Founding Director of Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.), Josh Arnold, was among 20 outstanding young social entrepreneurs selected as 2009 YouthActionNet® Fellows. Launched in 2001 by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Nokia, YouthActionNet® seeks to develop a new generation of socially conscious global citizens who create positive change in their communities, their countries, and the world.
“Each of the 2009 YouthActionNet® Fellows are passionate, committed young leaders who chose not to look the other way when they saw a problem, but to take a stand,” said IYF President and CEO William S. Reese. “Through their efforts, companies in Colombia are learning how to operate sustainably, low-income farmers in Zimbabwe are able to send their children to school, and youth in violence-prone neighborhoods in the U.S. are learning to be peace-builders.”
“This is a tremendously humbling, and empowering, honor,” says Arnold reflecting on his acceptance into the YouthActionNet Global Fellowship class of 2009. “The opportunity to meet and share experiences with such a diverse and inspiring group of peer entrepreneurs from countries like Brazil, India, Nigeria, Mexico, Colombia, Pakistan, Uganda, and more, is a privilege that only now turned from dream to reality.”
Founded in 2006, G.A.L.A. has become a widely trusted resource for green-living advice and services in NH’s Lakes Region and the greater Carroll County. Some of G.A.L.A.’s accomplishments include reducing the eco-footprint of more than 75 community members by providing and installing clotheslines (a.k.a. “solar clothes-dryers”), compost bins, and rainwater catchment barrels; harvesting and delivering over 1,200 pounds of fresh produce to the Wolfeboro’s All Saint’s Life Ministries food pantry; organizing more than 25 homesteading workshops to support self-sufficient and locally attuned living; and completing 7 study circles that allow participants to explore social and environmental issues in an supportive learning atmosphere.
According to Arnold, this is just the beginning. G.A.L.A.’s next move is to revitalize the Ossipee Mt. Grange Hall located just over the Wolfeboro-line on Pork Hill Rd. in Water Village, Ossipee, NH. The organization’s goals for the Grange Hall Revitalization Project include opening a local-foods and New England cottage industry co-op, a community center for arts, education, and advocacy, and a green-job incubator that offers affordable office space for young entrepreneurs working to design triple-bottom line business plans. When sharing G.A.L.A.’s plans for the Grange Hall, Arnold is especially excited about the project’s potential to bridge early 20th century frugal living skills and values with today’s emerging green and eco-living trends. “We can learn a lot from the past, while still keeping an optimistic and innovative eye on the future,” says Arnold about the nature of the Grange Hall project.
The 2009 Global YouthActionNet® Fellows will travel to Washington, D.C., USA in November to participate in a weeklong leadership retreat, to be recognized for their efforts at the Annual YouthActionNet® Global Awards Ceremony, and network with leading international organizations.
Since the Global Fellowship program was launched in January 2002, 160 young social entrepreneurs have been selected, with applications received from nearly 4,500 young people in over 60 countries. Fellows are chosen annually following a peer review process in which previous Fellows select the next round of winners.
The International Youth Foundation (IYF) invests in the extraordinary potential of young people. Founded in 1990, IYF builds and maintains a worldwide community of businesses, governments, and civil-society organizations committed to empowering youth to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens. IYF programs are catalysts of change that help young people obtain a quality education, gain employability skills, make healthy choices, and improve their communities. To learn more, visit: www.iyfnet.org.