Beeta Ansari

Beeta is Ashoka U’s Exchange Director, the world’s largest global convening for social entrepreneurship education.

Changemaker of the Week: Yanniz Valadez

Yanniz Valadaz, a student at the Universidad de Monterrey, describes her work inspiring the next generation of leaders to create change in their universities.

Yanniz is being featured as part of Ashoka U’s series, “Changemaker of the Week” which highlights extraordinary student changemakers in college and graduate programs around the world. Check the Ashoka U Blog each week for a story of a new Changemaker of the Week!

1) What is your project or organization?
My organization, IDASE “I Design as a Social Entrepreneur” has a mission to strengthen the sense of leadership amongst young people in high school through design and creativity. Our objective is to motivate youth to make physical changes to their school. We run a program based on formative education through experiential learning, where basic design workshops are taught to youth so that they can develop leadership skills, the desire to dream,create, and transform and finally, empower other youth. Also, as professionals we design leather wallets to support sustainable development.

2) How did you get involved with this project / organization (or how did you decide to found it)?
This project was created with the idea of bringing together two passions in my life- service and design. I realized that sharing my idea meant finding people with the same interests and passions. I recognized that by following my passion and finding others who shared my interests, we could make a change in the community.

During an internship, I was talking to a young girl who asked me, “my school is a dump, why it can’t be like this college? This question came while we were at my university. From that moment, my next job was to study and investigate what was happening to public education in Mexico and how from my personal experiences could help education reform. I realized that I could not do this alone, but needed the help of other like-minded individuals.

3) How has being a college student changed the way you act as a changemaker?
Being a college student has absolutely had an impact on the way I act as a Changemaker. It has helped me visualize my plan for change from another perspective- that of a student. Being a student has helped me realize that my goal is not merely to pursue the life of a professional, but to support other young people to see their dreams come true. The world doesn’t need more successful professionals. The world needs successful professionals to come together, and use their skills and expertise to help those in need.

4) What’s the best part of working on your venture?
The best part is to know that I’m doing what I’m passionate about and making a change in my community. I’ve realized that I don’t need to be the most important designer to be successful, but that to be successful in life is to give part of your time helping others to visualize their future and convince them that it is possible to achieve their goalsl.

5) What’s one piece of advice you’d give to any college student thinking of becoming a changemaker?
I would say that sleeping won’t be a priority! You’ll need to be careful and plan your day to have time for everything that you need to do. It is possible to have a balanced day taking care of your eating, sleeping, resting, spare time, study and of course, your desire to change the world. You’ll need to learn to say yes or no when it’s necessary.

6) How has your school or school’s social entrepreneurship initiative helped you progress as a student social innovator and in this venture?
In the process of creating my initiative, I have found great mentors at school who have taught me, followed my progress and constantly help me to visualize and take action on my plan. I’ve learned that you need to take initiative and look for people who will help turn your dream into a reality. My mentors have believed in my plans and guide me constantly, and without their help, this project wouldn’t be where it is today.

More information about Yanniz will be featured on social media this week, so make sure to like Ashoka U on Twitter and Facebook! Check out Ashoka U’s blog each week to see new stories of phenomenal student changemakers making a difference in the world.