurship at BoldLeaders and that helped create an interest in community development. I am in my second year of medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and I’m also an active participant in a project that aims to improve the education and employment status in my community.

My project, which I founded early this year, is called Supportive Tertiary Education Preparation Society
(STEPS). I’m in the process of registering it as a legal NGO/NPO.

Visit our website for more information.

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Jack Bredar

BoldLeader, 2011: Colorado to Kenya BoldLeaders Project

Before I became a participant of the BoldLeaders Program, I often found myself in search of reasons, or explanations as to why I was given such a fortunate life. I couldn’t understand why I had been given so many opportunities. BoldLeaders taught me to push past my questions, and start to empower people who are less fortunate than me.

But in order to lead others, BoldLeaders taught me to value myself and my potential. Through a deep connection to yourself, you can begin to be an effective leader. Today, I still think about the principles I learned during the program.

Right now, I am especially focused on the notion of going one step beyond, and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. By repeatedly pushing your limits, and confronting the situations that make you uncomfortable, you will discover opportunities that you never thought existed.

Currently, I am a freshman at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

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Alex Wood

BoldLeader, 2009: Emerging Youth Leaders Program

"BoldLeaders changed me in more ways than I can count, and in ways that I continue to discover. When I walked into the program, I was shy and unsure of myself. I was an intense perfectionist, and was incapable of advocating what I needed from other people. Three lessons impacted me the most: "perfectly imperfect,” “limiting beliefs,” and the “filled cup” model.

The first forced me to recognize and accept my own imperfections; the second pushed me to realize that these imperfections would not hold me back from success; and the third taught me to fill myself with energy from things I love in order to be able to give love and energy back to the world. I am now able to be an activist for and a loving person toward my community while maintaining my own stability and health.

I will always remember BoldLeaders as the source of this personal evolution, and I will be forever grateful. I am currently a Junior at Reed College. The photo shows me with four of the great women I participated with in the program."

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Dana Mulligan

BoldLeader 2013: American Youth Leadership Program with Uganda

"I’ve always been doubtful of myself. However, BoldLeaders completely changed that. Going to Uganda was the craziest thing I had ever done, and all my friends made sure to tell me that. But it showed me what I was capable of, and broke down so many barriers in my life.

I’m not afraid to express my views anymore or to ask for help, and I have faith in who I am and what I stand for. I have decided to continue to play at 100%, listen like my life depends on it, mind the gap, and live by all the BoldLeaders principles.

It’s harder to do here than it was in Uganda, but I’m going to maintain the Dana that emerged over the past month and let her continue to grow. I’m currently working on starting a BoldLeaders club at my school and initiating a sustainable agriculture project in my community."

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More BoldLeaders.

The seven group projects posted below are representative examples of just a few of the many programs we’ve held over the years.

During the spring of 2009, eighteen US teens and three educators traveled to Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), as part of a U.S. State Department program. During their month long work and immersion into the Roma issue, they visited a Roma housing project, observing what was missing, and then took an empty lot near a housing project in Bratislava, Slovakia, (the housing project was located up against the old wall separating the “West” from the then Communist East.), and transformed it into a play area for the children who lived in the projects. Above are several photos of the day. Upon their return to the U.S. the teens created a project to create a documentary of the their experience, and are currently working with Open Media Foundation to complete the project. Click to learn more »

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This project was a dynamic week long affair with hundreds of past program participants from bi-communal BoldLeader projects stretching as far back as 2003 and supported by The U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, the ECA Division of the U.S. State Department, AMIDEAST and the Cyprus Fulbright Commission. The on island project that took place in February of 2009, was underwritten by a grant from the Small Grants program of the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia as part of their on-going support of bi-communal projects on the island.

During the summer of 2007 and 2008 U.S. Embassy/AMIDEAST BSP project and the summer of 2007 and 2008 Cyprus Fulbright Commission projects, 140 total participants created individual ceramic tiles that they then carried back to their island. In February, a group of 25 teens from the 07/08 projects gathered the individual tiles from their peers and developed a program plan that included bi-communal conflict resolution and art workshops during the first weekend and service learning/community service projects for the second weekend, ending in a celebration and unveiling of the mural that was attended by 150 past Cyprus BoldLeaders and many of their friends—one of the largest bi-communal gatherings on the island! Staged at the Fulbright Center located in the U.N. mandated buffer zone, the Mural now proudly hangs in the center representing the work of Cyprus BoldLeaders from 2003 and 2009.

Five facilitators and artists from the U.S. BoldLeader team traveled to Cyprus to deliver several workshops as well as connect the pieces and mount the artwork. During the first weekend, 60+ BoldLeaders brought friends to a bi-communal gathering at the Highbrow School in the south of Nicosia and another 45 would gather the following day at a university in the north of Nicosia. During the week BoldLeader facilitators would deliver programming to 250 form 3 students at the English school and do an after-school workshop with 30 + of the schools leadership. A group of students from the Falcon School would work on their perspectives for the future and another group of 40 plus students from the American Academy in Larnaca would be introduced to some of the practices of the Bold Leaders project led by eight bold Leaders attending the school.

During the second weekend, and prior to the mural unveiling and celebration, forty teens and former escorts, in a show of bi-communal unity, cleaned the roadside of trash and planted several dozen trees. This project was featured on television in North Cyprus and included English, Greek and Turkish. The team would then travel to the SOS Village, a home for orphans, where they would play games they learned in the USA and spent time sharing with the orphan children.

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In the summer of 2008, in a bi-communal effort, and with support from the Small Grants Funds of the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, the 2006, 2007 and 2008 BoldLeaders formed a committee of over 30 dedicated Cyprus Bold Leaders from both teen bi-communal programs (U.S. Embassy, AMIDEAST, Cyprus Fulbright Commission). Together they designed, managed, created, and delivered a free rock concert in Eleftheria Square for hundreds of young people from the last divided capital city in the world. Six local Cypriot rock bands volunteered to perform and three of the bands contained members who had completed the BoldLeaders program in the U.S. A joint statement of solidarity and a desire for continued dialogue between the two communities was publicly read prior to the event and acknowledged the support of the sponsoring organizations.

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In February of 2009 German artist Rose Marie Gnausch met with some of the Cyprus BoldLeaders from past U.S. Embassy AMIDEAST Bi-communal Support Projecs and Cyprus Fulbright Commission, Cyprus American Support Projects, promoting her Elephants for Peace (Go Ganesha Go) Street Art project that was to take place on May 9 and 10 of May 2009 along the famous Ledra Street.

Of all the art submitted, only one was an actual bi-communal cooperative project. Pictured above, posing with their painting is Sveta, (Greek Speaking Cypriot) and Sila, (Turkish Speaking Cypriot) who were participants in 2007 and program Peer Leaders in 2008. Posing with them are 2008 BoldLeaders, (CASP program), Andreas and Costas who supported the event. Click to learn more »

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Five young women from Moyale, Kenya—BoldLeaders all—and their best BoldLeader Principal, Ms. Marta Guyo, created three projects to impact their school and community that sits astride the Ethiopian and Kenyan boarder in the far north of Kenya. All three of the projects enlisted the school’s entire population.

Project number one required Joyce, Fozia, Shinde, Fatuma and Amina to request support from the local government to plant 150 small trees with the intention to provide shade for the community in the future. This project had a strong learning component to it, and not until the follow up workshops in Nairobi was the team introduced to methods, using resources at hand they had not considered, that allowed them the confidence to complete this project.

Project number two required the girls to present an idea to the school population regarding the value for them to keep the school clean. Up to that point, most trash was discarded by simply dropping it on the ground. The team took old “jerry cans” with holes in them, (large buckets to carry water in the desert climate), and the team cut them to create “dust bins” (trash receptacles), for each classroom to use to keep the school grounds clean. After the conference in Nairobi, the girls also became aware of what they could compost to support the growth of their trees.

Project number three (pictured above), had the girls from the school cleaning and beautifying the central market street of Moyale. Once again, after the Nairobi conference, the young women became aware of potential assets that could help with the clean up including water bottles to help establish a slow water system for the trees and plastic to capture moisture. This project also inspired the municipality government to agree to spend more effort on keeping the market clean.

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Four young ladies, Lynn Kemunto, Christine Odegi, Hafsa Mahboub, and Sharon Cherop, and the principal of Precious Blood Secondary Girls School in Nairobi, Ms. Jacinta Akatsa, joined the BoldLeader team as part of a U.S. State Department funded project during the winter of 2007.

Upon their return to Nairobi, the team set out to transform the culture of the school by impacting the Prefects, the group of students that maintain order at their boarding school of over 600 female students. Odegi and Lynn, both Prefects at the time, were the immediate conduit to the Prefect team of 40 girls. They started by introducing the practices and concepts of the BoldLeaders program, along with creating workshops to be delivered to all in-coming students. Hafsa, as a 3rd Form student and Sharon, as a 1st Form, participated in the design and delivery of the workshops. The girls, along with a teacher at the school, created a book of their experiences and lessons learned while in Denver. The book is now used as a resource for incoming students. The practice of doing workshops for incoming students has been passed down to this day. For the first time in 2011, the workshops will be led by students that have not done the BoldLeaders program, but have been trained by others: a legacy passed on.

Sharon, who would become the 2009-10 Head Girl of the school, has now just graduated as one of the top students. Ms. Odegi is a student at the United World College In Singapore. Lynn is a university student in Kenya and does radio broadcasts, and Hafsa is a first year university student in England. This is a great example of the multiplier effect of the BoldLeaders program. Since 2007, Precious Blood Girls School has become one of the top schools in Kenya.

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In December of 2010, five teens from the Pastoralist Samburu tribe of North Central Kenya arrived in Denver as part of the BoldLeader project. Coming from an area of the world with no electricity, a culture that moves constantly, and where women are rarely formally educated, the program has had a profound effect on them. By the end of three weeks, the teens, along with their girl's school principal, had designed a project to use, test, and measure success around a sustainable funding program for school fees, supplies and increased study time.

Mr. Stephen Katsaros, inventor of the Nokero solar light bulb (, presented the team with 48 Nokero N100 solar lights. The teens used the lights to expand the production time of the community's jewelry and clothing businesses, as well as extend study time for the boys and girls schools. Proceeds from the business will be used to pay school fees for both schools.

Above, the team presents their plan to the Youth Ventures Program (, Young Global Change Makers of the Ashoka Foundation ( The Samburu team would be selected by the committee and recommended for funding after implementing several of their recommendations.

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